Woodstock is supposed to put a host town on the map, but if you went to the last one at Griffiss 20 years ago, you know that it practically wiped it out instead. NYS must have amnesia because Woodstock is returning to where it all began next year, and thankfully it isn't Rome.

I saw evidence of Woodstock '99 from my apartment balcony as I was a year south of the legal drinking age. I remember the gridlocked traffic for days and the sky lit up at night and I could definitely hear it, but get this: The state is actually paying for a portion of the Festival this time, to the tune of two-thirds of a million dollars in economic development funds. This is a head scratcher as considering how much the last Woodstock cost the state, you'd think that they'd do everything in their power to stonewall it rather rather than breathe life into it.

To put it in perspective, the 1999 festival in Rome cost almost $40M to put on, and that's just about how much came back too in terms of tourist dollars. If the last one didn't even break even numbers-wise then how much of a boost will this be really? Not to mention that wherever Woodstock is held, it physically decimates the community as if a bomb went off. A town normally accustomed to 30,000 people swelled to 400,000 and not surprisingly, the cleanup effort was akin to cleaning up a real natural disaster because of that.

It's a foregone conclusion that (AT LEAST) the equivalent of the population of Buffalo and probably closer to that of Miami (over 400K people) will cram into a performing arts complex in a tiny town near the Pennsylvania border, but whether this is really going to turn out well is anybody's guess, although mine is obvious. Are you gonna make the 2.5 hour trip to test the theory?


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