I have maintained for the last 40 years that anyone who claimed the original Woodstock music festival was some kind of rock utopia simply wasn't there. They just saw the movie. But thanks to my South Florida correspondent who pointed me in the direction of this Newsweek article written by one of the magazine's national affairs reporters, Mark Hosenball, I have finally read the words of another refugee, albeit one who bailed before the mess was even a third over. Hosenball writes quite honestly:
"Woodstock was, if not a nightmare, then a massive, teeming, squalid mess. If you like colossal traffic jams, torrential rain, reeking portable johns, barely edible food, and sprawling, disorganized crowds, then you would have found Woodstock a treat."
Because he left early, however, Hosenball didn't know that even the "barely edible food" ran out, food packages had to be airlifted in (the concert was officially declared a disaster site) and that perhaps he managed to get onboard the last ground vehicle that had the means of escaping the site. For the rest of us, my younger brother and I included, we had to wait until the logjam of parked cars blocking all roads to the site became dislodged before we could begin to make our way home -- something like three days after the festival was over.
Did the entire mess teach us an important lesson? I dunno. But I'll tell you this: a couple of months later my brother and I were at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont. That should tell you something.