Woodstock Music and Art Fair: 'It Was Like Balling for the First Time' - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Features

Woodstock: ‘It Was Like Balling for the First Time’

A three-day festival on Max Yasgur’s farm draws half a million and expands the spirit of a generation

WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — Chicago was only the labor pains. With a joyous three-day shriek, the inheritors of the earth came to life in an alfalfa field outside the village of Bethel, New York. Slapping the spark of life into the newborn was American rock and roll music provided by the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

And Dylan’s Mr. Jones, who has, indeed, been aware of what is happening, but has preferred to denounce the immorality of fucking around with his values, is now forced to acknowledge both the birth and its legitimacy.

The New York Times, which had given the story front-page coverage for three days running, thundered on its editorial page the Monday-after that it was “an outrageous episode” and demanded to know “what kind of culture it is that can produce so colossal a mess?” But, in a reversal astounding for that Establishment journal, a second editorial Tuesday sheepishly allowed that the gathering was “essentially a phenomenon of innocence . . . they came, it seems, to enjoy their own society, to exult in a life style that is its own declaration of independence . . . with Henry the Fifth, they could say at Bethel, ‘He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, will stand a-tiptoe when this day is nam’d.'”

Crusty, elderly Ted Lewis, in his political column in the sensation-mongering New York Daily News, wrote with wonder that for the army that took Bethel it was “a chance, perhaps, to express their emotional outlook on life which society fails to understand . . . if music makes them one, some day a ’cause’ will do the same, as the politicians well know as they face up to the elections in the next decade.”

Forty-nine-year-old Dairy Farmer Max Yasgur, who provided, for $50,000, the 600 acres that were the site of the fair, summed it up most succinctly when he came on stage Sunday afternoon. His voice breaking, he told the mass billowing out into the horizon before him: “I don’t know how to speak to 20 people, much less all of you . . . you are the largest group of people ever assembled in one place at one time . . . we had no idea there would be this many . . . and you have proven something to the world . . . that half a million kids can get together for fun and music and have nothing but fun and music.”

The monstrous crowd before him, an impressionistic pointilistic painting by Seurat, cheered him poignantly, acknowledging his overwhelmed understanding of the potent beauty it had forced into being.

Out of the mud and hunger and thirst, despite the rain and the end-of-the-world traffic jams, beyond the bad dope trips and the garish confusion, a new nation had emerged into the glare provided by the open-mouthed media.

Aging liberal pundit Max Lerner asked in the New York Post: “What is an ‘event’ in social and generational history? If it is something that marks a turning point in the consciousness generations have of each other and of themselves, then the weekened festival at Max Yasgur’s vast meadow at Bethel, N.Y., was an important event … the historians will have to reckon with it … these young revolutionaries are on their way … to slough away the life-style that isn’t theirs … and find one that is.”

Nine days after the passing of the ABM bill by the United States Senate, an act bringing total destruction that much closer to being one man’s temperamental reality, an army of peaceful guerrillas established a city larger than Rochester, N.Y., and showed itself imminently ready to turn back on the already ravaged cities and their inoperable “life-styles,” imminently prepared to move onto the mist-covered fields and into the cool, still woods.

“It was like balling for the first time,” said one campaigner, her voice shredded, her mind a tapioca of drugs. “Once you’ve done it, you want to do it again and again, because it’s so great.”

And they will do it again, the threads of youthful dissidence in Paris and Prague and Fort Lauderdale and Berkeley and Chicago and London criss-crossing ever more closely until the map of the world we live in is viable for and visible to all of those that are part of it and all of those buried under it. —

It was to begin, this Woodstock Music and Art Fair, at four PM, Friday, August 15th, outside Bethel (population 2,366) in Sullivan Country, a Catskills resort area long patronized by the middle-classed and middle-aged of New York City’s more threatened neighborhoods. It had first been planned for the village of Woodstock itself, 60 miles to the northeast, and was then moved to Wallkill, 15 miles to the southeast. When the promoters were thwarted there by a zoning challenge, they packed up for Bethel, just short of a month away. 60,000 rock fans were expected.

On the afternoon of August 15th, at the point planned for musical departure, there was a mire of thousands and thousands of automobiles under the sullen sky, stretching two-lanes on a highway the 12 miles leading to Monticello, the principal town of the area.

