Last week marked the 15th anniversary of Woodstock 99. I dug through my storage to see what memories I could resurrect, and I was happy to find some photos and souvenirs commemorating the often tumultuous weekend.
The morning of July 23rd started off wonderfully. My friend and I excitedly left for Foxboro Stadium to take a bus to Rome, NY. We were happy that we didn’t have to deal with driving. But, traffic was heinous and we missed the first act. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if the opener hadn’t been JAMES BROWN! We made the most of it and had a lot of fun on the first day, despite the heat and pricey food. The bands I remember the most were Korn and Bush.
Reality set in on day two when I was jolted awake from my tent by a man yelling “Hear ye, hear ye! Don’t drink the water!” He was walking through the tent area spreading the word that the water lines were contaminated, showing the town newspaper with the headline news. At $4 a bottle, that soon became a problem. We got to the Spitfire stage super early to be up front for Perry Farrell’s DJ set and we made friends with the security guards who kept filling up our water bottles for free. At some point on day two, the folks in charge of picking up the trash and recycling seemed to have given up. The porta-potties were the bane of our existence and the ATMs ran out of cash. We waited in line and were able to phone home before the row of pay phones were all broken. Also at some point on day two, I realized it was a bad idea to be a mud person…especially since an open drain ditch seemed to be the only shower at Griffiss Park. Live and learn!
Day three was the highlight for me, with sets from Megadeth and Sevendust. We were getting ready to end the night by checking out the Red Hot Chili Peppers, when people came around handing out candles. I remember telling my friend that I didn’t think that was a good idea. Soon enough, bonfires broke out all over the grass. By the time RHCP covered Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, the flames were getting out of control. Once the merch booth looting began, we headed to the tents to get away from the mayhem. We were definitely regretting not having our cars there as our bus didn’t leave until the next morning. The last photo was taken on July 26, 1999 before we left to go back home. When people ask why I don’t go to Coachella, I tell them because I went to Woodstock ’99. No more festival camping for me! All in all, we had a lot of fun. It was a great adventure that just ended on a really bad note. I think the person who had the worst time experiencing Woodstock ’99 was my mother. She was home watching all the drama unfold on the newscasts in a pre-cell phone era. Sorry mom!
Postcard, maps and pages from the Woodstock ’99 program: