- by Richard Barber, MHS '68
Written April 2013,
about events from August 1969:
I was stationed at an Air Force
base 180 miles from Woodstock. Four of us went
because we got free tickets. We went in a brand
new yellow Firebird convertible.
When we arrived early, the
crowd was pretty large but nothing like it was
several hours later. The 2-lane road to the farm
was bumper to bumper. We took 8 cases of Rolling
Rock beer. By the time we were inside, it was a
sea of bodies. The car was trashed and the music
was loud. I was into Hendrix, and he stole the
show. Richie Havens got a lot of applause, mostly
when he left the stage. He played on and on, and,
to be frank, everyone was pretty tired of hearing
him. When it started to rain, it didn't matter
much. Too much beer and too many women missing
parts of their clothes! It was a real eye opener
for this Indiana boy, way over my ability as a
We slept on the ground, in the
mud in a sleeping bag. After the beer and the
2nd-hand smoke and the sea of bodies, there
wasn't much space for sleeping. The only space
was where the rain channeled off into the woods
to the east.
For food we brought
"K" rations. One of the guys was a
cook, and he handled the food part.
But the biggest problem was
restrooms. It was billed that 50 thousand would
likely show up at best. Right! 50 miles out,
people were hitchhiking and walking by the
hundreds, and this was early morning. The only
security at first was rent-a-cops. That quickly
changed. They tried to stop people from entering,
but people out numbered the cops so they just
flanked them and tore down the fence.
The other problem was the drugs
-- mostly LSD. You didn't dare take a drink from
anybody because is was pretty freely around. Pot
was all over the place. This guy standing next to
us had a joint a foot long and 3" around.
When he lit it, it flamed a foot high. Needless
to say, the rations were better than usual.
Things were pretty "mellow" for all
I knew I wasn't in Mishawaka!
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking what my
mother would say if she knew.
My buddy's new car was trashed.
They ripped the top off for shelter. Standing
water on the floor was level to the bottom of the
door rocker panels. It was full of garbage and
debris. We had to ride back smelling of puke and
On account of that wonderful
event, I had to stand guard duty for 2 weeks
because the promoters had billed the event to
last 2 days. I was on a 3-day pass and got back
And to that beauty from
Fairfield, NY, you can keep the sleeping bag.