By noon the day before, 25,000 campers had already invaded the fields surrounding the slopes that formed the natural amphitheater. Vegetable Farmer Herman Reinshagen and his wife, Minerva, reported with some anguish that the campers had been taking corn, cabbage, cauliflower, beets and carrots from their 250-acre farm next to the festival site since early Thursday. “There’s hippies all over the place,” reported Herman, “and they’re hard to watch.”

Eighty-one-year-old Bungalow Colony Proprietor Ben Leon wasn’t much happier. “The sheriff promised me protection,” he cried, “and I don’t have it. Last night I was awake most of the night with these kids coming by and stopping here. They were making so much noise I had to come out with my 30.06 and I shot it ten times into the air. That got them moving. Ten, fifteen years ago, I could lick the whole bunch of them.”

Indeed, the lack of security guards was bothering a lot of people. The festival promoters had arranged to hire 346 off-duty New York Policemen, at $50-a-day each, to provide necessary crowd control. On Thursday, August 14th, New York City Police Commissioner Howard Leary suddenly decided to issue a reminder to all precincts of regulations barring the city’s finest from moonlighting on outside security work. “When we lost the cops,” said assistant producer Stanley Goldstein, “we lost the road. When we lost the roads, we lost control of the traffic. When that happened, we lost our supply lines.”

In the end, local Sheriff Louis Ratner’s own 100-man force was augmented by several hundred State Troopers and deputies from 12 other countries, to work outside the fair site. Off-duty policemen from an area reaching back to New York City genially patrolled traffic-strewn areas within the grounds, sporting red T-shirts emplazoned with the word peace.

Lost in that traffic was the opening act, Sweetwater, and their equipment. A helicopter was commandeered to airlift them out of the stoppage and into the stage area, three miles away. Richie Havens ignited the musical proceedings at 5:07 PM, after workmen finished outfitting the 80-foot-wide stage, and he was followed by Sweetwater; and Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie and Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez, who rendered a valued “We Shall Overcome” as her closing.

The two ticket gates, each with thirty entrances, had long before been overcome, obliterating the last barriers against this fair actually being a festival. “Something had to give,” said administrator John Roberts, “and the first thing that gave was the money and ticket collection.” But the fences and gates hadn’t been installed with any great care in the first place, and late Friday evening it was announced from the stage that from there on in, all events would be free. And, by late Friday evening, the crowd had swollen to 200,000 within the grounds. And estimated 100,000 more were reported to be converging on the area, and the crisis reports started chattering out through the channels of the media.

The sanitation facilities (600 portable toilets had been spotted across the farm) were breaking down and overflowing; the water from six wells and parked water tanks were proving to be an inadequate supply for the long lines that were forming, and the above-ground water pipes were being crushed by the humanity; the food concessions were sold out and it was impossible to ferry in any more through the traffic; the chief medical officer declared a “medical crisis” from drug use and subsequent freak-outs; police reported a shortage of ambulances, and those that were available had difficulty getting back to local hospitals through the metal syrup of the traffic jam.

Approaching midnight, while Ravi Shankar was playing, rain and lightning shot down from the sky, and water collecting in the canopy atop the stage threatened to collapse it. There were worried mutterings from the festival guards that the stage, built on scaffolding, might be starting to slide in the mud.

But, as the earth dissolved into slime, the crowd burst into a joyous community. In the dawning of the Aquarian Age, everyone was in the same puddle. Although local residents were reported to be demanding 25 cents for a glass of water and $1 for a loaf of bread and a quart of milk, on the festival grounds, sharing what you had — whether a bonfire, an apple or a joint — was the order of the night. One hundred members of The Hog Farm, flown in from their New Mexico commune by the festival promoters, served brown rice and bean soup from open vats. Containers were set out to catch rain water to drink and pass on. “You can go off and leave your stuff, and nobody touches it,” said a 17-year-old Brown University sophomore. Life already being a disaster, within that concept you could only groove.

And the spirit of the gathering was beginning to permeate the outside world. The area’s main switchboard had almost buckled from 500,000 long-distance phone calls Friday and, with awe in her voice, a local operator reported that “every kid said thank you.”

“Notwithstanding their personality, their dress, and their ideas,” said the head of Monticello’s constabulary, “They are the most courteous, considerate and well-behaved group of kids I have ever been in contact with in my 24 years of police work.”

