Woodstock Forever

Photo by Jordon Conner on Unsplash

Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 was a cultural landmark. Equal amounts of loud music, free .. everything and probably not nearly enough port-a pottys . Despite underestimating the number of attendees drastically (planning for 50,00 people while 400,00 decided to show up) they handled the expected prevalence of drug issues with professionalism and care.

With teamwork and service,

The following is from jems.com.com. The point is to highlight the way they utilized the experience of existing patients to help new paitnets – in the moment. That’s the point. In any relationship. To be in the moment. To respond in the moment with your best self. To cause in others belief in the relationship.


The handling of drug cases proved particularly effective. Abruzzi reported 797 cases of “bad trips” that required care. But of those cases, only 72 were seen by a doctor, and only 28 were treated with medications. The vast majority responded to supportive therapy alone.

Woodstock promoters had hired 85 members of a commune known as the “Hog Farm” based on their experience running “trip tents” at other festivals. The Hog Farmers had developed a methodical approach to LSD freakouts. They advised against the use of Thorazine and instead recommended “talking down” patients experiencing a bad trip.

This method included talking quietly with patients, assuring them that they weren’t going crazy and that the effects of the drug would soon wear off. They tried to get “trippers” to connect to reality, orient themselves and relax. 

When a few hours had passed and patients had calmed down, they were recruited to help others with similar problems cope with the drug experience. This responsibility steadied the original patient and provided the manpower needed for the lengthy process of talking others down.

The technique worked, and the medical providers began to refer LSD trippers directly to the Hog Farmers. They adopted the technique themselves. “We would sit there and talk to the kids and hold their hands,” Frances Marks, RN, remembered.
“We got our philosophy into the doctors’ heads, and they started treating people like we were treating people,” remembered Hog Farmer Tom Law.2

At the same time, the Hog Farmers were savvy enough to quickly refer more serious drug cases—particularly overdoses of heroin or amphetamines—to medical personnel. Injectable Valium (diazepam) was the standard treatment at the festival for LSD or amphetamine users who couldn’t be talked down.

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