Without the unforgettable epic performances, Woodstock ’69 could’ve been one big muddy hellhole with all the mishaps that were going on that people seemed to have forgotten about. Yes, it’s been given that Woodstock 1969 was an event that not only made such an impact in the history of rock n’ roll but also changed the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people who were there. Held in Upstate New York almost 50 years ago on August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was advertised in the papers as “Three Days of Peace and Music” with a long list of popular bands that would be playing. People from all over the country could just come in, get high, and start dancing to the live music. There was a situation of unexpected overcrowding and anything could’ve gone wrong and things did go wrong in more ways than one. Three days of peace and music? Nobody talks about the three days of rain and mud that went along with it. From disgusting bathroom setups to serious food shortages, we look at the bad side of the historical Woodstock 60 that most of us overlooked.
It’s all the iconic rockstars of the era that performed unforgettable sets during the Woodstock 69, from Janis Joplin, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Keef Hartley Band, and Quill. Do you even know who those last two were? Were they at Woodstock 69? They definitely were and the only difference they have against the Woodstock icons is that those bands did not get featured in the documentary film Woodstock. They ended up with very little name recognition after experiencing mud-filled, no-electricity sets in the greatest rock and roll music festival in music history.
According to Huffington Post, the four-hour, Oscar-winning documentary, which was released the year after the festival, left these bands that we think we’ve never heard of out of the film and were unfortunately forgotten. Compared to the others who were largely featured in the film, consequently got a publicity bump.
The organizers expected a max of only 50,000 people to show up. Woodstock 69 was known to have had over 500,000 people in attendance and that also translates to having garbage pile up. With most of the attendees high and drunk, they probably weren’t in the right mind to practice the ‘Clean-As-You-Go’ etiquette and just mindlessly left their trash all over the place. To the point where they would even sleep on it. But that’s not even the worst part.
Because of the unexpected surge of people who attended the festival, logistics and hygeine became a serious issue. The ratio of toilet usage was 1 porta potty for every 830+ people. And because it rained, those porta potties overflowed with a mixture of sewage and mud. It got to a point that there was too much mud that it ran downhill to the throngs of people gathered. Talk about some seriously disgusting problems. The people were so high that they were bathing in the ‘mud’.
There was a nurse at Woodstock who reported that burned eyeballs were actually one the ailments people experienced at Woodstock 69. Reportedly, it seems to have resulted from people high on LSD who would “lie down on their backs and just stare.” There was a debate on whether this was true or a great hoax but this story was debunked in a book called The Pleasure Seekers, which was published just after the festival. That nurse also claims there were “five or six or seven [patients] at a time,” and it was enough of a problem that there was a whole medical area devoted to treating burned eyeballs in the festival.
Nothing but granola
Today, food vendors know that having a spot at a music festival is the best way to make money because people WILL buy the overpriced food that they will sell. Well, during the Woodstock 69 festival, food vendors didn’t exactly see things that way. So food vendors opted out at the festival thinking that not as much people will attend therefore they wouldn’t exactly profit from it. So the food choices at the time were limited to GRANOLA. The organizers tried to address the food shortage by handing out granola in Dixie cups.