“When our police cars were getting stuck,” said another cop, “they even helped us get them out. It was really amazing. I think a lot of police here are looking at their attitudes.” Richard Biccum, after his experience driving a busload into Bethel, declared: “I’ll haul kids any day, rather than commuters.”

“If these hippies bump into you,” said a local resident, “they actually say excuse me.” In supermarkets, reported housewife Minnie Schoen, they did not, like most vacationers, “push their grocery carts into your back to get you out of the way.”

“These people are really beautiful,” summed up the festival’s chief medical officer, Dr. William Abruzzi. “There has been no violence whatsoever, which is really remarkable for a crowd of this size.”

Saturday morning, a steely sun awoke the damp and chilled beautiful people camping in the fields. Those lucky enough found cars to sleep in, or had booked rooms weeks in advance. At the Howard Johnson Motel in nearby Liberty, where most of the performers were billeted, a party had been in progress through the night. At one point, Janis Joplin and Country Joe MacDonald wrestled onto a lobby couch and then disappeared.

In Monticello, one rock writer trudged into his motel at 8 AM, announcing that it had taken him from 4 PM until midnight to get through the traffic to the festival and, after abandoning his car, a five-hour walk back. “It’s like Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow,” he sniffed. He eventually returned to the festival, unlike several thousand — out of the hundreds of thousands — who left in disgust.

“I couldn’t see anything,” snapped one 18-year-old girl on her return to New York City. “Everybody was talking and I couldn’t hear. Whoever arranged it ought to be sued.” And New York City Councilman Joseph Modugno called for an investigation of the festival by the United States Attorney General’s office when his 19-year-old son Victor returned home ill.

But for every departee, there were another dozen trudging toward the site in lines stretching three and four miles into the distance. The Short Line — providing the only bus service from New York City — sent in 65 buses, at least one of them taking 12 hours for what is usually at two hour and twenty minute trip, before all further service to the festival was cancelled at the request of the police. “We’re not driving into that disaster area,” said a company spokesman.

At the Howard Johnson Motel, it was announced over a loudspeaker — incorrectly, as it turned out — that the area had been declared a disaster area by the state and that the National Guard was going to the site with food and water.

In fact, a petition to declare a state of emergency in Sullivan County had been sent to Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Aside from acknowledging its receipt, the Governor took no other action. If he had declared the festival a disaster area, the promoters would not have been liable for any lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the authorities continued to make urgent pleas for the “young people” to stay at home. Requests that would-be visitors stay away had already been broadcast on the radio Friday night, but in the next breath it was reported that it had become a free show. At one access road, the State Police stopped all incoming cars and asked the drivers to return home.

By Saturday noon, there were 300,000 people at the festival and another 100,000 trying to get there.

In addition to the mounting shortages of food and water and overtaxed toilet facilities, a new problem was developing: mounting piles of garbage. The few trucks that could get out were piled high with refuse. On the grounds themselves, it was an ever-expanding desolation row of empty soda cans. There were no collection bins anywhere within sight. “It’s repulsive,” summed up one 20-year-old Pennsylvania college student. At the end of the three-day event, festival officials estimated that the cleanup of the hillside, campsites and roads would take at least two weeks.

Casting an even blacker pall over the proceedings was the death of 17-year-old Raymond Mizak, run over by a tractor Saturday morning as he lay in his sleeping bag. He was rushed by ambulance to a makeshift landing strip where doctors pumped air into him with a small hand pump. His face was puffed and blueish; blood trickled from a corner of his mouth. He died minutes before one of the nine helicopters leased by Woodstock Ventures, Inc., landed to take him to a hospital.

On Sunday, there was a second death, from a drug overdose. And there were two births, one in a car caught in traffic and the other in a hospital after a helicopter flight from the festival. Four miscarriages were reported.

Fifty doctors were airlifted into the grounds in answer to an emergency appeal. Three tracheotomies were performed and other cases included pneumonia, a broken neck and a diabetic coma. By the time the music had stopped, 5,000 cases, most of them minor, had been treated. Four hundred, however, were drug trips. Two Air Force helicopters from a nearby base shuttled the seriously stricken to an emergency clinic in Monticello and they ferried back two cargo missions of 1,300 pounds of canned foods, sandwiches and fruit.

“It’s unreal,” said 22-year-old A! Rich of Montreal. “I’m wet, fedup, tired, and it’s beautiful.”

