Staying clean at Woodstock

Water: The fountains of Rome (N.Y., that is) served as sources for drinks and make-shift showers.

July 26, 1999|By Tamara Ikenberg | Tamara Ikenberg,SUN STAFF

ROME, N.Y. -- So what if there's a cyber village? Who cares if there's an official credit card? What does it matter that TV crews are as plentiful as the pot?

At Woodstock '99, like Woodstock '69, they're getting filthy, hippie style.

Those wishing to maintain some level of hygiene during this extended weekend of sweat, dirt and baking sun had the numbers against them: 225,000 concert-goers, one single shower facility.

"I feel so dirty, I can't even deal with myself," said Sharon Bevacqua, 27, yesterday. The bikini-topped Bevacqua, from Cliffside Park, N.J., was lathering up at one of the many "venue comfort areas" located throughout the site.

Translated from official Woodstock-speak, "venue comfort areas" means waist-high cement tubs with water fountains surrounded by about a dozen portable toilets.

For those unwilling to brave the 20-minute waits and long walk (it was far from the main camp ground) to the showers, the fountain areas became the main sanitary option.

"What can we do?" asks Martina Mizerova, 23, from the Czech Republic, looking over a fountain area filled with bars of Irish Spring, shower gel, sponges, toothbrushes and baby wipes. "We don't have a choice."

Tammy Brevic, from Fridley, Minn., was scrubbing up over and around her clothing yesterday, her eyes red from the shampoo running down her forehead. "I feel so dead when I'm dirty," said Brevic, 24. "When I'm clean, I feel alive and springy."

By yesterday, the fountain areas weren't the most pleasant of sights. A mud moat had formed around one and Woodstockers were stepping cautiously across a fallen fence pole to get to it.

The garbage floating in the fountain puddles included pizza boxes, beer cans, dime baggies -- everything but the kitchen sink. Oh, wait, there was one, or at least something that looked like one, in a puddle at an East Stage campground.

And those were the ones that were still functional. Several water stations were shut down throughout the weekend to discourage mud combat. The station outside Kathryn Miracle's campsite, for example, was turned off Saturday morning.

"It wasn't a good thing to wake up to," said Miracle, 22 who lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. "I was like, `Are you serious?' "

The urge for cleanliness brought out the inner survivor in concert-goers.

One Woodstocker filled an empty watermelon shell with water, hoisted it over his head and baptized himself with the diluted watermelon juice. Others lap up the water like dehydrated farm animals.

Still, some concert-goers avoided going native. Like Sheri Gohr, for example.

Having just completed a fountain shower, Gohr, 24, looks like she just woke up from a posh slumber party. The Plymouth, Minn., resident is in a yellow tank top and shorts pajamas. Thin gold hoop earrings and diamond studs glisten from her ear. Her hair is neaty wrapped in a green terrycloth towel turban. There's a hint of blue eyeshadow on her lids. In her hand is a pink plastic cosmetic bag containing hair ties and a compact.

Only her long, acrylic nails had been Woodstocked. "They're green and slimy," she said. "And one of my diamonds came off."

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