During the summer of 1999, my brother (Chris) and I (Drew), who were in our 20's at the time, started to cook up this idea of making the journey to the Woodstock Festival in New York. Mind you, we live in Ohio, so it's quite a drive to Rome, New York.
My brother Chris, at the time, worked for Knight Ridder who owned a number of media outlets and newspapers across the country at the time. He made a very critical observation, that perhaps we could get access to backstage and/or get in for free, if we used his affiliation with the newspaper to get media passes for the event.
In speaking with Chris's superiors at the time, the only catch was that we were to cover the event for Knight Ridder, specifically Ohio.com. At the time, both Chris and I worked in digital media and developed web sites for various companies, so it could actually work. We got to go to this epic event, Knight Ridder got a ton of free labor for their digital property and Woodstock Ventures got a bunch of free publicity in the Ohio market. A win, win for everyone. So we went to work!
We put together a web site dedicated to this festival (It's been online ever since here - Computer monitors were smaller back then, notice the width!), started posting the line up, information about the event, news and even started a live forum. Mind you, this was well before Facebook was ever a thought in anyone's mind. We were building a community of people around this event.
To make a long story short, after the event it was clear that this event was going to continue to be something special for some time, this was not your ordinary concert. We didn't consider it historic at the time, but it certainly was something that was deeply special and a profound experience. With the final moments of Woodstock on sunday night, as Rome burned, it was only a matter of time before the gobal media picked up on what happened.
Reporters have asked me over the years, as they have written about the site, "Drew, why do you keep this site online?". My answer has always been the same until now. I always said, "Hey, we put a lot of work into that site and I always felt if someone got a little bit of joy reliving some of those moments at the festival, then why not leave the site online." I never felt the need to defend what happened that weekend, I had my own version of it and I was happy with that. Until now....
So what happened... Over the last couple years (2021 and 2022), we have seen an uptick in interest around this festival. We were interviewed as part of the HBO documentary that released in 2021 and also interviewed for the documentary that Netflix released in July of 2022, because people are curious #1 why we continue to keep this web site online for over 2 decades and #2 do we have any photos or videos of the event that we would be willing to release to them.
As we continued to watch in horror how the festival continues to be perceived in the media, by well intended individuals (who weren't there) that are just trying to do a job, we felt it was time to take a stand in an attempt to maybe set the record straight for those that were there. While we are at it, perhaps we could generate enough juice to make it possible to throw that Woodstock Festival one more time (Sign the Petition). Yes, I do realize that a 50th Anniversary event was attempted by Michael Lang, but failed. And yes, I know there was a 50th anniversary celebration at the original Woodstock grounds in Bethel, New York and guess what, you better believe it I was there.
So friends, enjoy the site and sign the petition. Maybe, just maybe, we can make this happen again with some effort.