The Road to Woodstock by Michael Lang

By Michael Lang

The tale of the Woodstock song and artwork reasonable starts off with Michael Lang, a child out of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, who beloved to smoke a joint and hear jazz. He could locate his solution to Florida, open a head store, and bring his first festival—Miami Pop, that includes Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and others—then trip to Woodstock, the place, after assembly Artie Kornfeld, his imaginative and prescient for a pageant the place parents may well come and remain for a number of days amid the agricultural fantastic thing about upstate long island could develop into a fact. With Artie, new companions John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, and his handpicked team, Lang booked expertise, from Janis Joplin and the Who to the just about unknown Santana and Crosby, Stills and Nash; received over brokers, promoters, and townspeople; took on fleets of volunteers; outfitted a competition web site from the floor up; and, after all, created the landmark cultural occasion that outlined a new release.

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John Ek, our head of security, was threatening the Brink’s driver who’d arrived to pick up the gate proceeds. A heavy-handed character, Ek was famous for having invented the Ek Commando Knife, which he would describe at the drop of a hat. It’s a long, thin knife, very narrow at the hilt, so when you stick it into someone, you can break off the blade. Ek figured we were in financial trouble because of the rain and demanded to be paid before any cash left the premises. The Brink’s guard, whose mission was to collect the box office receipts and transport the cash box to the bank, was not about to back down.

They were held by the parties who made them until we could pay for them—which we couldn’t. They gradually disappeared over the years. Part of the Mothers of Invention set turned up on their 1969 album, Uncle Meat. A. session guy, playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and others. The Jimi Hendrix Experience flew to New York, where they recorded the gorgeous “Rainy Day, Dream Away” for Electric Lady-land, released later in the year. As for us, our attorney advised us to declare bankruptcy. We met at Criteria with Mack, Stan, and other creditors and gave them the bad news.

The idea of not having to stay within a form or follow the rules, but to improvise, work from internal inspiration, will serve as my own noninstruction instruction book. Growing up in Bensonhurst in the late forties and fifties, I was surrounded by Jewish and Italian families. My parents, Harry and Sylvia Lang, were of Eastern European descent, and we lived modestly, like other middle-class families in the neighborhood. My father ran his own business, Lang Engineering, installing heating systems, and my mother kept the books.

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