Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The day the music died

...A real post!! (yay?)

I love telling my mother about all the horrific/illegal/immoral things I got up to as a teenager without her knowing about them at the time. The most recent accidental revelation trumps all of the others.

I don't know who started the conversation, or what they were specifically talking about when I joined in. I heard one of Mum's friends say something about an acquaintance posting their photos of Woodstock '99 on Facebook, and said acquaintance claiming that they had a blast at Woodstock '99.

And without thinking, I said, "Are they kidding? IT SUCKED."

Woodstock 1999 was a shitshow of fail from start to finish.

Mum fixed me with a horrified stare like I'd just told her I was about to perform a coat hanger abortion on myself on live television.

....understandable really, as that weekend I told her I was going down the shore with a friend and her parents, and friend's older sister spoke to Mum on the phone, impersonating their mother so that Mum would let me go.

We left on Friday morning, thinking that since the festival started on Thursday, we wouldn't have to deal with all the awful traffic getting up there.

Think again, my friends.

The trip should have taken roughly four hours with a normal person driving, and three with Mike#1 driving. Except Mike#1 couldn't drive as fast as he usually did because the kid following us driving the other car (I forget his name, but we'll just call him Mike#∞ since pretty much every one of my male friends was named either Mike or Matt which got REALLY F*CKING CONFUSING) did not drive as fast as Mike#1.

We got lost a couple times, which added about 90 minutes to the trip. (This was in the days before us poor folk had the internet, and before they invented Google and Mapquest and GPS, and myself and the two other girls were outnumbered by the nine boys who refused to stop and ask for directions. You'd think at least one of the drivers might keep a map or an atlas in their car, but NO. Although for some reason Mike#1 kept numerous firearms in his car [for which I was very thankful later on, but we'll get to that...].)

Then we hit a huge mothereffing traffic jam like half an hour outside of Rome, which added another hour to the trip. Mike#1's air conditioning died approximately 10 minutes into that traffic jam. There were six of us in a car that could barely seat four people comfortably.

But we arrived safe and sound, and sweating profusely because pretty much all of us were supergoths wearing nothing but black and leather.

So we planned to camp out there like everyone else until the thing ended on Sunday. But being a bunch of idiot teenagers ranging in age from 14 - 18, we had not exactly packed accordingly. We brought with us:

1. One tent that could uncomfortably sleep 3, but ended up holding 5; and another minuscule tent probably meant for one person that ended up sleeping 3 (I did not sleep in either tent. Mike#1 and I slept in his car, with the doors locked and the guns within easy grabbing distance.)

2.  Two bags of potato chips.

3. One liter soda bottle filled with water

4. One 12-pack Diet Pepsi

5. Fifteen hits of acid

6. Six oz. black tar opium

7. One oz. marijuana

8. One gallon Everclear, disguised as water in more soda bottles

9. Two sleeping bags, one blanket, and a biohazard Mike#∞ insisted was a blanket but I'm pretty sure would have infected anyone who touched it with smallpox

10. One bag filled with an assortment of candy (mostly Now & Laters, peanut butter cups, salt water taffy left over from someone's shore trip, and Pop Rocks)

After parking, we had to walk like a frigging mile to the "campsite" and where the stages were set up. The campsite was INSANELY crowded. But whatevs--we set up our tents and made some friends with the nearby campers, and then decided to check out some of the bands that were playing after we had dropped a hit of acid each (2 in the case of Mike#∞, my BFF Sara, and this other kid whose name I forget), basically just killing time before Live started at 4, after which we would have to haul ass over to other stage to catch Buckcherry at 4:50.

At least, that's what half of us thought was the plan. However, for some unfathomable reason, Mike#∞ and his obnoxious girlfriend wanted to see Cheryl Crow (GAG) at 5:15. This led to a ridiculous argument because ∞'s girlfriend really liked starting stupid fights, and also because she was of the opinion that all of us MUST do everything together.

Mike#1 saved the situation when he got fed up fighting, told the girlfriend to go eff herself because HE was going to see Buckcherry, dammit, so she and Mike#∞ could feck off and go see Cheryl Crow on their own.

We got to see the Offspring and Korn as well, but were unable to fully enjoy Bush because Mike#∞ made a new friend.

Let's talk about Phil.

I don't know where this kid came from. He didn't seem to have any other friends or companions.

Phil had beer. Lots of it, and wanted to share it with us, and join us at our campsite.

And for some reason, no one else seemed to pick up the fact that Phil was possibly a serial killer/sex offender/cannibal except for me.

We had run out of acid, and by like midnight, the stuff we took earlier had started wearing off. But thank the Lord for Phil! He had lots of acid, and was more than happy to sell it to us for an insanely cheap price.

