8/18/69 - Is it finally over?
- What had been scheduled as a three-day (Friday - Sunday August 15-17) festival continues well into the morning of Monday, August 18 due to the numerous rain delays and technical glitches.
- A mass exodus begins when a thunderstorm delays the proceedings (yet again) at about 5:00 p.m. Sunday. An estimated 35,000 stay through the end of the final performance, which begins at 9:00 a.m. Monday.
- Performing after the last weather delay, beginning at about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday: Country Joe and The Fish, Ten Years After, The Band. Beginning at about midnight, Monday performers included Johnny Winter, Blood Sweat & Tears, CSNY, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sha-Na-Na and Jimi Hendrix.
- As the festival ends, estimates of the number of people who attended vary widely. The state police estimate is 450,000, a figure frequently rounded to half a million. A newspaper editor on the scene claimed the total was probably closer to 150,000, but a Bethel historian says it's actually closer to 700,000. Due to the lack of an adequate ticket selling and collecting system, we'll never know for sure.
- When they tally it all up, festival organizers figure they are $1.3-million in debt, with expenses more than 300% over budget and most attendees getting in without having paid for a ticket.
- More than 5,000 people required medical treatment during the festival. Of that total, about 800 involved drug use. There are eight miscarriages reported.
- It takes $100,000 and several days to clean up the site. Workers bulldoze tons of trash and debris into a pit and burn it.
Jimi Hendrix photo © Henry Diltz, courtesy Rhino Entertainment; muddy trash photo by Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell