My Woodstock '99 Experience
The following is from a journal I kept while attending Woodstock '99.
7/22/99 - Woodstock, Day Zero - I left my house with Brian (1) and Brian (2) at 8:15 p.m. The trip was uneventful until hitting traffic on I-90 around exit 31. The jam lasted approximately 45 minutes, and then cleared after a toll.
The next traffic jam was in Rome, NY and was much longer. It lasted the remainder of the way to Griffiss Park. Brian (2) managed to sleep until this point, the lucky bastard! Most of the people seem excited to be going to Woodstock. Guys have signs on their cars encouraging the girls to show their breasts, and some are! People are walking along side the cars to stretch their legs or go to the bathroom.
During the traffic in Griffiss Park, we joined a trend of taking road cones and placing them on our car's roof and hood. Brian (1) created a little excitement by bumping a car ahead of us while trying to prevent another car from cutting into our lane (from an illegal lane). No damage was done and the other car couldn't get in!
We finally parked around 3:00 am and proceeded to hike over a mile to the entrance gates. The lines were long and slow due to spot checks for alcohol and weapons. Brian (1) returned to the car to lock up a cot we didn't think would make it through the checkpoints due to its large metal poles. It was now 3:40 am.
As soon as Brian (1) left, the crowd rushed the gate. This shortened the line dramatically. Unfortunately, Brian (1) had trouble finding the car and didn't return until nearly 5:00 am.
We quickly passed through the gate and searched for a camp site. The sea of tents was amazing! Over 200,000 people all camping in the same area! Locating a free spot was not easy.
After locating some free real estate between some tents, we quickly set up our tent and turned in for the "night." The sun was rising, it was now 6:00 am and we were just getting to bed... what a day!
7/23/00 - Woodstock, Day One - I didn't sleep much last night and woke up after a restless night's sleep around 8:30 am. I immediately began searching for the bathrooms and had my first encounter with the port-a-potties and the line to use them. Luckily I managed to find a clean one. I wasn't looking forward to using them again!
Brian and Brian both woke up shortly after, and we began to explore this area filled with a mass of humanity. Seeing the waves of people and sea of tents was incredible! Wall to wall tents and people of every shape and size!
The sun was out and beat on us without mercy all day while checking out the vendors and getting ready for the opening act.
The opening act was James Brown. What an experience being in such a huge crowd. Seeing a site like that on television just can't compare to actually being part of it! We only stayed for a few songs before looking to escape the heat.
We found our sanctuary in the film festival hanger. There were no chairs set up, so we sat on the floor with everyone else and enjoyed the dark coolness. We also made many stops at the water and shower spickets to dunk ourselves.
Our next show of the day was Live. We caught the end of their act and then stayed on for Sheryl Crow. Both put on good shows. Unfortunately Sheryl Crow refused to show her breasts to the crowd... bummer!
After Sheryl Crow's set ended, Brian, Brian, and myself went in search of dinner. All the food vendors were expensive, (bottled water was $4.00!) but there was good variety. We went back to the tent for some relaxation before our last show.
We finished the night with Bush. On our way there, we saw masses of people leaving and thought the show was cancelled. It turned out to be all the Korn fans leaving after their set finished. Everyone said they put on an incredible show. I'm sorry I missed it!
The show was good, even if the lead singer seemed too interested in showing off to the audience. Plenty of women returned the favor of were flashing their breasts!
Day One was coming to an end, and my impressions were of masses of people, great music, and tons of garbage.
7/24/99 - Woodstock, Day Two - I finally had a decent night's sleep (a whole four hours!), getting up around 8:00 am. The toilets were now practically useless for anything other than urinating. I feel sorry for the women! The port-a-potty a was in had blood and used tampons on the seat, not to mention dirty toilet paper.
We heard rumors of rain in the forecast for today, but it started out sunny and hot, and stays that way. The first band we wanted to see didn't go on until 3:00 p.m., so we started our day in the theater watching two movies, Nashville and Trainwatching.
Nashville was extremely boring, so I ended up reading instead. The highlight of the movie was when the lead character was shot meaning the movie was almost over. That received a rousing round of applause!
I finished my book and ended up watching Trainwatching. It was strange but good. We then went to get some lunch and made our way back to the tent. Our neighbors came up with a great idea; to hand a sheet between our tents to create some shade. It actually worked fairly well, and gave some much-needed relief from the sun.
We were so relaxed that we skipped the Counting Crows and began our day's shows with Dave Matthews. The concert field was packed, so we didn't get very close. I didn't enjoy his show very much in any case. It was a very slow moving show with long interruptions between songs.
After Dave Matthews ended, we were able to move much closer for Allannis Morrisette. Allannis put on a good show, with lots of energy, plus being closer to the stage helped.
After Allanis' show, we left to get some dinner and relax before finishing the evening with Rage Against the Machine and Metallica, back to back!
Brian (1) and I forced our way up front for Rage. We were approximately 50-75 feet from the stage. The show was awesome! It really made a fan out of me (they are now one of my favorite bands). The crowd was crazy and I found myself in the middle of a mosh pit many times! What a blast. Of course the females didn't disappoint, so there was plenty of nudity!
The only disappointment was the burning of an American flag by Rage. That was not a political statement I could understand or agree with. That didn't take anything from the enjoyment of the show though.
After the show finished, Brian (1) and I managed to get within 20 feet or so of the stage for Metallica! Looking back into the sea of people and realizing how close you were was an awesome feeling! We were entertained by all the women flashing their breasts while waiting for the show to begin. One overweight girl was booed and pelted with water bottles when she tried to show her breasts.
While waiting, we were warned that a short, but severe thunderstorm was coming our way. There was a possibility of hail and high winds so the canvass coverings on the sides of the stage were brought down.
The crowd went crazy when the show began. It was a battle just to keep on our feet. The feel of so many people crushing in from all around was awesome! You moved with the crowd or you were crushed. Crowd surfers were a constant, and trying to pass them along while staying on your feet was hard.
I saw one girl screaming in fear at the crowd while her boyfriend tried to get her out of there. People also started throwing bottles and large coolers. I saw one person get smacked by the cooler and knocked out.
Metallica was great, even while fighting through the crowd! The storm turned out to be a few minutes of wind and thunder, with little rain. To bad, the rain would have felt good!
There was a fireworks show later that evening, but I was too tired to really watch it. It sounded like a good one though. I managed to get some sleep even with the all night rave party going on. They blasted music from 1:30 am to 6:00 am each morning.
7/25/1999 - Woodstock, Day Three - I actually had a few good hours of sleep and woke up around 8:00 am. It looked like another hot day. After our morning bathroom routine, we discussed plans for the day and decided to pack up and head out before the traffic got bad.
All the bands we were interested in didn't go on until later that evening. None of us wanted to wait through the heat, see the bands and then fight through the traffic.
Packing was uneventful, except our neighbors left a sleeping bag behind, so now I have an extra one... It was a long hot walk to the car, but we finally made it and loaded up. The drive home was fairly quick, with very little traffic for which we were very grateful!
We pulled into my driveway around 3:30 p.m., ending a great Woodstock experience.
I would definitely do it again...
Copyright © 2004, Christopher