And I was like are you guys f*cking serious.

They were. I was the only person, out of the twelve of us, who refused to touch Phil's "acid."

So while my idiot friends took some unknown substance from the sketchiest kid to ever walk the earth, I hid the more valuable of our belongings (the weed and the opium, and the car keys) in my boots and bra.

I don't know what the fuck Phil gave them. My guess is roofies, or something similar. Whatever it was, the night began to go rapidly downhill about half an hour after they all took the "acid." Sara was first.

We had gorged on all the potato chips had candy. My friends projectile vomited all of it back up, all over our already extremely muddy and filthy campsite. A few of them had it coming out the other end as well, and as anyone who attended Woodstock '99 could tell you, the bathroom situation left quite a lot to be desired, so they just squatted in the bushes and prayed for death.

And all the while, Phil stayed at our campsite, happy as you please, as if all this was totally normal. That's when I got kind of nervous.

I figured my friends were on their own. I had tried warning them against Phil and his "acid," and none of them listened. As far as I was concerned, at that point it was every man for himself. As I was sneaking away from the campsite,  Mike#1 came up behind me and nearly knocked me over (and nearly made me piss myself because I was sure it was Phil, and that I was about be raped, dismembered, and eaten). Mike#1 was also done with Phil and the campsite, so I more or less carried him a mile back to the parking lot.

Mike#1 and I locked ourselves in the car and huddled down in the backseat. He had at least stopped vomiting by then (most likely because there was nothing left for him to vomit), but was half-conscious and dangerously dehydrated, sweating and shivering uncontrollably. I did my best to keep him warm while also keeping a firm grip on the handgun he kept in the glove compartment. I'm pretty sure that night is why the two of us were super-BFF's for the next two years.

I woke up on Saturday morning around six-thirty. Mike#1 and I left the car. I forced him to drink some water. He was no longer shaking and sweating, but I can't say he felt any better. Same went for the rest of our friends, we discovered when we walked all the way back to the campsite. Eight of them had squeezed into the two tents, but I don't think they slept much.

At some point, Mike#∞ and his girlfriend had left the campsite and no one knew where they went. We gave them another hour and then we were like eff this, it's time to go home. So we packed up our stuff and fled back to the cars, where we found Mike#∞ and his girlfriend. They, too, had spent the night in their car.

Of the twelve of us, only Mike#1 and Mike#∞ had drivers licenses. Rocko was a delinquent with a suspended license. Matt#2, Danny, and Chris were 16 and only had permits. ∞'s girlfriend, Matt#3, Zack, and other kid were 15. Sara and I were 14.

Mike#∞ and his girlfriend were still puking occasionally, as were Zack and Matt#2. Mike#1 was having trouble remaining conscious. No one wanted to go in Mike#∞'s car because it turned out he and/or his girlfriend  had vomited all over the back seats and floor during the night.

It heats up real fast in July. And that car was sitting out in the sun for like 2 or 3 hours before we gave up on Woodstock '99 and went home. Guess how many people wanted to go in Mike#∞'s car?

Cue epic fight.

I did not join in with the fighting. Neither did Mike#1, because he was still in a rather bad way. The way I saw it, they could argue round in circles until they were blue in the face--none of their arguments made a bloody difference if the driver of the non-vomity car could not actually drive.

But at the same time I really really really wanted to get the eff out of Woodstock '99 like now. Time for desperate measures.

I took Mike#1 aside and more or less forced him to smoke opium until he no longer felt like he'd been hit by a truck. By around 10AM, he was ready to roll. That still didn't solve the problem of who was going in which car.

Mike#1 drove one of these:

We somehow managed to squeeze six of us into the backseat--Matt#2, Zack, and Chris (who were all pretty small), and Matt#3, Danny, and Rocko, plus me and Sara in the front seat.

That left Mike#∞, his girlfriend, and their friend whose name I forget in ∞'s car. We lost them like 20 minutes into the drive home.

Guess how long it took us to drive home.


NINE BLOODY HOURS. With no air conditioning. In July.

Matt and Zack were still throwing up, so we had to keep pulling over. Mike#1 kept feeling lightheaded, so we tried to feed him water and whatever sugar-based foods we could find in the car, and then pump him full of more opium so he would feel nice instead of sick. This only worked for the first two hours. After that, he needed real food, so we stopped at a McDonald's. Everyone ate lunch, so we had to stop a million more times once we got back on the road so everyone could vomit up their lunch.

We had almost arrived at Sara's house when I realized something: I couldn't go home. I wasn't due home until Monday afternoon. If I went home, Mum would know I hadn't gone down the shore, and she'd murder me on the spot.

