Unseen Behind The Scenes Photos Of Woodstock ’94 in Saugerties, NY
This week marks the 25th anniversary of Woodstock '94. Unlike this year's 50th celebration that never happened, the Saugerties festival was one hell of a ride.
I had just graduated from college and started working at i95's sister station, 101.5 WPDH in Poughkeepsie when Woodstock '94 happened. Because I was young and had no real responsibilities, I was selected to join a small group of airstaff to cover the three-day music festival. The radio station rented land in someone's backyard located just beyond the gates of the festival. We parked a couple of campers on the lawn and made our own little mobile studio to broadcast live from the concert all weekend.
After receiving our press passes we realized that local media wasn't allowed anywhere near the artists or backstage areas. We would have to broadcast from outside the gates and basically watch the show from the crowd. After seeing endless reporters from Rolling Stone, MTV and other national outlets walk right past us, I realized that the only difference between their press passes and ours was that they had a "7" written on them. So, with the help of a Sharpie marker, I changed my "1" to a "7" and gave myself an instant upgrade. The trick worked and our staff was granted unlimited access for the whole weekend.
The next task was to find a way to broadcast live from inside the gates. One of the vehicles we brought with us was a box truck that simply had a Pepsi logo on it. As fate would have it, Pepsi was also an official sponsor of Woodstock '94. Late Friday night we hatched a plan to load the van with our mobile broadcast equipment and get ourselves backstage. We drove up to the backstage security gate with our upgraded passes and pointed to the Pepsi logo on the van. The guard waved us through and we were directed to park right behind the main stage. With the use of a short-range transmitter, we sent interviews back to our camp and bounced them back to the studio to air live all weekend long.
Woodstock '94 was an exhausting and exhilarating experience. There were magical moments when I was able to interview some of my lifelong idols and stretches of pure misery where we were starving and covered in mud. I recently uncovered some 35mm negatives from the festival that have never been seen before. They're a pretty cool snapshot into just what it was like to be backstage and out in the crowd before, during and after the now legendary Hudson Valley concert.