1 - Welcome to the Party
to New York from Madison is a pain in the ass - I
will let you know that from the start (regardless
as to whether you care or not). However, after 14
hours of driving, 3 hours of gridlocked traffic into
the show, and an excruciating number of times hearing
Britney Spears and Smashmouth - we were in.
of the trademarks of Woodstock were already in full
effect by the time Jamiroquai began his set - mudfights
and topless women.
mudfights had already begun, as there was a broken
water main that someone managed to turn the water
flow on to. Amidst the mudslinging, and Jamiroquai
singing "You gotta get down", a wild-eyed
teenage boy had one question - "Where's the speed?"
Jamiroquai is rocking Woodstock with his own personal
style of funk - freestyling his lyrics during "Traveling
Without Moving" to include a repetition of the
chant for "more breasts" and including a
comment that "American breasts are the best breasts...
thank God for American breasts."
was at this time I realized that Woodstock was going
to be unlike anything I had ever experienced - something
beyond the farthest reaches of my imagination.
2 - It's My Party
The people of Woodstock '99
start this out by saying that the majority of the
media's portrayal of Woodstock is bunk.
of what we hear on the radio or see on the television
is that of people who either weren't there, or were
only onlookers, not participants.
what we see on ABC et al, we are given the idea that
Woodstock '99 was nothing but a bunch of good-for-nothing
spoiled brats only interested in causing trouble.
I may be blind to the faults of our youth, but from
what I could tell - people there were some of the
most polite I have ever experienced.
most concerts, there will be assholes everywhere you
look - pushing and shoving there way about, not giving
a f#$k about anyone but themselves. Woodstock was
different. The people there were quick to say "please"
and "thank you", as well as apologize if
they bumped into you and to say "excuse me"
when making their way through the crowd. All of this
was in the sweltering heat in a mass of near a quarter
few Concert-Goers make some art in the fence
out of plastic bottles.
festival of peace and love, maybe not... but this
was definitely a peaceful festival (riots will be
generation wishes to make their mark - and the Woodstock
generations are no exception. In 1969 people from
throughout the United States came together to celebrate
peace and love through music. There was no corporate
sponsor, no planning, no massive media hype. It was
Woodstock - the original - and nothing will ever come
'94 was famous for the mud and the rain storms. It
was a festival attempting to celebrate the magic that
came through in 1964, and with that they should have
realized it was an impossible task.
we have 1999 - the 30th Anniversary of Woodstock.
This time we had 3 more days of peace, love, and music
- or so we were told.
'99 was more of a three-day Lollapalooza than a celebration
of peace and love. This is the way it was promoted,
and this was the way it was run. The people today
aren't really fighting for anything in particular.
Sure, there are our causes of the day that seem to
take over a few people here and there for their short
attention spans, but nothing even close to as daunting
as the Vietnam War.
what the hell was Woodstock doing on an old Air Force
compassion, love of music, (and nudity, drugs, and
mud - but they are part of the Woodstock magic as
well) - these are what we had there.
everyone enjoyed him/herself.
vendors sold stuff at ungodly prices - like any other
concert these days.
bands made their money.
people still had fun.
had plenty of port-o-potties, with no toilet paper,
emanating the stench - all by our fancy free drinking
water (whoever had this brilliant idea should be shot).
The "mud" everyone saw and played in was
a combination of the drinking / washing water and
the tipped over port-o-potties that ran into the dirt
field. Diseases were sure to run rampant, and in fact,
I was forced to leave the festival early due to illness
- I am still sick as I write this - yeah it was all
planned out perfectly....
facilities provided for our bodies' liquid intake
and outtake systems - all in one!
the opposite side of the spectrum were the people
drumming on the trash cans - nonstop from 1:30 AM
Friday night throught the riots and fires and assumingly
to the end of the festival. The people like this are
the one who actually made the festival theirs.
we had the riots - the "big story" of Woodstock.
Whatever. This isn't what Woodstock '99 was. The riots
and fires were what a few people did at the very end
of the festival; a few hundred people out of nearly
a quarter million. And the media tried to make it
look like everything went to hell.
riots were the closest the festival ever came to being
true to the original Woodstock. For once there was
something that happened unplanned, unorganized, and
unsubsidized by corporations. With these fires the
corporations were out of the picture once again. The
concertgoers, the people who this festival was truly
meant for finally had control of it.
the most Woodstock-like event of the festival.
is not to say we should go around burning down corporations
and fighting out against the higher powers. It does
go to show that it is impossible to plan, organize,
and sponsor peace. There won't be peace without a
desire for it from the beginning - it can't be purchased
and love are maybe something of the past... but at
least we got to party like mad.
is our generation, and this was our Woodstock.
