Part III: Why are We Here?

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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Friday, July 23

Dear Diary,

The trash, which apparently was supposed to be picked up every four hours, has been merely reorganized once during our visit thus far.

The mounds of trash surrounding us might present problems of sanitation if there were flies or birds, but curiously there are none. Well, there are a few, but not the legions of scavengers one might expect. The prevailing rumor coming out of the security forces (to which Mom has buddied up) is that the soil here is so toxic that it is nearly uninhabitable by any manner of florae or faunae. This doesn’t seem unreasonable, given the former nature of the site (an Air Force base). I’ll have to remember to get a soil sample.

This place and its denizens grow increasingly desperate. I ventured down to the east stage last night during Korn’s set and got behind the lines. The scene in front of the stage was amazing: tens of thousands of people cheek to cheek, dancing in unison, bathed in light and music. Very exciting. Then I went to the first-aid tent. I don’t want to describe what I saw there, for much the same reason I don’t want to describe the conditions inside the public toilets.

As I left, I passed by the scene of a recent mud battle. I’d seen people walking around coated from head to foot in mud and wondered where they’d come from. This was apparently the place — and sadly, it was also the site of another Porta Potty maze. Porta Pottys were covered in mud, tipped over, and people were standing in the middle of the melee, some completely naked, urinating. As I walked back, I saw hundreds of people who had completely given up on looking for shelter or comfort and lay sprawled out on the tarmac with vacant looks upon their faces. Those imprisoned within the beer garden, waded through knee deep piles of plastic cups, screaming angrily and rattling the chain link fence.

Despite my cynicism about the fair itself, the people who we have met can only be described as pretty cool. Despite the price gouging and the lack of any humane facilities, people remain in good spirits and are eager to talk. I was skeptical, expecting lots of frat boys and angry drunks (and there are those), but for the most part, people have been laid back and very engaging. We’ve made many friends.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) people two booths over can just go to hell. While music from the west stage usually drowns out everything, during the brief breaks the only other sounds we here are the screams of a sow as its a) legs are broken; b) it is sodomized with a steel bar; and c) its head is crushed with a cinder block (blessedly ending the screams) coming from PETA’s “don’t eat bacon or any other meat products, you heartless sons of bitches” video. James Cromwell (of “Babe” fame) narrates. Rather than making me sympathetic to their cause, it makes me desperate to find a pound of bacon and run up to them with grease dripping down my chin, moaning, “Oh, yeah, oh oh yeah, I love mmmmfffffmh.”

Dad


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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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