Part II: Mosquito Coast

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.


Thursday, July 22

Dear Diary,

Have you ever been in a Porta Potty in the middle of an Air Force runway at noon in near-100 degree heat?

I suppose I neglected to mention yesterday a striking feature of the concert site: the near complete absence of vegetation. Most of the ground surface is tarmac. There are virtually no trees but for a handful of withered pines in the immense camping area. It occurs to me that the 250,000-odd people that are not vendors, roadies, muscians, or other miscellaneous hangers-on will be deprived of all manner of shade for the next four days, other than that offered by the sauna-like Porta Pottys or tents.

Equally striking is the dearth of water available to the huddled masses. Within each of the Porta Potty cities are rudimentary sinks and faucets, but these are few and very, very far between. Amazing, given the number of people expected to show and the hostility of the environment. (One among us was heard to say, “People are gonna die.”)

Pray for rain.

Another profoundly irksome disappointment has been the so-called “beer gardens” which are, in fact, merely fenced-off compounds (within the greater fenced-off compound) monopolized by a single brew: Budweiser. Admittedly, we had grander hopes for beer consumption this weekend that went beyond the many permutations of increasingly bland Budweiser: Ice, Dry, Light, Extra-Dry, Mocha, Clear, and Vegan.

Later …

A thought: This place is like Kosovo, but with $8 cheesesteaks.

Regards,
Daddy


previous  next

Part I  Part II  Part III  Part IV  Part V

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.