The Woodstock Music & Arts Festival took place in 1969 on the famous property known as Max Yasgur’s farm, which was part of the rolling hillsides of the Hudson Valley. Almost 46 years later, the same farmland is now known as the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Over this past Memorial Day weekend, a festival called Mysteryland USA brought a new generation of music lovers to the grounds. The crowd was much smaller than in 1969; the weather was too cold for many to camp out, and some of the revelers ended up with felony drug charges lodged against them by the New York State Police.
The outdoor electronic music festival hosted about 17,500 young people over the age of 21. Although the festival’s organizers stated publicly that drugs were not allowed, the warnings were not totally obeyed. It appears that the festival may be compared to a giant outdoor rave party, with colorful stage backgrounds and music groups sporting an electronic motif.
There have been difficulties with some similar events in the past, and last year an electronic event in New York City was marred by a person’s death from an apparent overdose of the drug ecstasy. In that light, New York State Police issued public warnings to the Mysteryland festival attendees to come without drugs. But by Friday night, state police announced several people had been arrested on drug charges — some of those charges were felonies.
Drugs involved included marijuana, ketamine, cocaine, PCP and hallucinogens. Subsequent news reports on Saturday and Sunday indicated that several more drug charges were brought during the remainder of the weekend. Police were reported to be confiscating drugs from cars at checkpoints going into the property, which may be a questionable procedure depending on the precise facts. Those arrested on serious felony drug charges will benefit by taking the matter seriously, and it would be in their best interest to consult immediately with criminal defense counsel to take steps to maximize any defenses available and to attempt to minimize any long-term damage to their future.
Source: recordonline.com, “Chill in the air no match for hot music at Mysteryland festival”, James Nani, May 24, 2015