Part II: Mosquito Coast

We sent a team of observers to Woodstock ’99 and all we got was this lousy diary. Join our intrepid staffers — Mom, Dad, Tank, and Sausage (not their real names) — as they experience Woodstock ’99.

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Thursday, July 22

Dear Diary,

Have you ever been in a Porta Potty in the middle of an Air Force runway at noon in near-100 degree heat?

I suppose I neglected to mention yesterday a striking feature of the concert site: the near complete absence of vegetation. Most of the ground surface is tarmac. There are virtually no trees but for a handful of withered pines in the immense camping area. It occurs to me that the 250,000-odd people that are not vendors, roadies, muscians, or other miscellaneous hangers-on will be deprived of all manner of shade for the next four days, other than that offered by the sauna-like Porta Pottys or tents.

Equally striking is the dearth of water available to the huddled masses. Within each of the Porta Potty cities are rudimentary sinks and faucets, but these are few and very, very far between. Amazing, given the number of people expected to show and the hostility of the environment. (One among us was heard to say, “People are gonna die.”)

Pray for rain.

Another profoundly irksome disappointment has been the so-called “beer gardens” which are, in fact, merely fenced-off compounds (within the greater fenced-off compound) monopolized by a single brew: Budweiser. Admittedly, we had grander hopes for beer consumption this weekend that went beyond the many permutations of increasingly bland Budweiser: Ice, Dry, Light, Extra-Dry, Mocha, Clear, and Vegan.

Later …

A thought: This place is like Kosovo, but with $8 cheesesteaks.


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