(WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – The Woodstock 99′ documentary was recently released which outlines the 30th anniversary of the musical festival in Rome, New York at the Griffis Airforce Base. However, what was supposed to be peace love and happiness was peace love and rage.
July heat, costly water bottles, an aggressive, angry crowd and fire in 1999 lead to three deaths, multiple sexual assaults’, dozens of arrests and thousands of people needing medical attention. State Senator Joseph Griffo was featured in the film where he reflects on the raging musical festival.
“I was very disappointed at what was taking place and felt that as a musician who had really engaged the crowd and really was able to sway that crowd, that he could be helpful.” – Senator Joseph Griffo
What was supposed to be a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of Columbine Massacre turned into various fires that had gotten out of control. Joseph Griffo says Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers did not help defuse the situation.
“Unfortunately what Anthony Keidis chose to do is to go out and then play the song Fire, a Jimmy Hendrix song. which I think just continued to allow for the motions to continue to escalate and made it a little more challenging obviously to deal with everything which we ultimately dealt with.” – Senator Joseph Griffo
Griffo was the Mayor of Rome who was in support for Woodstock 99′ for exposure and short term economic benefits.
“There was no stigma attached to the event. There was good and there was bad. Some of the positives were that we proved that we could do something big in this area. As a result we got the Empire State Games two years later, which was a state wide athletics festival, similar to the Olympics.” – Senator Joseph Griffo
Back in 2019, the 50th anniversary of Woodstock was supposed to take place at Watkins Glenn and then Vernon Downs but because of a lack of panning it was cancelled.
“The concept of bringing big musical events and doing them right, I mean it’s essential because you learn lessons each and every time. That’s the important thing here that you learn the lessons and you try to make sure that you improve upon that so you avoid those type of challenges and problems.” – Senator Joseph Griffo