Soaked and bedraggled, Joe Iannotti towed his belongings in a cart, with his wife and two daughters following in single file up the muddy road to freedom.
"I feel like a refugee," said Iannotti of New York's Long Island, as he and his family blew off the last day of Woodstock '94 because of heavy rain. "We just want to get out of here before the rest of these maniacs."The Iannottis were among thousands of early departees. People streaming out said the rain, crowds that swelled to an estimated 350,000, foul conditions at portable toilets and just plain exhaustion made them pack it in.
One man, his bare legs slick with mud and his backpack dripping water, reached a festival exit, turned around and raised his arms, then declared to no one in particular:
"I'm out of here!"
Rain fell intermittently on Saturday, then came down heavily Sunday, turning the farm into a mudhole like the one at Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, 55 miles southwest, where Woodstock '69 was also held on a rainy weekend.
"It's turned into a landslide," said Iannotti's wife, Pat.
The rain gladdened state police eager to get people out of the concert speedily. The more early departures there are, the easier it will be to clear the site, which could take till Monday night or early Tuesday, said Lt. Col. James O'Donnell.
Paul Sandella hit the road back to New Haven, Conn., Sunday morning. He said the rain spoiled his Woodstock high point, Aerosmith, which was to be Saturday's closing act. The concert was hours behind schedule, and as soon as the band took the main stage early Sunday, the skies opened and the deluge began.