Whatever the statistics of the disaster, the spirit was of a long-awaited tribal gathering. In Leon’s Lake, a quarter of a mile from the stage, throngs of the unencumbered skinny-dipped in murky water. Although the art of the Music and Art Fair was largely the audience itself, a bazaar of shops ricocheted through the woods, offering velvet dresses and fuck-you T-shirts, leather goods and jewelry, incense and Indian blouses. Deep into the woods, a stock exchange of dope was organized with heavy but good natured buying, selling and trading underway. “Get your opium . . . . mescaline, mescaline, nice fresh mescaline.” Prices, both there and in from freelancers in the crowd, stayed at about $4 a cap of acid or mescaline, $15 for an ounce of grass. Only tobacco was in short supply.

Beyond the woods lay the Hog Farm encampment, an area of peaceful industry. Its members provided the most soothing refuge for the most stricken of the trippers. Their brown rice ran out and an oatmeal-raisin-sunflower combination, not particularly appetizing, but filling, was given out instead. Star performers and street musicians mingled and played on the commune’s own small stage. Notable was the Quarry, which provided a heavy free-form concert most of Saturday.

Ringing the grounds were the encampments of the multitudes. Sears and Roebuck tents and skimpy plastic sheets and teepees. Huts made of bales of hay and elaborate found-object structures. Some inhabited campers and micro-buses, others plunked sleeping bags on or under any surface large enough to accommodate them. A teepee was thrown up around a large elm tree and twenty campers comprised the spokes of a wheel, their heads toward the fire. A sign appeared: “Don’t bother Max’s cows. Let them moo in peace.”

“It’s just such an incredible unification,” said one 20-year-old guy.

Saturday afternoon, the music festival resumed with the Boston group, Quill. In a bid for acknowledgment, they first threw their maracas into the crowd; missing a cheer with that, they then tossed out any available crap from the stage they could lay their hands on. Country Joe MacDonald did an acoustic set on his own, offering his first number to Janis, at the end eliciting a happy-savages roar when he yelled out to the crowd: “Gimme an F” — they answered — “Gimme a U” — they answered — “Gimme a C” — they answered — “Gimme a K” — and they yelled. “Now, what’s that spell?” The shout rang out at least ten miles. John Sebastian, in what appeared to be Hawaiian pedal pushers, broke into song with “How Have You Been My Darlin’ Children, While I Have Been Away.” “I love you,” he told the darlin’ children and, Russian style, they applauded him back. They were bored with him, but he was one of them again, and was given that due.

Keef Hartley, from London, did a hard and brassy set; Santana Blues Band roused the crowd; the Incredible String Band only denied the crowd’s need for exictement.

Between each set, lights man and production supervisor Chip Monck sturdily held the stage, making announcements and relaying distress signals: “Lisa Freytag, please meet Ron at the hospital right away.” “A two or three year old girl is at the Hog Farm First Aid Station, and pretty unhappy.” “Kenny Irwin please go to the information booth for your insulin.” “Frank Conroy is at the car; there is an emergency in New York.” “Paul Andrews, Mike needs his pills and will meet you where he did yesterday.”

At dusk, a flouncing and bouncing Canned Heat hit the plywood stage, raising the mud-stained, sweat-splattered mass to its feet for the entire set. Movie cameras swept in; one cameraman and Bob Hite, each with their heads arched back, one to sing, one to shoot, met haunch to haunch in coital stalking. Behind them on the stage, Janis Joplin stood tensely motionless, her mouth set hard. Grace Slick, in white that stayed spotless, nodded. The rest of the Airplane and its coterie sat with her, despite requests from the stage managers that they leave, nibbling on delicate grapes, sipping lime juice from Garnier champagne bottles. These were the stars.

But the Star is still missing. There is speculation. He is going to appear. No, he is in Europe. No, he’s at home. But he’s not going to come because his son is sick. But he could come anyway, couldn’t he.

Willingly or not, Bob Dylan was the presence hovering over this three-day jamboree. Aware of it or not, he is the elder of this urban tribe that is fanning away from the amphetamine-streaked cities. If he has not imposed rules, he has offered himself as one, and the tribally tommed-tommed message of WOODSTOCK, Dylan’s refuge, WOODSTOCK, Dylan’s turf, WOODSTOCK, Dylan’s bringing it all back home, was as much responsible for moving this massive surge of humanity onto a 600-acre farm as any advertisements, promotion, publicity.

