Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Seen to the right are the many, but not all, fires located on the
field of the East (main) stage. This photo was taken approximately 30 minutes after the
final tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
Here is a guy i call Mr. Fireman. Showing his, well,
personal spirit he tried to single-handedly put out the fire. Of course i could always be
wrong. This photo was the fire to the furthest left (stage right) and closet to the East
stage. People were using the wood from the barrier around the Woodstock '99 show to help
fuel the fire. The rioters also used various garbage and whatever they could find that was
flammable as well. In fact they even threw in pieces of metal fencing! The entire scene
was out of hand. As much as i wished it would stop, with a mob like this my feelings were
it best to photograph what i could.
Sadly, there was much property damage of
course. Seen above is a large satellite setup which holds large, heavy PA speakers
and lighting equipment. Seen above in the tower in mid fall. The rioters worked extremely
hard for about 10 minutes in trying to push this well designed and normally extremely
stable structure over. After the crowd removed some of the parts which keep the tower
upright, they succeeded in toppling over the tower. Fortunately no one was injured when it
fell (as much as i could see because i was deeply concerned about this).
Here is the same speaker and light tower
now on the ground. While not shown here, i have photos of the concert goers on the now
grounded tower rejoicing at their accomplishment. The heavy speaker and lighting equipment
still secured to this tower was their next target for destruction. i believe this
consisted of three large speaker monitors and various lighting gear.
The rioters succeeded in unhooking the speakers from
the tower and about four of them carried the speakers into the fire. They also carried an
amplifier rack with Crown equipment into the fire as well. Sad, but true. While all
this was going on other new fires were started while still others were being fed wood,
flammable garbage, and whatever else was accessible.
It seems some people, as i overhear them here, are
blaming the PAX Peace Candles which were handed out at the show. In my humble opinion,
candles do not start fires per se, people do. Personally, i find it quite sad how the PAX
Peace Candle which is a "Youth petition to End Gun Violence" has now come into
the controversy of mass arson.
To help give the Enjoy the Music.com
readership a better perspective on the famous speaker tower destruction, here is one of
them fully assembled. The structure itself is held down with large green drums filled with
material to give weight for stability. As you can also see, there is still only part
of the wooden wall which normally goes all the way around the structure. This structure
could normally stand virtual hurricane forces, yet when youth riot even a hurricane could
seem like a calm summer breeze.
Here is the morning after shot of the
toppled over speaker and light stand. For scale i added a few people on the far left of
the photo. The large "X" to the right are the footholdings of the structure.
Seen here is the remains of the speakers
which were mounted on the tower. The only recognizable parts are the metal grills and to
their left are the industrial mounting apparatus which the speakers are attached to for
hanging them from the tower itself. On the right near-bottom is one one the handles which
is used for normal grabbing of the speaker during transportation. The large metal piping
were parts of the structure which surrounded the tower.
A total of approximately twelve trailers were burnt in this riot
as well. The fire inside them was so extreme that the metal of the trailers themselves
seemingly melted away! Will post some close-ups of this shortly.
Lastly for now, here is a Mercedes car which was turned over and
vandalized. The car looks as though it had been chewed up and spit out. The interior
suffers from extreme damage with rips, missing parts, and wired dangling all about.
Back to the
main Enjoy the Music.com Woodstock '99 page.