Woodstock goes down in flames. Tractor-trailers burn; medics flee blazes”
Medical personnel abandoned burned concertgoers and state police in riot gear moved into Woodstock as what started out as the concert of peace and love turned into chaos late Sunday night.
The crowd near the Emerging Artist Stage at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome was throwing bottle rockets — like molotov cocktails — at state police shortly after 1 a.m. today, ready to charge them.
Police had their batons out but were not using them, instead trying to push the people back toward the western gate. Buses were waiting to evacuate people.
Starting shortly after 11 p.m., 17 fires were burning in the area of East Stage, explosions could be heard, 12 tractor-trailers were on fire, and a light tower was burning after concertgoers pulled it down. About 100 troopers marched in with riot gear on and batons out at the concert site. A woman danced naked to the beat of steel drums as the troopers, escorting 22 firetrucks and cars, tried to keep the crowd away.
“It’s like the Alamo, ” said one fleeing medical worker who declined to give his name. “We’re not staying.”
Huge sections of the 12-foot plywood wall that surrounded the concert site were toppled, the metal braces that supported the wall torn from their concrete moorings. Much of the wall, decorated with colorful murals, was flat in the parking lot, the braces jutting up in the air like a twisted forest of metal.
In the campgrounds, some trees seemed to be on fire, as campers lit the toilet paper strips that had been thrown into the trees earlier. Several bonfires consisting of beer cans, wooden flag poles and other assorted trash were set throughout the campgrounds. People were dragging tables and trash barrels and throwing them on to the fires as large crowds of people were leaving.