That Aquarian Exposition
"We Are One" 

From The East Village Other, August 20th, 1969

The following report is from the August 20, 1969 issue of the East Village Other, an underground paper published 1967-71 in New York's Lower East Side and was written by staff writer John "The Swede" Hilgerdt.  - GW 
~ Jaakov [EVO editor Jaakov Kohn]... all I can say is that this has been the highest trip ever. We're too high and in such a different place. There are many, many stories still in all of us, but you'll just have to wait for them. Too hard to sort out and describe right now. We all want all our families and friends to be here and secretly hoped every head in the world would join us. The regular music thing is nice, but straight. The Hog Farm is just too much. We are home and at peace with each other and ourselves. I think you will find we have changed and grown. I don't want to leave, but I guess we must. The only thing is, how can I come back and do the old things? This is how we should live. Can we?---------- Peace - John 

    It is nearly impossible to put into words what has happened here at White Lake. For the first time I feel free and we are really together. It so peaceful and loving here that I (and many, many others) don't want to leave. 
    All of the beautiful heads are here and the vibes are incredibly peaceful. By my second day here (the first day, Friday, we were mostly too tired to get into very much) I was on a trip and haven't stopped tripping ... without acid! There is a lot of dope around (the only major shortage is tobacco-cigarettes are at a premium and are widely shared). But while dope is groovy, it isn't an absolute necessity-you always feel high. While there are people camping all over-in the woods and meadows-there are basically two scenes here, the performance area and the Hog Farm/Movement City site. The performance area is usually crowded with people, maybe fifty to seventy thousand at a time, sitting and lying in a natural "bowl," digging the sounds of all the starred groups, which have been playing all night (Airplane was dug by many at 6:30 Sunday morning). Two roads run along the sides of this area and they are clogged with 'endless streams of people pouring into the site and moving from one place to another, mostly trudging with loads of blankets and tents and sleeping bags. All vehicles coming to and going from the area also use these roads. After a while, you want nothing ever to do again with cars and trucks, they're nothing but a drag. Up there are the underground paper peddlers, ice cream trucks, a hill of food and drink and cigarette concessions (first you stand in line to get a ticket and then in another line to buy your shit, for a while in a thin sea of mud). It doesn't take you long to find all of this a drag, even with the better musicians on stage. Not the music, but the scene. Many are calling that side of the hill "the glob." 
    On the other side of the hill, separated by a small wood where all the head shops are located and where dope is openly dealt along the paths, lies Movement City/Hog Farm. We'll call it Hog Farm, if only because Hog Farm was probably most responsible for the fantastic scene there. They established very good vibes, had plenty of food (the lines were sometimes long, but usually moved quickly), good food and were really together. 
   Just walking around Hog Farm is an incredible trip. A few thousand of the absolutely most together and peaceful and loving and beautiful heads in the world are .gathered in a grand tribal new beginning.. This meadow, which drops off to a steep slope (at the bottom is our stage), has become a gypsy camp of heads. All the petty bullshit things that before kept us apart vanished and for the first time we were free. The high point for me, thus far, was an unbelievable performance by The Quarry, an outasite group of very heavy musicians, Saturday night. I've never before felt such electricity as on this hillside when they played that night. 
    They laid down not only some of the heaviest music, but a message that was so then and there that it was incredible and uncanny. I can't remember the words; it was such, a far up trip that I was riding the waves and was very, very stoned. The cat on drums, he is so far out (far in, he said last night). A fine and very heavy musician, he, also laid down the most together rap as he beat his drums in a orgy of pleasure and love. He said it so fine, too. Doing a gross injustice to his thing, it was basically telling all of us that we had been reborn into a world of love and that the most fantastic possibility lay before us. Here we were, all (well, many are sadly missing) the beautiful heads in a giant gypsy camp-that just seems; the most appropriate description-groovin' so fine together. No 'paranoia, no hassles, no busts, virtually no -.selfishness (and even when it appeared the person learned from it and let- themselves be guided by love), the cleanest grounds on the farm, everyone strolling around, visiting campfires, turning each other on, just, stopping and rapping freely with anyone that happened to be around with all the bullshit and barriers gone, sharing food and smoke and water and love. Everyone was grooving.  
