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As many years as I’ve blogged (off and on, not consistently I fear), it’s amazing to me some time to look back on memories that I was sure I blogged and discover, nope I didn’t. It’s like my memories are somehow now in text form even if they aren’t?!

Take today, I was reminded of Silverchair playing at Rockfest at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1999. I was sure I remembered writing about the day I spent there and then I look at my blog and the first entry is two years later.

I honestly don’t go see a ton of live acts, for some reason, I’m usually content to hearing their music recorded, but there are a handful of bands I love enough to see over and over and then there were chances in Atlanta like the one-off Rockfest and the much-missed Music Midtown where anyone who liked music should have been there. I mean, one ticket got you in to see a ton of acts. In the case of Rockfest, it was one popular act behind another, each playing short sets. It was the only time I saw many of these bands.

  • Taxi Drive
  • Marvelous 3
  • Silverchair
  • Better than Ezra
  • Sugar Ray
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Eve 6
  • Everlast
  • Collective Soul
  • Live
  • The Offspring

I have vivid memories of seeing most of those acts as I got there quite early and secured a place right on the barricade separating the crowd  (approx 130,000 people) from the stage. It was June in Georgia, even North Georgia is miserably hot in the open with no shade. It wasn’t long before people were passing out from the heat and being hefted over the barricades to the security guys. And shortly, the hoses came out. As I wear glasses, the last thing I normally want is to be wet, but I remember happily taking one water blast to the face after another. I have never been so hot, wet, and muddy yet happy to be there.
This is the only video I uncovered from the show. If you watch carefully, you’ll even see them blasting the people down front with the hoses! Alas, I didn’t spot Mark of a decade ago hugging the front line!

It’s funny that I did dig through old emails and found the following in a message to a friend. So maybe my memories about ‘blogging’ it was simply writing about it in emails:

…went to Rockfest at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the early summer. It was HOT and WET (because they kept spraying the hose on us). I was on my feet for over 12 hours near the stage. You couldn’t leave and ever get back. I was one of the mud people. They actually showed this concert on MTV tho I only saw a few minutes of it myself. It’s very possible I could have been on TV because I was down front where the cameras were when they showed the crowd. I left sunburned and tired. Actually I saw the last three acts from the stands because I just couldn’t stand anymore. The only one of those three I regretted not being down there for was Live.

So, there we go from the way-back machine! I had totally forgotten that I wasn’t down front for Live, but I do remember that I retired to the bleachers and then actually left part way through The Offspring. They were playing songs from their then newest album that hardly anyone had heard yet. I won’t forget the walk back to the parking lot as I had made the mistake of taking off my wet shoes in the stadium while seated. Between wet shoes and swollen feat from standing so long, they wouldn’t begin to go back on. Barefoot on a gravel parking lot does not equal fun!

Though an exhausting day, it was great fun! Happy Memories from those first years living in the big city! And now I’ve blogged it so a few years from now when the cobwebs are cobwebier I’ll have this to remind me.

Atlanta Prints For Sale by Georgia Artist Mark Tisdale
Mark’s Atlanta Prints

Note: I’ve recently found a few more videos. Alas I still haven’t found me in the crowd! But they definitely rustled some memories of the concert. If anyone finds some other Atlanta Rockfest videos or wants to share photos or what not to post here, please send me a message.

Looking For Photos?

I’ve recently heard from a photographer (see comments section) who was shooting at Rockfest. If you’d like to see photos from the day and maybe just maybe find yourself in the crowd, check out @orockphotos on Instagram. Also lots of cool photos from other concerts! I’m enjoying them all but if you want to zero in on just photos from this concert you’re looking for tag #rockfestatlanta99

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18 Responses

  • i was at rockfest with some friends and just posted a few pics on FB my timeline should be there for you to see them. cool reading your blog tho Im a little late.

  • I was one of the mud people too. I went with two friends of mine, all three of us girls. We wouldn’t move either, but we did get pushed back during Live. We were so wet and muddy I remember taking off most of our clothes in the parking lot before riding back to Alpharetta. It was a wonderful day. Everlast did suck though. Sugar Ray was on stage at 4:20 also. And I am so greatful for the water hoses.

