Becky Moine on Woodstock 1999

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Becky Moine on Woodstock 1999

  1. 1. Rebecca Moine MUIN 425: Live Music Production and Promotion October 6, 2010 Woodstock ‘99 Woodstock ’99 was one of the most ill plannedconcerts because of its ineffective crowd control and lackadaisical safety management techniques. The promoters of the event cut corners in areas where attention to detail is a must. By overlooking certain aspects that are vital in concert planning, issues are bound to arise that threaten the concertgoers’ wellbeing. People attend shows in order to see their favorite artists perform live and expect to do so in a safe and positive manner, the notion of any negativity can ruin their entire experience and cause them to inflict this negativity on others. Mass hysteria and chaos can ensue and like an infectious disease it will spread until it has affected the entire crowd. Because of this, extreme caution and thorough planning must be implemented in order to avoid these potential problems. Woodstock ’99 serves to be a perfect example of what not to do in live music production and promotion, by bringing attention to its many areas of fault one can delineate ways to ensure a more beneficial concert-going experience. An imperative concept of concert planning is cohesion; the bands playing at the event should provide some degree of harmony between artists. Ridder Newspaper brings attention to this niche marketing, commenting on the effects of trying to please all genres’ fans. These factions in pop cause different groups to interact with each other and as musician Barry Maguire perfectly states, “ ‘A Metallica fan and a Jewel fan want nothing to do with each other.
  2. 2. And in fact, Metallica fans want to hurt Jewel fans’ “ (Rubin 1). The idea itself of having an event where thousands of people can come together and be united by music is just that, an idea. When these idealistic thoughts are actually applied to reality the result is not as one would expect because not all people carry themselves in a favorable demeanor. Why would people want to share their experience with others that they have nothing in common with? Add alcohol, drugs and exhaustion to this equation and you get violence and brutality. The Spin article describes the effects of poorly planned crowd exchange at Woodstock ‘99, “In the 20 minutes between the end of Morissette’s set and the beginning of Limp Bizkit’s, there was a sea of change in the crowd” (Spin, 105). As boys propelled themselves forward to mosh, girls retreated from the stage.By providing more stages closer to each other people are free to move about from stage to stage with relative ease, diluting the buildup of the masses at the main stage. This way the audience would not clash and the crowd movement between acts would be easily facilitated. Advanced Production Group, LLC is a large scale staging company from New York that specializes in concert production. A monumental issue with Woodstock ’99 was the venue; it was isolated, contaminated and falsely advertised. The Woodstock ’99 brochure showed a diagram of the camping grounds displaying green grass and plentiful trees-an oasis of sorts. Medical tents, food and beverage areas as well as many exhibits make the area look appealing and entertaining. There appear to be minor trails winding through the campgrounds, which are scattered with many “camper comfort pods”; all encompassed by the Woodstock mural wall. By merely looking at this picture, concert goers built up their expectations based upon the things promised to them. A
  3. 3. significant safety and crowd management strategy is to always give people what they were promised because a lack of clear communication causes people to respond with anger and negative behavior. People came to Woodstock ’99 imagining vast fields of grass sheltered by trees and instead they got a barren, abandoned military base. If the venue was changed to a more befitting area, the dynamics of the concert would be altered immensely. The Coachella Music Festival in Coachella Valley, California is a great example of a perfect location for a show of that magnitude. Coachella iswithin a manageable distance from Los Angeles and offers camping as well as a vast number of other accommodations within close proximity to the venue. It is set amidst palm trees and lush grass, ensuing in pleasant and peaceful vibes. The next Woodstock should emanate from Goldenvoice’s successful show and become the equivalent of the East-coast Coachella. It should stay with its original roots in New York, as did Woodstock ’69 but be more accessible to patrons from the surrounding areas such as New York City. Taking a page out of Coachella’s book, the concert should take place at a polo field because the area spans across hundreds of acres and offers plenty of room for large stages and camping. Blue Sky Polo Club is a great location because not only does it cover over 500 acres, it is located only 65 miles northwest of New York City.
  4. 4. The 343 acres owned by the club include 4 full size tournament fields and 1 practice field, in addition to 120 acres of rented pasture land. This provides the scenery that was promised to the Woodstock ’99 attendees as well as ample space for thousands of people to coexist for 3 days.

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