Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
For many, the first Woodstock was an Aquarian utopia come true. For others, it was a muddy nightmare. The Post report of Aug. 18, 1969, was flawed in one detail: As any aging hippie will remember, the bummer acid was brown, not green. An excerpt:
From News Dispatches
BETHEL, N.Y., Aug. 17 --
The monumental Woodstock Music and Art Fair neared its finale tonight -- after bringing wholesale drug and auto traffic, food shortages, three deaths, more than 400,000 rock music lovers and the spirit of peace to this Catskill Mountain resort area.
Since Thursday, when thousands of young Americans began converging on this hamlet for the most ambitious exposition of their music ever staged, more than 3,000 persons have been treated for injuries and drug overdoses.
Two persons died here today, one from an overdose of heroin and the other from a burst appendix. The first death of the three-day festival occurred Saturday when Raymond R. Mizak, 17, of Trenton, N.J., was killed by a tractor that ran over his sleeping bag.
Adversity -- in the form of torrential rains, little food, an insufficient sound system, dangerously adulterated drugs, a shortage of doctors and security officers and a throng more than double the crowd anticipated -- has plagued the festival since it began Friday.
Yet the overwhelming phenomenon of this "Aquarian Exposition," as its promoters have subtitled the Music and Art Fair, has been peace.
Although as many people are gathered here this weekend as the number who live in Fairfax County, there have been no incidents.
The police have assiduously avoided harassment of the visitors and the rock fans have responded with kindness and courtesy to the police.
"I have yet to see an injury that has been the result of a fight," Dr. William Abruzzi, the physician in charge of the festival's medical operations said today. "To my knowledge there has been no violence whatsoever, which is remarkable for a crowd of this size. These people are really beautiful." ...
Two children have been born here during the course of the festival, one in an automobile caught in traffic and the other in a hospital after a helicopter flight from the first-aid tent on the festival grounds.
Most of the medical treatment has been for scores of cuts, dislocations, and "bad trips" from drugs.
Police have made 77 arrests in the Bethel area since Friday, most of them for the sale or possession of drugs.
No arrests have been made for possession of marijuana, which has been smoked openly by thousands since the festival began.
As a service to their patrons, promoters have kept tabs on the drug market and announced periodically to the audience that certain green LSD tablets being sold had caused illness.
Dawn broke today with the huge crowd listening to the music they had traveled from all over the country to hear.
Wrapped in blankets or sleeping bags to protect them from the mud, they have heard the finest assemblage of rock performers ever contracted for a single festival.
Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stills and Nash, the Mothers of Invention, Jimi Hendrix, Stills and Nash -- all heroes of the youth culture being celebrated here -- are among the musicians on the three-day program.