Last Minute Preparations
Wednesday or Thursday before the festival opened - The Ave - at stage right
County and State officials met and consolidated their plans to deal with the festival. It was clear that no permit would be applied for, but a large number of people would soon be arriving. Opinion had been expressed in the paper that perhaps a festival here would not be such a bad thing since it would draw demonstrators away from nearby Portland and the American Legion people. The ordinance could not be enforced until more than 1,000 people had assembled but Clark County had only 35 people available to enforce it. It was felt by the county officials that they should not be the ones to initiate violence, and a rock festival would be preferable to a bloodbath. Law enforcement officers would be used to patrol the boundaries of the site and try to contain the situation. Undercover officers would work the site but uniformed officers would remain on the perimeter.
Some local citizens felt that perhaps the state's National Guard should have been used to stop the festival. But the Guard's policy was to be used as a peace keeping force only in last resort.
Dr. Donald Champaign , district health officer for Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties, having read about the festival in the paper, visited the site Wednesday (Aug.26th), in an effort to establish minimum health standards. People had begun to arrive and he estimated around 300 had gathered at the time of his visit. He reviewed some of the requirements with festival officials and felt that they were eager to comply as best they could. A quick inspection of the site revealed that the major problem would be limitation on parking places.
Activities at the site now included the setting up of tents, cooking food, digging trenches with a backhoe, setting up more scaffolding , organizing the parking area, and directing traffic at the entrance. Advance tickets for the first weekend were $11.00, $9.00 during the week, and $6.50 for the last weekend.
"We don't feel right stopping anybody from coming in", Ric Alba said." If they don't have the full price, we ask for part of it. If they don't have any money at all, we have them work on the grounds to pay for their admission. And ,of course, a large number would walk right through the gate or in the back ways and we don't catch them", he added.
The steady but relaxed pace of Wednesday picked up considerably on Thursday. By this time 1,500 to 2,000 persons had gathered. Volunteers were constructing a row of concession stands and a field hospital out of the old barn siding and a metal and plastic swimming pool with 18,000 gallon capacity was set up as a water resevoir. An officious little one armed man named Robert Harris ( no relation to the county assistant prosecutor) announced that he and someone named Joe would be manning the KVAN radio controls during the festival. "We already paid for the time", Harris said, "and will be broadcasting live from Sky River for the first 11 days from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.