Woodstock.com was created to support the Woodstock 99
festival. It was heavily used by the concert community, and was, overall, a success, despite what happened at the concert.
Okay, maybe there were some wild ideas and failures, but, the users on the website were awesome, and that really defines the website. The only competition worthy of the name was the Lilith Fair, which was more corporate.
The site was an effort by a few different people. Stuart Shapiro (of Mondo New York and Night Flight fame) hooked up with Rand Bleimeister, who was working at MusicNow, an idealab! company. Stuart brought the Woodstock folks in contact with the .com mania going on at the Idealab.
The first hacker there was Dave Benson, who's a perl hacker. He bailed, and was replaced by your's truly, John Kawakami, a perl hacker wannabe. I'd been doing perl for about a year, and in Feb. 99, I was without a car or a job, due to an auto accident. I really wanted a job within walking distance (in Pasadena). The woodstock gig was perfect: low pay, long hours, walking distance, and thrills.
The founder of MusicNow was Hamilton Altstatt, who's the nicest person on Earth. His kind henchman was Jeff Jack (who, in a form of Idealab incest, went to CarsDirect). We brought in Caroline Collins, a site building machine. Also hired on was Carolyn Kellogg, music biz writer, and general scenester. People worked hard.
Soon after, we brought on Sara Maluje for graphics. They built out the main site. We also had, for a short time, Michael Sullivan, who was a programmer with actual experience, and he built the kick-ass photo gallery. He's another perl hacker who didn't want a crazy commute (and he's achieved this goal). He's another super-nice person. And last but not least, we added Ed Horneij to do more graphics. (But by this time, we were becoming Top20.com, which morphed into Firstlook, with a different staff.)
Hosting and lots of great sysadmin help was provided by OpenSales, now Zelerate and now dot bombed. Their cluster config kicks ass. Rob's a genius. Glenn's really great to have on your side. Without them, life would have sucked.
They wanted to sell a music portal, but nobody wanted in. I think they could smell the fakeness of the project. The woodstock guys (Michael Lang, et. al. in NY) did okay, I think, because the existing music portals are all basically going into the toilet and costing a lot of money (this is in 2001). Woodstock.com still gets some traffic - around 250k pageviews a month in mid 2001. So, it's okay.
woodstock culture, like net culture, is deeper than .com.
As long as I'm doing this, here's a list of all the bands that played in '99. It's a great lineup:
Mickey Hart·Planet Drum
Our Lady Peace
Rage Against the Machine
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Tragically Hip
Wyclef Jean & The Refugee Allstars
Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Bruce Hornsby Group
The Chemical Brothers
Dave Matthews Band
Insane Clown Posse