My Most Woodstock-Esque Concert
The other day on the air, our listeners, Boris and I were talking about our most “Woodstock”-type experiences. By “Woodstock” experience I mean those concerts you’ve been to that you will always remember, ones where the crowd and vibe of the show are as important as the music.
Mine, hands down, has got to be Day in the Garden in August of 1998 on the grounds of the original Woodstock Concert in Bethel. Notice I did not say the concert was at Bethel Woods? It wasn’t Bethel Woods yet. And the stage was actually set up in the same spot that it was set up for Woodstock. The best part is that I was there with the radio station, so I got to experience the weekend as a VIP.
The concert itself was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with classic rock bands taking the stage Friday and Saturday and alternative rock bands on Sunday. We started broadcasting there on Wednesday, I believe. The atmosphere was electric. Stages being built, soundchecks, and a tent full of media outlets doing live reports and broadcasts. We stayed at the no longer existing Concord Hotel, and ran into some cool concert goers and even some musicians like Donovan who was playing at Day in the Garden.
The line up? Pretty amazing. Pete Townshend, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell, Don Henley, Richie Havens, Melanie and a slew of other great bands. And we got to go up on stage to introduce them. We stood on the stage at the very same spot where all of the artists at the original Woodstock show stood. We looked out at a crowd of thousands sitting, standing and dancing in the very same spot as almost half a million people were doing in 1969. It was awesome.
There were tons of cool vendors, and we got to meet most of them in the days leading up to the concert. And even though there was a pretty big police presence, they were also very cool. And I made some lasting friendships, notably with Chip Rachlin who was a big wig behind the scenes. Now I call him friend.
It wasn’t Woodstock, but for me it was even better. There was plenty of food, no rain or mud that I can remember, great music and I got to experience the whole thing from the inside. It may not have been life-changing and it didn’t make the history books, but it’s a great life long memory.
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