Officials Worried About Crowds Trying to Crash Woodstock ’94
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (AP) _ Organizers of Woodstock ’94 are taking extraordinary precautions to prevent waves of people from crashing the gates the way they did in ’69.
They may be swimming against a very strong tide.
″There will be like 10 million people trying to get in,″ said Dunn Eggink, a 14-year-old Woodstock resident who doesn’t want to buy a ticket to the Aug. 12-14 show. ″And I’m going to be leading them.″
Even a fraction of that number worries officials. The original Woodstock wasn’t a free concert but quickly became one when thousands streamed past overwhelmed security personnel, who simply gave up trying to collect tickets.
Promoters are trying to sell 250,000 tickets to the reunion concert on a farm in Saugerties, about two hours north of New York City.
″It’s the pilgrimage mentality - ‘Come and it will be a free concert.’ But that was 25 years ago,″ said State Police Capt. Gregory Sitler, in charge of the force’s Woodstock detail.
At this year’s concert, promoters will not allow anyone to enter on foot and are not selling tickets at the gate. Fans will be taken to the show from distant parking lots in shuttle buses.
Police will set up a traffic perimeter about two miles outside the concert site. Only locals with permits and authorized vehicles will be allowed in.
Virtually every tow truck operator in the area has been enlisted to remove cars abandoned by fans who try to reach the concert on foot. There’s room to impound 1,000 cars. Owners will have to pay about $100 to retrieve them.
Police, many of them on all-terrain vehicles or horseback, will patrol outside fences surrounding the site. A security force of 1,000 will be watching from the inside.
Contingency plans for mass arrests are in place, with buses and state prisons ready.
″Nobody wants to do all that,″ Sitler said. ″What you want to impress upon people is, ’Hey, you’re not welcome here. This is not a place to come up and hang out.‴
No one can say how many people will try to crash the gates, but there are indications a lot of people are at least considering it.
Jeremiah Mountford, a 16-year-old Woodstock resident, said he had recently visited friends on Long Island. None of them had bought tickets, but many were planning to come anyway, he said.
″There’s going to be so many people there, they’re just going to have to let everyone in,″ he said.
An informal survey conducted recently by Woodstock Online, a computer network spreading information about the festival, found that 61 of 154 people planned to come to the area without a ticket, said Peter Walther, the network’s operator.
Fans of the Grateful Dead have also been spreading fliers urging friends to show up without tickets, he said. The Dead are not scheduled to perform.