Michael Lang was the owner of what could have possibly been the first head shop in the U.S. He had organized the Miami Pop Festival which was the largest music event to that date drawing over 40,000 people in 1968, a year before Woodstock. After he moved to New York, he met Artie Kornfeld, and his vision of a music related project in upstate New York was set into motion.
Lang got an appointment with Artie Kornfeld, the first and youngest Vice President of Rock Music ever by telling the receptionist that he was from the same neighborhood as Kornfeld (Bensonhurst, Queens, NY). The two became close friends and Lang moved in with Kornfeld and his wife, Linda. Amidst the conversations between Kornfeld and Lang, the ideas of a music festival as well as a recording studio came up. Meanwhile, two young and wealthy individuals by the name of John Roberts and Joel Rosenman had run an ad in The New York Times seeking investment opportunities. There is some controversy as to whether or not, Lang and Kornfeld had actually seen the ad, but according to Kornfeld, they were referred to Roberts and Rosenman by their lawyer.
“It was rumored that John Roberts and Joel Rosenman put an ad in the New York Times that said two guys with unlimited capital looking for investments. Michael and I never saw that ad,” said Kornfeld.
The original idea for the Woodstock 1969 is shrouded in time lapse and numerous different counts of the story, but Woodstock Ventures was formed soon after the four young men met and each person held 25% of the company. The initial plan is illustrated as having a function of the musical variety and using the profits to fund the recording studio. John Roberts has stated that basically he and Rosenman had the money, so their word was law.
The initial projections of the Woodstock festival were extremely meager in relation to the end results. The budget was $500,000 and the estimated attendance was 100,000. Perhaps the young individuals had always known that they were going to orchestrate the largest music festival in history, but they grossly underestimated how big the event was actually going to be.
The company settled upon the town of Wallkill, NY and got booted from there, then met Elliot Tiber and consequently dairy farmer Max Yasgur. The rest is history. Woodstock 1969 was the largest gathering of people in one place in music history, and the legendary lineup exemplified an entire counterculture which gave the middle finger to authority. From a musical standpoint, Woodstock may be the single largest event that changed the history of this art. Woodstock Ventures, the vision of four men and a series of fortuitous and freak occurrences would change the history of American culture.