What were the worst performances at Woodstock

Anniversary - This Swiss was there at the first Woodstock: "It was hell"

This Swiss was there at the first Woodstock: "It was hell"

He flew to the Woodstock Festival with The Who and left with Jimi Hendrix. Bobby Leiser was one of the few Swiss people on site. He tells.

“In the summer of 1969 I worked and lived with Miles Davis on 77th Street in Manhattan. There were Woodstock posters everywhere with the hottest bands. That appealed to me, but the skepticism was great. Many thought it was impossible to hold such an event there, in this rural, remote area. Already two days before the festival started, there were prompt reports from crowds who were on their way to Woodstock. Helicopter pictures showed congested streets. Nothing worked anymore. Some of the people had simply left their cars 20 or 30 kilometers away from the festival and set off on foot. I wanted to go too, but the pictures put me off. Miles, through his management, organized a place for me in a transport helicopter of the organizers, in which I could fly.

We left on Saturday around noon. I was lucky enough to be able to fly in a helicopter with the band The Who. As I approached, I saw the crowds, the snakes that were still moving towards Woodstock on Saturday morning. The fences had long been trampled down. Everyone had free access to the festival. In the helicopter, Pete Townshend warned about the drinking water in Woodstock. The water behind the stage was mixed with drugs, LSD and other things. The Who drummer Keith Moon was exactly what appealed to him, and he threw himself on the water after landing. After an hour he was completely gone.

The chaos was total. Woodstock was the worst organized festival I have ever been to. Nothing worked. I was backstage, but I also ran through the grounds and wanted to get an idea. There was nothing of a hippie idyll there. Already on Saturday the whole area was shitty. The hippie paradise, the famous little paradise lake in which people bathed naked, had turned into a stinking sewer, into a manure hole. The plumbing was calculated for a few thousand people, not nearly half a million. That's why everyone did their business wherever it was convenient. It was an absolute catastrophe. The people were desperate and had nothing more to eat or drink. Children cried. It was hell.

Still, it was astonishing that, despite the precarious conditions, it remained largely peaceful.

On Saturday the army therefore delivered tens of thousands of emergency rations with helicopters and brought water with all-terrain vehicles. I can't imagine what would have happened if the army hadn't helped. The army has shown itself at its best and prevented worse.

Of course, I was particularly interested in the performance of The Who, which appeared relatively promptly, but several hours later than the scheduled date. I had a backpack and sleeping bag with me and I really wanted to see Jimi Hendrix, who was supposed to contest the final on Sunday evening. I also looked forward to seeing drummer Mitch Mitchell, who I was friends with. The members of the trio were already on the premises on Sunday morning. But because of the delays, they had to wait. They should have performed on Sunday evening, but the concert didn't start until 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

At that time, the majority of the people, completely exhausted, had left again. The big departure began on Sunday evening around 11 p.m. Many people from the New York area had to come back to work on Monday. They all missed something of the best: Jimi Hendrix was simply brilliant.

Fortunately, I was able to fly back with Hendrix in a helicopter afterwards. Let's get away. I was glad that I got through the festival in one piece and said to myself: Never again!

Conversely, it was impressive how more than 400,000 people lived together peacefully under the most adverse of circumstances, suffered and experienced superlative musical enjoyment. But it was also clear: That was the deathblow of the hippie era under the Love & Peace logo ”.