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Rain Leaves Concertgoers Stranded, Furious At Upstate Hudson Project Festival

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SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A group of festival fans decided not to let the rain put a damper on their fun this past weekend, but wound up furious as the rain brought the music to a halt while leaving them stranded.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Monday, the rain left participants muddy, drenched and furious at The Hudson Project music festival in Saugerties, Ulster County — as they were told to stay in their tents.

“Last night, we thought we were all going to die, but it was cool,” said concertgoer Stephanie Rudis.

The festival went smoothly on Saturday, with performances by top-name acts such as the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse and Kendrick Lamar. Participants also enjoyed a Ferris wheel, campgrounds to accommodate thousands and tents with DJs spinning techno, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal report.

But late Sunday, thunder, lightning and rain turned The Hudson Project into a musical mudfest. A day later, the stragglers looked a little dazed as vehicles by the hundred had to be towed away.

“I’ve traveled to India three times, and it’s similar to what I’ve seen, like, in third-world countries – just filth, everywhere,” said Xavier Caban, of Lake Katrine in Ulster County.

The music stopped when the rain began pouring, but the campers who had flocked to the festival were stuck where they were.

“They gave us a big warning, and they were like, ‘You’re going to stay in your tents because it’s a massive rain.’ And then they stopped all the music and everything, and they just stole a day from us,” said concertgoer Scotto Scott.

Twenty years ago, the same site – at the Winston Farm at Routes 32 and 212 in Saugerties – hosted the Woodstock ’94 festival.

The crowd for the Woodstock ’94 festival was 10 times the size of the one at The Hudson Project this past weekend, but there was comparative minimal onsite security.

Heavy rain also came down during the 1994 festival – and the mud became part of the legend as the music went right on. Trent Reznor and his fellow Nine Inch Nails members themselves wrestled in the mud before they played, while members of Green Day infamously got into a mud fight with members of the crowd.

And of course, the torrential rain at the original Woodstock Festival – held in Bethel, Sullivan County in 1969 – and the scenes of fans rolling on the ground covered in mud – have become icons of American history.

But concertgoers at The Hudson Project were not drawing any comparisons to either of the historic festivals.

“We paid all this money to come and party, and they’re going to just leave us stranded with no food,” said concertgoer Alexis Wojeck. “Look this place – this is a wreck.”

Police said some people were arrested at the festival, but there were no serious problems.

“Individuals that we arrested, and that we encountered and came into contact with, were very polite,” said Saugerties police Chief Joseph Sinagra. “On several occasions apologized to the police because we had to do our job.”

Concert officials said the festival attracted about 20,000 fans a day to see about 85 different music acts.

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