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Letters

For nearby community, Woodstock wasn’t stardust or golden — it was a state of emergency

An overhead view of the crowd at the Woodstock Music Festival Aug. 17, 1969.
An overhead view of the crowd at the Woodstock Music Festival Aug. 17, 1969.(Daniel Wolf/Globe Staff/File)

Your paean to peace and love at Woodstock (“Director of new Woodstock documentary returns to a moment of genuine peace and love,” Sunday Arts, Aug. 4) didn’t fully capture the muddle created by this upstate “miracle.”

My husband Joe Garlick was the mayor of Monticello, N.Y., near Bethel, and for us it was three days of no sleep, no peace, and very little music. Three days of Vietnam-like helicopter landings at the emergency hospital we had set up at the local high school to treat the sick and injured — kids who had overdosed on hard drugs and bad acid, kids who had cut the bottom of their shoeless feet on tin cans.

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After an announcement on the local radio station WVOS that the situation at Bethel was desperate, thousands of dollars’ worth of food was delivered to the Monticello Jewish Community Center by local Catskills hotels — the Concord, Grossinger’s, Kutsher’s, the Harmony — because they had heard that the “kids” were hungry. Local doctors and nurses from a 50-mile radius were helicoptered in to the festival site with food and medicine. Firefighters, local police, and state troopers worked without sleep to keep the blocked roads to Bethel open so that emergency vehicles could get through.

I hope that these aspects of the so-called Woodstock miracle are covered in the documentary.

Anita B. Garlick

Brookline