(Reuters) - Jason Stone played hooky from summer camp and tripped on LSD-spiked watermelon, Graham Nash was so high his memories of performing are hazy, and Robin Naylor, at 15, saw her first naked man. Stone, Nash and Naylor were just a handful of the more than 450,000 people who attended, or performed at, Woodstock in 1969, and each has a different story to tell as the music festival that defined an era marks its 50th anniversary this week.
Here are highlights of some of them: Jason Stone was 17 and had a summer job as a camp counselor in upstate New York when he and a friend decided to take off, without permission, and hitch a ride to the festival. “We didn’t have a tent, we didn’t have any equipment, we didn’t have anything but the clothes on our back.
A few dollars in our pocket,” he recalled. They ran into someone they know, and shared a small tent, where they were offered some watermelon. “Little did I know that this watermelon was injected at some time before we got there with LSD, and that we were about to experience something pretty intense,” Stone said.
Stone lost his job at the summer camp, but the festival had given him a taste for the music business. After many years working at concert promoters Live Nation he now has his own company which helps arrange concerts at the original Woodstock festival site in Bethel Woods, New York. “I knew after Woodstock that (after) the experience I had there, I wanted to be in the music business and wanted to be part of what Woodstock was,” he said.
——- Woodstock marked only the second live public performance by folk rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash, who opened their set with their acoustic, close harmony hit single “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Nash remembers flying into Woodstock by helicopter after dark. “Thousands and thousands of people.
Rain. Mud. Candles. People. Murmuring. Sound. It was unbelievable,” he said. “The size of something like Woodstock - things get very hazy. They get very hazy if you’re straight. They get incredibly hazy if you were high. And that’s what we were so I have very few memories of interaction backstage,” Nash added.
While waiting to perform, the band was less concerned about the vast audience than the reaction of their peers and “all of the people we loved standing on the side of the stage wondering whether this new band, Crosby, Stills and Nash, could do what their record was. How are they gonna do this live, you know?”
Attendees watch performing artists at the Woodstock Music Festival in August 1969, Bethel, New York, U.
S. in this handout image. James Sarles/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS.—— William Ellsworth was a 20-year-old volunteer mounted police officer on his first big detail. “Nobody gave us a hard time, really. Nobody was antagonistic or anything like that. It wasn’t a hostile crowd by any means.
. They were there for the music,.....