  • Funny, ten years later I didn’t expect even a handful of comments on this post. Glad everyone has enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Definitely one of my fond memories, too!

  • I was there and loved it we traveled 5 hours to get there the night before and stayed with my buddy that lived in atl. One of the best concerts i have been to!

  • Searching for stuff in 2018 & see you have comments from 2012. Haha. Nice. I was one of the mud people too. The mosh pit was great too. Ended up at the front pretty much the whole time. I didnt have a camera so if yall did I would love to see some pictures.

  • When I blogged this years after the fact, I never expected this to become a regularly visited post on my blog. it’s always fun to hear from other “mud people” who were there then too. Almost 20 years later, I don’t think I could do this again. Live music sure, stand in the hot sun and mud, I’d love to say yes, but I suspect I’d run for the stadium long before I did back then. But it made for fun and happy memories.

    On photos (did I respond to that comment from Barry in an email years ago??) if someone actually wants me to post their photos from the event on this blog, I’d be happy to. I don’t have any of my own and if I had brought a camera it would have been soaked but I wish I had somehow recorded it in photos myself. Just send me a message through my contact form and I’ll reply back with an email to send them to. For obvious reasons, I don’t want to post my email address here.

  • HELL’$ YEAH , let’s do it again , and again and make it a festival that will continue to live on generation after generation , or not , let’s make Don Kirshner proud and let the music PLAY …

  • I was there, too! We sat up in the shade of the Weaver grandstands(where a breeze blew between rows) until the sun got lower, then we walked around in the crowd.

    We got there abot an hour after gates opened and the medical tent was already so full they had to stage people outside!

  • I drove down from Virginia for this concert. When Sugar Ray came on my buddy Cory did such a drunken/stoned dance MTV filmed him and it was actually played on MTV. Ahh the memories.

  • Maybe you can help me I was there with four other friends me and my girlfriend were in the Atlanta Journal from photo AP press as a photo for being there I’m looking for that photo

  • I came across this while trying to find info on another festival later that year (99x Big Day Out at Lakewood Amphitheatre). Rockfest was my first festival. I went with two friends and left them when they didn’t want to head to the front. I was a mud person off and on through the day and don’t remember exactly when I gave up, just that it was night time, I was a few rows from the front, and the crowd surged and I was literally swept off my feet. Without anything to ground me I couldn’t keep from being completely squished to the point of being unable to breathe and I had to be pulled out. Still don’t regret it. (But I do regret the long walk to the car in soaking wet jeans once I found my friends after it was over. I lost many layers of skin) Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • I am always amazed but happy that so many find their way here who attended that same muddy concert! LOL

    I never made it to any of the 99X Big Day Outs as far as I can remember. I did do some of their “On The Bricks” shows but right now I’m drawing a blank who I saw just remember walking from Centennial to a Marta station to catch a train after and the whole train being packed with people from the same concert. I walked down to one of the lower stations and every time we stopped at stations a few blocks up the platform was crowded and the train was already full.

    Wow, it just occurred to me that Rockfest 1999 will shortly be 20 years ago! Yoiks!

    It looks like this was on June 5, 1999. So the 20th is a few months away!

  • Wow! Thank you Mark for this site! I was a freelance photojournalist in Atlanta mid 90s to 2002 and covered a lot of concerts including the 99 Rockfest. I remember they had us up on a riser that went across the front of the stage, photographers on the left, video crews across the front and right facing the stage.

    I shot a lot of photos of the crowd. (Well, a lot for film). If you were front and center, I probably have photos. I am planning on posting some on my IG @ orockphotos but was researching first which is how I ended up here. 🙂 You rock Mark! Hope you are in my pics so I can send you one.

    • Awesome – I’ll add a link to your Instagram in the post so people who want to see photos can find you. It might help to create a tag just for the event so they can quickly find the photos from Atlanta Rockfest? Let me know if you do and I’ll include what tag to look for in the post.

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