Then the 25th anniversary of the legendary love fest approached, and Mr. Lang felt it was time to get himself back to the garden.
"It seemed like a better idea to do [the anniversary concert] than not do it and regret it later," says the 50-year-old VP of Woodstock Ventures.
Trashed by the media for its profit-making motives, the anniversary concert, held Aug. 12-14, 1994, turned out to be marketing nirvana.
Unlike its predecessor, which didn't make a profit for 15 years, last year's Woodstock was managed as a business-by three of the original partners (Mr. Lang, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman) and Polygram Records.
To offset the $38 million cost (vs. $3 million in 1969), the partners lined up corporate sponsors. Pepsi-Cola Co. paid $5 million to be the official soft drink, a deal that included a mention in all advertising of the Woodstock event.
Entertainment retailer Nobody Beats the Wiz spent $2 million for its role as an official sponsor and the right to operate Woodstock shops in its retail locations. Gibson Guitar Corp., Continental Airlines, Haagen-Dazs and Vermont Pure Spring Water each paid $1 million for the right to place signage on-site at the concert.
"Because everything is so expensive now, it would be impossible to do without corporate dollars," explains Mr. Lang. "We never tried for the first concert. It never even occurred to us-it [corporate sponsorship of concerts] didn't exist."
In the end, the corporate focus of the Woodstock revival didn't deter Generation Xers from wallowing in the muddy fields of Saugerties, N.Y., for $135 a head. The concert sold 200,000 tickets, bringing in $27 million.
The party didn't end at the gate. Woodstock Ventures and Polygram earned $12 million from pay-per-view TV fees and $3 million from merchandise sold on site (from cups to condoms). Another $5 million was raked in from merchandise sold at retail and through MTV's Woodstock-themed home-shopping program, held during the concert. Additional revenues came from syndicated radio, via Media America, which brought in $750,000. More than 900,000 of the $33 Woodstock CDs have been shipped.
And it's still not over. A film based on the Woodstock reunion will be released this summer. For those who look back fondly on the original concert's lack of food, Mr. Lang and his partners are making up for lost munchies with a chain of Woodstock Cafes.