These records from the New York State Department of Health Commissioner's Office, document State government’s response to the health and sanitation services provided at the Woodstock Festival. In July 1969 prior to the festival, Woodstock Ventures (the festival promoters) met with a sanitary engineer from the Department of Health, the Sullivan county sheriff, New York State Police, and staff from the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Woodstock Ventures provided a preliminary plan for security, health, sanitation, food and transportation for a daily attendance of 50,000 people. The final plan was approved on August 8.
The festival attracted over 400,000 daily. In the aftermath, state officials examined the delivery of services during the festival and analyzed how the activities were handled. Officials expressed particular concern about provision of medical treatment, water supply, sewage disposal, garbage disposal, utilities and food supply.
The records describe specific aspects of health and sanitation services in great detail with some surprising touches of humor. The Memorandum about health measures commends the festival goers for being “friendly, generous and unflappable to an extreme matched only by their appearance”. The Environmental Health and Emergency Medical Services Report gives a detailed list of medical cases requiring treatment, including 1 raccoon bite, 38 cases of sunburn, and numerous drug-related issues.
The Department of the Health responded to the problems identified by drafting revisions to health and safety standards. This response resulted in an amendment to section 225 of the Public Health Law, providing that permits must be obtained by sponsors of mass gatherings and specifying standards of services to be delivered.
Following the new legislation, the New York State Department of Health published a pamphlet entitled "Operate a Safe Fair". The pamphlet advises event organizers on the requirements for permits, emergency medical services, water supply, sewage disposal, food service, refuse collection, provision of gas and electric – all the areas that had caused concern at the Woodstock Festival.