Woodstock News

Associated Press

SAUGERTIES, N.Y. -- Woodstock '94 hit like a tie-dyed tidal wave, bringing about 350,000 revelers to the little Hudson Valley town of Saugerties, N.Y., grooving in Aquarian bliss and moshing in mud pits.

When the wave receded, the 25th anniversary concert left Saugerties with a pot of money, a pile of garbage, and -- for some -- lingering resentment.

That resentment is emerging now that promoters are trying to follow through with a multiday 30th anniversary Woodstock '99 festival in July. Some don't want the hassle of hosting a city-sized crowd again. And they don't want another giant muddy mess left behind.

Some residents have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile, the town board and concert promoters have hit snags in negotiations over money. It's unclear whether Saugerties will host the concert.

"There is a possibility that it's going elsewhere," said Ilene Marder, a spokeswoman for the promoters.

Saugerties Town Supervisor James Griffis said support for the concert runs about 50-50 locally. The concert-driven economic boom in August 1994 and the town's $832,000 cut of proceeds from the three-day show helped build a new town hall.

Many welcome a repeat bonanza with open arms. But not all think it's worth the hassle.

One of the most vocal opponents is First Baptist Church Pastor Thaddeus Dragula, who said the last concert trampled on the constitutional rights of the townspeople. He said his flock could not go to church that Sunday without presenting a pass at a "checkpoint Charlie."

Marder notes that the state described the crowd as "peaceful and convivial. She said about 900 people have signed pro-Woodstock '99 petitions and claims opponents are merely a vocal minority.

Dragula disputes that contention and said his group will sue if the town grants a permit.

The town demands that promoters place $150,000 in escrow for expected expenses. Promoters have balked, but Griffis said the majority of the board could agree to take less money upfront -- $25,000.

Another possible site is the abandoned Griffiss Air Force base in Rome, in central New York, where officials have been receptive to hosting the concert. No acts have been booked for the proposed event.

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