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What was Michael Lang’s net worth?

Michael Lang was an American concert promoter, producer and artistic manager who had a net worth of $10 million. Michael Lang was best known for being the co-creator of the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969. Michael and his partners expected 50,000 people may attend Woodstock. They ended up selling 186,000 tickets and ultimately 400,000 people attended. Tickets were sold for $8 per day. Lang also co-produced Woodstock 94 and the ill-fated Woodstock 99.

Early Life

Michael Scott Lang was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 11, 1944. His father installed HVAC systems and his mother was the book keeper. Michael attended New York University and the University of Tampa. In 1966, while still living in Florida, he opened a head shop. Through this shop he became fascinated by the music business.

Miami Pop Festival

In 1968 Michael and some partners produced the successful Miami Pop Festival, which featured Steppenwolf, Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker and Jimi Hendrix among others.

Woodstock

With the success of Miami Pop on his mind and a few dollars in his pocket, Michael moved to Woodstock, New York, which at the time was known for being the part-time residence of Bob Dylan. While living in Woodstock, Michael met record executive Artie Kornfeld. With two other partners, John P. Roberts and Joel Rosenman, they established Woodstock Ventures. John Roberts was the heir to the Polident/Poli-Grip fortune and had recently inherited a large sum of money. Roberts and Rosenman had actually placed an ad in the New York Times in which they described themselves as “young men with unlimited capital” looking for investment ideas. Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld’s reply was one of 5,000 that Rosenman and Roberts received from the ad.

The group’s initial idea was to create a recording studio in Woodstock. According to legend, the goal of the music festival was to create enough profit to pay for the recording studio.

As it turned out, the actual town of Woodstock proved to be not an ideal location for a music festival that could potentially attract tens of thousands of attendees. The partners ultimately chose a farm in nearby Bethel, New York on land owned by a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur.

Woodstock took place between August 15 and August 18, 1969. Dozens of artists performed, notably Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell… and more.

Michael Lang Net Worth

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Woodstock Earnings

As we mentioned earlier, the partners hoped 50,000 people would buy tickets. In the end 180,000 tickets were sold, but 400,000 people showed up. The concert generated around $1.8 million in gate receipts

Woodstock reportedly cost between $2.4 million and $3.1 million to produce. That’s the same as around $20 – $25 million in today’s dollars. After the concert, John Roberts found himself in debt to the tune of $1 million. To get out of debt he sold the film and soundtrack rights to Warner Bros. But even with these sales, Roberts remained in debt from Woodstock until at least 1980.

After Woodstock

Michael and Artie Kornfeld left the Woodstock Ventures partnership immediately after the festival was over. Years later he would re-join as a minority partner. Woodstock Ventures continues to own the intellectual property rights for the festival to this day. One of the partnership’s most valuable assets is its iconic image of a dove on a guitar. That image has been licensed countless times over the decades.

In the years after Woodstock, Michael formed a record label called Just Sunshine and became a music manager. He soon found himself managing Joe Cocker who became globally famous thanks largely to his Woodstock performance.

In 2009 Michael co-wrote the New York Times best-selling book “The Road to Woodstock.”

Michael Lang Organization

Michael was the founder of the Michael Lang Organization (MLO) which produced films, live events and managed artists. MLO produced dozens of notable events over the years including Lincoln Center’s 50th Anniversary event, while also producing concerts for an endless range of popular artists.

In 1996 Michael was an associate producer on Wes Anderson’s early film “Bottle Rocket.”

Woodstock 94 and 99

Michael Lang produced both Woodstock 94 and 99. Woodstock 94 was widely considered a huge success minus the bad weather. Rain caused the event to be absolutely soaked in mud. But otherwise, concertgoers and performers had a positive experience.

When Woodstock 99 was conceived, Michael and his fellow producers chose a shuttered military base in the town of Rome, NY. Their hope was that the base’s facilities and concrete runway would be allow them to avoid many of the issues that were experienced at Woodstock 94. Unfortunately Woodstock 99 turned into a bit of a disaster. Scorching weather combined with the concrete created a blazing hot weekend. Festival attendees would later claim there was a severe lack of facilities, clean drinking water, affordable food and security. On the last day of the event, the unruly mob – exhausted and on the third day of drinking and doing drugs in boiling temps, went wild. The crowd essentially burned the facility to the ground. State police were called-in to settle the riot. In the aftermath, female concert attendees complained of widespread sexual assault while at the event.

Personal Life

In 1972 Michael married Ann Lang, who was one of Joe Cocker’s backup singers. They divorced in 1982. He then married a woman named Tamara Pajic. He had four children.

Michael Lang died on January 8, 2022 at the age of 77 from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Real Estate

At the time of his death, Michael Lang lived on a 17-acre property in the town of Mount Tremper, New York, just 20 minutes away from Woodstock, NY and about an hour and a half from Bethel, where the original festival was held. The property, which is known as Happy Brooks, features a 5,000 square-foot main house, several other guest houses and cottages, a greenhouse, koi pond, pool, orchard, tree house and more. Michael listed the property for sale in June 2020 or $2.45 million but ultimately removed the listing.




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