But he never did appear. He had set off for Europe, intending to sail on the Queen Elizabeth on Thursday. But his son did fall seriously ill and, with his family, Dylan turned back from the ship to put the boy into the hospital.

And as darkness sucked the crowd into a monochrome lump, Canned Heat humped the stage with “On the Road Again,” the spotlights buckshotting across the holy fools on their pilgrimage, illuminating waving arms at the distant top of the far hill, as toothpicks against toy trees.

As the night wore on, it was the Battle of the Bands; Grateful Dead, strained after Canned Heat, climbed out onto a limb with hopes that the audience would reach up to them; it didn’t. Creedence Clearwater, clear and tight; a static Janis Joplin, cavorting with Snooky Flowers, her back-up band just that; Sly and the Family Stone, apart in their grandeur, won the battle, carrying it to their own majestically freaked-out stratosphere.

The Who went on stage after Road Manager John Wolff, taking no chances, collected $11,200 for their upcoming performance. In the midst of their set, Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman leaped onto the stage, grabbed a microphone and announced that the festival was meaningless as long as White Panther Party leader and MC-5 manager John Sinclair was rotting in prison. Peter Townshend then clubbed Hoffman off the stage with his guitar. That’s the relationship of rock to politics. When a movie cameraman moved in on Roger Daltry, Townshend then kicked that man square in the ass and off the stage. There were no protests either time. Townshend’s guitar was intact, however, allowing him to smash it to smithereens as the sun rose behind him. At 8:30, under a bright sky, Jefferson Airplane brought it to happily worn-out close.

* * *

Sunday morning, the Air Force helicopters brought in 300 more pounds of food, and residents of Sullivan Country, who at one point were of a mind to wash their hands of the entire event, pitched in with donations. Thirty thousand sandwiches were prepared in Monticello by the Women’s Group of the Jewish Community Center (dirty hippies are one thing, but hungry children are another) and they were distributed by Sisters of the Convent of St. Thomas. The festival management made an emergency expenditure of $10,000 to hire helicopters to fly in food for sold-out concessioners, and hungry staff workers. The ex-officio guru, Dairy Farmer Yasgur, gathered together large quantities of butter and cheese until it was pointed out that the beneficiaries would have nothing to put the butter on. A relative then donated a car load of bread loaves.

But, if it was still more famine than feast, it was pot luck for the heads.

“There was so much grass being smoked last night that you could get stoned just sitting there breathing,” one 19-year-old Ohio university student told the New York Times. “It got so you didn’t even want another drag of anything.” The newspaper then went on to explain that “‘grass’ is marijuana and getting ‘stoned’ is getting high on it.” As its fillip, the newspaper with all the news fit to print reported that its own quick poll revealed that 99 per cent of the crowd was smoking grass. For those there, the only wonder was where it all came from considering the recently publicized drought. Certainly, it was there in profusion, and easily available in any part of the crowd.

The good luck extended to only a small number of arrests made in the vast underground farm city. In all, there weren’t quite a hundred busts and only a dozen of those actually took place within the festival grounds. “We don’t,” said Sullivan Country Sheriff Louis Ratner, “want any confrontations.” More explicitly, a state police sergeant said: “As far as I know, the narcotics guys are not arresting anybody for grass. If we did, there wouldn’t be space enough in Sullivan Country, or the next three counties, to put them in.”

And equal to the outside’s anger and concern about the “drug menace” was its awe at the “politeness,” the “good behavior,” the “cheerfulness,” the “lack of violence.”

And the two were never connected.

Sunday’s marathon was opened by Joe Cocker, his fingers epileptic butterflies, his voice harsh and driving, but grey rather than black, driving home the absence of R and B artists. As with most of the festivals, white was right. No Sam and Dave. No Wilson Pickett. No Stevie Wonder. No Aretha. No Temptations. No Fats Domino. Which is perhaps understandable when the audience itself is largely white. But it is not explicable, when a darkie show such as provided by Cocker is offered as the forgivable alternative.

But the festival wasn’t produced as a spirit-expanding musical experience in the first place. With their heralded under-30 grooviness, the four men who put the fair together contented themselves with being promoters of certified record company stars and token new, and white, talent. Tough shit for the kids crammed into the mud, waiting from 40 minutes to more than an hour for whatever act could be sent on next.

