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Woodstock organizer: Nixon prevented Lennon from playing at festival

John Lennon
Spud Murphy/Lennon Archive

According to Michael Lang, one of the organizers of the famed Woodstock Music and Arts Fair festival in upstate New York in 1969 writing in the UK Guardian Monday, the event would have had John Lennon as one of the performers if it wasn't for President Nixon.

“We really wanted John Lennon but Nixon didn't want him in the country at the time and we tried to figure out ways of getting him in,” Lang wrote.

“Funnily enough when I was doing my (2009) memoir I found a letter from (Beatles label) Apple offering the Plastic Ono Band. The letter arrived the day we lost our site and I never saw it until the day I wrote the book.”

He said Bob Dylan was also invited to play Woodstock.

“I wanted Bob Dylan, but because he was such a big presence in those days and seen as a prophet, I didn't book him. It would have been too much pressure on him. I invited him but he didn't show.”

He called Hendrix's performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” the highlight of the festival.

“I saw it as a comment on Vietnam and it summed up why we were there.”

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