Michael Bobot (english)

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Thanks for keeping these memories alive.

I was there. It might have been the best 3 days plus of my young life. It was all about the music for me. I was 20 yrs. old, living in Isla Verde, PR with my cousin. There were no FM rock stations then, no cable TV, so when this opportunity came up I wasn’t going to be denied. I was literally starving for the music. There was a rumor that John Lennon, my hero, was going to perform and that was enough for me. I told my cousin I was going and he thought I was crazy. Where will you sleep, eat, shower, what if something happens to you, how will I know? He was of a different era and didn’t understand how I could just go somewhere for 3 days with just money in my pocket and the clothes on my back. But I was going. I jumped into a taxi and he got me as close as he could and I walked the rest of the way in.

When I arrived people were busy setting up their tents. Everyone I met was so excited at what was about to happen. It was a beautiful site right on the beach, plenty of palm trees and shimmering blue waters. I stopped and helped anyone that looked like they may have needed my help. It was a good way to meet people and also I needed to score a place to sleep. I met 3 people from Boston and I helped them set up their camp. They invited me to stay and I did. We all had the same motivation, the music.

As the festival unfolded we knew there was bad stuff happening around us, people getting beaten and robbed, drownings from bad rip currents, toxic LSD and sunburns like you can’t believe. But the 4 of us lived in front of the stage and when the music stopped, we would literally crawl back to the tent. I don’t remember the 4 of us needing anything.

THE MUSIC. I can’t be sure of the sequence but some of the music and acts are still vivid in my mind.

It has been mentioned that the Allman Brothers’ organ was lost in transit. What a feeling it was to look up and see a helicopter with an organ hanging from it. It was dropped onto the stage and they played and killed for hours. I was not a fan of Alice Cooper till I saw him in concert at Mar y Sol. I think I was more amazed at the crowd reaction then the actual show but they could rock. I remember this chill going over me when Alice hung himself. He also did the throwing money bit into the crowd and watching people scramble for it was pretty funny. The Emerson, Lake & Palmer set was mesmerizing. Their music seemed to go well with the tropical surroundings. Some confusion in my mind on this one, Rod Stewart / Faces followed either Alice Cooper or ELP. The Faces came out they couldn’t get the crowd into them. I was up close and it was fun watching the Rod & Ron show, trying to make something happen, but only getting more frustrated as they went along. During the day acts like Dave Brubeck, Herbie Mann and John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra played. It helped to keep our minds off the relentless sun. It’s funny because I can’t remember which days any of them played, but I do remember if it was day or night. The last day of the festival a buzz was going through the crowd. Will John Lennon be performing? I remember it being very early in the morning when the recording was played. It was John Lennon apologizing to us for not being there. At the time he was still fighting extradition from the US. There were many negative things attached to this festival and he felt it might hurt his case. Elephants Memory Band played but it was a non event. R.I.P John Lennon.

The party was over or at least I thought it was. I have no idea how I got home. I had no idea what was going on till I read the newspaper the next day. There were 20,000 people stranded at the airport. I had to go back to work but as soon as I finished my shift, I jumped in a taxi and headed to the airport to be with all my new friends. I don’t think anybody wanted it to end. I’d always bring some food, wine and beer with me and share with anyone who needed. Some people had no money and no idea when they would be able to get home. I’d take people back to my room to shower and while they cooled off, I’d wash and dry their clothes. It was a mess but most seemed to deal with it pretty well. Somebody set up a makeshift stage and the 2nd night, I think, Elephants Memory Band did a very long set. It was crazy, all this going on with the planes coming and going. Eventually the crowds thinned as the airlines got people home but it’s a memory I’ll never ever forget.

Michael Bobot
Boca Raton, FL.