The proceedings were slowed even further Sunday afternoon by the advent of another rainstorm as Joe Cocker was finishing. The audience steadfastly waited out the deluge, dancing to hastily provided recorded music until Country Joe and the Fish scrambled on stage, offering a fast drum solo and brazen elan. One Country Joe and the Fish partisan attached himself to their onstage exuberance and undulated into a psychedelic hula. Without missing a beat, he slipped out of all his clothes and, before an audience stretching into soggy infinity, wove his own melody of joy. Within the audience, another two young men, one black and one white, shed their uptightness with their clothes and, cocks jiggling, choreographed their own rain dance.

Promoter Mike Land, choosing the only option beyond hysteria, stood mutely at the rear of the stage, deluged by his own problems.

With tickets at $7 per show, or $18 for all three performances, $1.3 million was collected in advance sales. But when there turned out not to be any turnstiles to go through, there was no way to collect any more revenue. “This has got to be,” said production area director John Morris, “the greatest freebie of all time.”

On top of that, the size of the crowd that did appear blitzed whatever plans and budget could have been salvaged. The costs of the helicopters staggered into the tens of thousands of dollars. The food concessionaires, what with all their problems, declared that they were no longer going to share their take. There was the cost of providing and ferrying in food beyond what the concessionaires could handle, anyway.

In the end, expenses had amounted to $2.5 million. Creditors descended on the business offices to demand cash or certified checks.

Everyone, said the 26-year-old Arthur Kornfeld, 24-year-old Mike Land, 26-year-old Joel Rosenman and 24-year-old John Roberts, would be paid. Details would be forthcoming, they announced, as they steadily angled off on social importance and youth culture and sociological success.

And, on the Thursday following, in a Manhattan penthouse press conference, they announced, yes, indeed, it was all going to be all right. Debts would be paid “with assistance from banks . . . some of the principals have strong connections with banks.” (The principal with the most visible bank connections is John Roberts; his family has a proprietary drug and cosmetic business and he is head of a small investment concern. His own personal fortune is expected by some observes to be available for debits). Additionally, they said, residual rights for movies, records and books are the property of Woodstock Ventures, Inc. “You should expect an announcement soon, on the movie and records.”

And, in front of a bank of microphones, his voice barely audible, cigarette-twisting Mike Land allowed as, uh-huh, there’s going to be another Woodstock Music and Arts Fair next year. August 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Maybe even at Bethel. If the access roads can be improved.

The rain stopped, the stage was swept clear of water and the monster session lethargically cannoned back into the night.

At 10:30, Ten Years After had completed its set and Country Joe and the Fish theirs. They were followed by the Band, anticipated as much for the possibility that Dylan would appear as for their own touted but largely unknown talents. The crowd on the stage found more approbation for their relaxed set than did the mass in front of the Band until they climbed into and drove off “This Wheel’s On Fire.” That drew a howl for more, perhaps in recognition of their sponsor, perhaps for Dylan’s still-hoped-for appearance.

Johnny Winter whacked out his country blues, his efforts appropriate if not welcomed, and at three o’clock in the morning, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young made their second appearance on any stage anywhere. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, unbilled and unexpected by the dwindling multitude that was now taking on the appearance of a ravaged refugee camp, did a two-hour set railing aginst a dawn harshened sky. Sha Na Na, a 12-man Columbia University combine, followed, limiting their exuberant nostalgia of Fifties classics to a half-hour run through. At eight in the morning the exhausted crowd could not absorb Sha Na Na’s delicate camp.

And finally and finally, at 8:30, Jimi Hendrix, in turquoise and white, in velvet and suede, accompanied by Mitch Mitchell on drums, Larry Lee on rhythm guitar, Jerry Velez on percussion, Bill Cox on bass and Juma on flute, brought it all crashing to a two-hour close, finishing with the “Star Spangled Banner,” “Taps” and “Hey, Joe.”

Less than 30,000 were in attendance for this last gasp and most of them straggled off into now free-flowing traffic that passed the clutter of a civilization that had spanned its own eternity in three days. Toothbrushes, sleeping bags, rubbers even in 1969, apple cores and banana skins and squashed bread, abandoned and lost and ruined automobiles, trousers and belts and sandals, muddied newspapers already curling in the weak morning sun. Steam rising from the warmed sodden green fields, wiped out smiles. The stillness of disorientation.

It was over.


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.