But I wasn't the sort of person who could just invite myself to someone's house for 2 days.

Thank God Mike#1 felt too awful to drive all the way to my house (everyone else lived up in Orange County, near him). We both passed out on the couch in his basement as soon as we got there (probably around 9.00 by the time we dropped everyone home). We stayed there most of Sunday as well, playing Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 and occasionally switching to the news to watch all the horrors that were going on at the festival we had left.

And I silently thanked Phil for being the cause of our early departure from Woodstock 1999. 


  1. This has actually put me off going to a Woodstock a little, sorry to hear that it was so disappointing Mich I love this story and to hear your experiences though, I still really want to check out a music festival at some point!

  2. Nothing in Bro's part of Tornado Country, thank goodness!

    Good to hear from you.

  3. And to think, if not for Phil you guys would have been stuck there during the fires and the rioting and lake of piss and the mosh pit gang rapes.

    One of Phil's relatives lives down the street from me. Swear to god.

  4. Yup...that's why I don't go to festivals. I saw the horrors of Woodstock '99 on TV; can't imagine how bloody awful it must have been to be there. It looked like the downfall of civilization, the seventh circle of hell, or Vancouver after the local hockey team loses.

    I've no idea what possessed you to go but I'm glad you survived without any damage or punishment. And at least it's a great story to tell, right? Just wish there were less Mikes, omg that gets confusing. I guess that's where you got the idea for the five Mikes in your YA apocalypse story, yes?

    Speaking of which, I bought your book :-)

    1. Festivals aren't all bad! I think Woodstock 99 was just the wrong shit marketed to the wrong people. There were huge raves happening in that era that were pulled off without a hitch (besides the cops trying to prevent them from going down) with thousands of people in the middle of nowhere that were completely peaceful, awesome events. Plus that whole PLUR thing was still a big deal with a lot of kids buying into it 100%.

      Every rave I ever went to, they had first aid tents, stands with free water. Some even had free fruit (apples, bananas, oranges) and everyone was asked to take care of one another and be respectful to one another. There were drugs, obviously. Lots and lots and lots of drugs. And some minor when the chinese mafia showed up and everyone worried they were gonna be a menace...but then they just showed off their awesome glowstick nunchuck kungfu dance moves and all was well.

      But Woodstock 99 wasn't for those people. lol it was for the other ones.

  5. Another narrow escape for Marvellous Mich! Hooray! You certainly do get into some sticky situations, but you always manage to get out again. Good work on being the only level-headed person there, even if you were one of the youngest! God, it's just not worth the drama, is it?! Glad you survived to tell the tale. Hope your mum has recovered from the shock! :)

  6. Sweet bloody hell. What kind of idiot buys drugs from a dodgy-as-fuck random bloke? Not even Mum is that stupid!

    I'm so glad you didn't. Bloody hell!

    Offspring and KORN? I fucking hate you right now. Nothing good ever comes south of Wellington :(

    Arohanui <3

  7. Your story reminds me of part of the plot of a bollywood zombie movie I just watched with Max! Go Goa Gone, in case you feel like netflixing it. Anyway. 3 day party...on an island...some questionable guy in a cloak with a silver platter full of red pills gives out the new drug to the partiers and BOOOOOMMMMMMMM! Zombies!

    Obviously,the moral of the story is bring your own drugs.

  8. Well, no wonder your trip took as long as it did, considering you went by way of Rome. But, how did you manage to keep yourselves dry when you crossed the Atlantic?

  9. Oh wow, that, that trip sounds like a disaster and a half. I'm not sure how it would have gone for me because I'm quite a straight edge. I probably would have bailed long ago.

  10. I've never gone to a big music festival, and posts like this certainly don't make me want to reconsider that. Every story I've ever heard sounds sweaty, and agonizing, and miserable, and just not worth it. Oh God, that's how I know I'm old now, isn't it?

  11. I used to love seeing the look on my moms face when we'd let something slip. Nothing as exciting as your story though lol

  12. I was there, it wasnt that bad. Whoever wrote this was a pussy. I was there from start to finish. The worst part about it was the water situation and how they were robbing the kids. Besides that is wasnt really a hateful event at all. The rioting and the fires were the best part. It wasnt people hurting each other.
    There were some fires going, then Chili Peppers starting playing "Fire" by Hendrix and I look back and they had gotten a lot bigger, the whole backgound was a blaze of fire, it was awesome. I also remember everyone jumped all the concession booths and stole everything.

    1. Anonymously calling someone a puss... that's not cowardly at all.

      Yay, you had a good time. Congrats. I had a shit time. I'm sorry if that makes me wrong. In future, please FUCK OFF unless you have a more constructive method of commenting.


We say whatever we want to whomever we want, at all times.