Memories of Woodstock, the rock-'n'-roll festival he helped create, haunt Artie Kornfeld still: the cops opening fire on the crowd of stunned hippies, body parts flying everywhere, the dying screams of musicians as the stage burst into flames, the rapes and the looting of the dead.
Of course, that Woodstock only happened in Kornfeld's raving, mushroom-besotted brain, a hellish daylong hallucination triggered by a dose of psilocybin. Only a countervailing shot of Thorazine administered by festival doctors enabled him to stagger out to the edge of the stage to see the transcendent climax of Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix's soaring sunrise performance of The Star-Spangled Banner.
``There were a lot of good trips at Woodstock, but there were some bad ones, too,'' admits Kornfeld, sprawled comfortably across a couch in a gated Delray Beach subdivision a thousand miles and more light-years away from the mud and the dope and the music and the wonder of Woodstock.
As the 40th anniversary of the festival begins Saturday, Woodstock remains a mythic touchstone for both everybody who loved the 1960s and everybody who hated them: three days of rampant drug abuse, outdoor sex and loud rock 'n' roll, all blissfully free of adult supervision. Read my full story on memories of Woodstock in Thursday's Miami Herald. And here's an enjoyable report from Herald radio partner WLRN with some interesting observations from the festival's attorney, Miles Lourie. Not to mention comments from some obscure Herald guy.