    But even so, the "possibility" on Sunday  lies as remote, almost, as before. Everyone dug the Quarry's rap, but it was never carried to it's ultimate level. What was (is!) the "possibility?" To many, it was that we could just stay put and live like this, altogether with our friends, our brothers and sisters, forever. The idea just griped your mind and didn't let go. Stay. Why not.' Get the word out to our families and friends to come, with food and dope and cigarettes. Why not? All the facilities-housing, electricity, kitchens, water supply-are already here. So many groovy heads are here that we could certainly figure out a way to survive. A head concentration camp. "They" wouldn't have to worry about "us" anymore and "we" wouldn't have to worry - about "them" anymore. Total absence of government and authority and business and cars and all that other shit. 
    But, as of tonight, Sunday, the manage was not believed or understood by enough people, and it's coming apart. Bonfires have been lit to bum left-over underground papers and various structures. The stage is being torn down. People are trying to figure out how to get home, and it's much quieter than Saturday night. 
    The Quarry was interrupted Saturday before they actually came out and said what shouldn't have had to have been said; that is, for us to stay. A spade cat from Port Washington joined the Quarry and tried to tell us what was on his mind. He was a fairly good singer, with just a little to much of the performer in him, and he really wanted to tell us about the "real love" that was with us and with him. But, he somehow never quite got his thing above a certain level and it wasn't too long before the Quarry, and particularly the drummer, got into a thing with him, which in its own way was beautiful to see and hear too, ending with the drummer spitting and everything going downhill and eventually falling apart. The Hare Krishna boys got up and chanted, bringing most everyone down from the super-high place we had been. It was a drag, the Quarry had laid out some beautiful music and beautiful rap. 
    The camp was always beautifully together, though. At night, it looked like a huge band of medieval gypsies strolling and visiting and finally doing their thing. Drums almost constantly throbbing and flutists piping amongst the camps sites. Like a super be-in, a live-in, real freedom. Wow! 
    There were crowds at times, but it was never crowded. We were all in the same family. This is not to say that the blob, as it was also known, on the other side of the hill was bad, because it wasn't. It too was peaceful and groovy, but it was a different place. (I assume others will report the action there). In the woods, dealers gathered under the trees, a bunch under one tree like the history books tell you the stock market got started in NY, selling whatever you wanted: grass (fairly good stuff available at $15/oz.), acid and mescaline (usually at $4 a cap), and other goodies for the head. Lots of dope was brought and spread around from people all over the country. Tents had signs in front advertising acid and such for sale. Too much. Sure, there was some bad shit around and some bum trips were had, but mostly it was ok. But, with dope everywhere, everybody got stoned. 
    There is a feeling, though, that somehow it couldn't happen again. The Hog Farm scene was a result of big bread being dumped into an immense venture, but next time nobody will buy tickets (tickets were completely unnecessary once you got here). The ticket sales made it all possible and next time everybody would come much better prepared and wouldn't need the concessions for food and drink (didn't need them anyway over at the Hog Farm). That realization, too, was part of the message. Stay and do it now or forever (well, we hope not) be banned to that world on the outside, the world of power and pigs, of money and foul air, separate and apart again from each other. But maybe, just maybe, it will be a new beginning for us despite our walking away from the most beautiful experience many ever had. A lot of friends were made and positive proof that our numbers are legion was everywhere evident. We now know we can live together as we had only done previously in our fantasies. No one will leave here the same person that existed before. For a few days we were all in a beautiful place. Can we do it again? All I know is I don't want to leave here. I feel like I've come home. - John

Disclaimer: The above story was written by an EVO staffer presumably as a work-for-hire. Attempts to locate the copyright holder(s) of this work to obtain permission for its use have been unsuccessful.  - G.W.


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