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Michael Lang, Woodstock festival co-creator, dies at 77

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Lang, a co-creator and promoter of the 1969 Woodstock music festival that served as a touchstone for generations of music fans, has died.

Michael Pagnotta, a spokesperson for Lang’s family, said Sunday the 77-year-old had been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and passed away Saturday at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“He was absolutely an historic figure, and also a great guy,” Pagnotta, who said he had known Lang for about 30 years, told The Associated Press. “Both of those thing go hand in hand.”

Along with partners Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, Lang put together the festival billed as “three days of peace and music” in the summer of 1969 as the Vietnam War raged and led increasing numbers of disaffected young Americans to turn away from traditional mores and embraced a lifestyle that celebrated freedom of expression.

Roughly 400,000 people descended on the hamlet of Bethel, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of New York City and endured miles-long traffic jams, torrential rains, food shortages and overwhelmed sanitary facilities. More than 30 acts performed on the concert’s main stage at the base of a hill on land owned by farmer Max Yasgur, and concertgoers were treated to iconic performances from artists including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Who and Jefferson Airplane.

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