REVELS WITH A PAST : At Woodstock II, the Site and Sounds Won’t Be the Only Things That’re Different


A Woodstock diary for 1994:

Aug. 12, 2 p.m.: First class from LAX to Kennedy is filled. Flight attendants in tie-dyed scarves greet the pilgrims.

3:15 p.m.: Attendants discover all 18 special-order fruit and yogurt plates have been inadvertently loaded on flight to Dusseldorf. All they have is beef Wellington. No one eats; everyone drinks.

5:10 p.m.: The in-flight movie begins--”Getting Straight,” a radical-chic 1970 film with Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen. Gould is, by coincidence, seated in Row 4. One person asks what it was like kissing Murphy Brown. Three others ask what it was like being married to Barbra Streisand.


6:18 p.m.: Quarreling erupts as several passengers claim attendance at Woodstock I and challenge others to prove theirs. “You all make me sick,” rages one. “It’s like everybody saying they voted for McGovern.”

6:25 p.m.: Everyone confesses they were never at Woodstock.

7:45 p.m.: Limo pools reach the Plaza. Waiting in each room is a note about Tiffany’s commemorative Woodstock jewelry: “69” and “94” worked into a peace symbol. The pendant, in silver, $295; in gold, $1,195.

Aug. 13, 9 a.m.: In the town car, someone asks the driver to crank the air conditioning. Someone else asks for the car’s manual first. “It’s OK,” he says at last. “The AC is non-CFC.”

11 a.m.: Daughter whines that she’ll miss “Beverly Hills, 90210” because father can’t program VCR right. He says he’s brought her 3,000 miles and paid $135 for her to hear the Red Hot Chili Peppers and learn a little damn history. She says she can hear them at home without having to camp out with her lame parents.

12:30 p.m.: They spot the eight-foot-tall security-patrolled fence marking the festival grounds in Saugerties. Inside at the Eco-Village, they check out the fund-raising PAC for Country Joe’s possible run for Berkeley City Council, a “Dunk Limbaugh” baseball toss and an herbal check-your-cholesterol booth.

2 p.m.: Carlos Santana plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Jimi Hendrix’s Stratocaster. Thousands weep; thousands more try to follow the lyrics in the program.


2:08 p.m.: Country Joe takes the vast stage. “Gimme an F!” he hollers. “Gimme a U!” A woman shouts angrily: “You can’t say that--my kids are here!” Joe ponders. Then, “. . . Gimme a T! Gimme another U! Gimme an R! Gimme an E! What’s that spell?” No one figures it out. “Future!” he hollers. “It spells future!”

4:51 p.m.: Two women walk down to see the famous creek. “No nude swimming,” the signs say. “Thank God,” they think.

8:07 p.m.: Twilight falls. It is a magical moment. “Everybody, light a match and hold it up!” calls Dave Crosby. No one has a match; everyone has stopped smoking.

Aug. 14, 8 a.m.: A fast-food chain has donated coffee and meatless patties on muffins in exchange for product placement in the movie. “What we have in mind,” read the food wrappers, plagiarizing 1969, “is McBreakfast in bed for 400,000.”

8:05 a.m.: Joan Baez urges a hunger strike in support of political prisoners in Lompoc. Thousands agree and lay aside the McBreakfasts.

11:17 a.m.: Lost-and-found tent announces it has nine cellular phones, a three-iron and a Rolex inscribed “Still Feelin’ Groovy.”


1:35 p.m.: Orderlies rush by with stretchers. “Coming through! Bad acid!” Later, after doses of Maalox, the victims are doing fine.

4 p.m.: President Clinton ‘copters in to play sax for Joe Cocker. A speaker tower topples, sending debris into the crowd. From the downstage mike, Clinton says feelingly: “I share your pain.”

7:17 p.m.: As Nine Inch Nails comes onstage, the Californians leave to catch the red-eye. “It’s a good thing John Lennon is dead,” sighs one, “because this would have killed him.”

Aug. 15, 8:02 a.m.: The first liability lawsuit is filed in Ulster County Court.