3 - A Celebration of Peace, Love, and Rock & Roll?
Yes, I would say it was a celebration of peace, love,
and rock 'n roll, despite the contrary belief of the
media. As announced on April 8, 1999, the three day
music festival would celebrate the 30th anniversary
of the original Woodstock, held at Mas Yasgur's 600-acre
dairy farm August 1969. Thirty years later, the 30th
anniversary music festival was held at Griffiss Park,
a 3,600 acre, decommissioned airforce base in Rome,
New York. Although much has changed over the thirty
years– especially with technology and the lack of
a major war– the festival still stood for peace and
August 1969, a festival official warned, "There are
a hell of a lot of us here. If we are going to make
it, you had better remember that the guy next to you
is your brother." Although there were only near half
the people at Woodstock 99 (approx. 250,000 in 1999,
500,000 in 1969), these words still rang true thirty
in my life have I ever been at a festival or concert
with such a kind and considerate mass of people. Granted,
there were the few hundred in the 250,000 attendees
that were less than kind, the great majority of music
fans at Griffiss Park were all about helping each
other keep away from the evil wrath of dehydration
and keep healthy, so everyone could have the chance
to take in the beautiful sounds around them.
people made their way through the crowds, you could
hear much respect as people were careful not to push,
shove, or step on anyone. The quarter-million people
converged at Griffiss Park July 23-25 were there for
one purpose: to enjoy the music. No one wanted to
hurt anyone, as the fine media would like everyone
to believe. People were always willing to share their
water and watch out for their "brothers and sisters".
Don't believe what you see on TV and read in the papers.
I was there and I can assure you that it wasn't a
weekend of mayhem, hate, and violence. Although, as
I read all these "horror stories" from Woodstock,
I can't help but wonder if I was just not paying attention
to such things, but I still would like to believe
that they didn't take place.
I tell people I went to Woodstock, the first two things
people ask me are if I ran around naked and if I partook
in the riots. My answer to both of them is no. Not
everyone there was naked, but there were still quite
a few breasts in view, and a few other body parts,
as well. As for the riots, we left before they even
broke out. (If you read Billy's review, you would
see he was ill, causing us to depart during Jewel's
I get these answers clear, I am asked what my favorite
part was. During The Offspring's set, the crowd began
to pick up the plastic water and soda bottles covering
the ground, tossing them into the clear blue sky above.
Aside from the fact it was pure garbage, seeing the
mass of bottles flying through the air overhead was
honestly one of the most breathtaking sights of my
life. The fact that I was hearing the Offspring play
at the same time, truly adds to the experience.
the Offspring was not my favorite act. Surpassing
the nineteen other acts I saw was The Chemical Brothers.
(Note: Had I stayed up late enough to see Moby at
1:30 Saturday morning, his show may very well have
been my favorite, as some of the best shows I have
ever seen have been his shows.) Playing on the West
Stage (the smaller of the two), the "brothers" Tom
Rowlands and Ed Simons put on an exceptional show.
Taking full advantage of the two video screens on
either side of the stage, The Chemical Brothers supplied
their audience with a brilliant visual display to
accompany their music. The combination of being at
the smaller of the stages and the same time as Metallica
was headlining the main stage 2.6 miles east. An all-time
highlight of the weekend was when it began to rain
during the Brothers' set. The song they were playing
sounded almost like "rain" being repeated over and
over. As the cool water began to fall from the sky,
the crowd lifted their arms up, almost as if in praise
to the gods in the heavens above.
main highlight for me was getting to meet Raine Maida
of Our Lady Peace. I've been a fan of the band for
awhile now and meeting him was quite exciting for
me. He was very kind as I requested a picture with
him. If I had to list the 10 best performances in
my opinion, they would be as follows:
2. Dave Matthews Band
3. Rage Against the Machine
4. The Offspring
6. The Roots
7. Fatboy Slim
8. Elvis Costello
10. Wyclef Jean and the Refugee Allstars