By Netera Landar
The re-enactment of an event in a virtual world is possible through a team effort. This is exactly what Encore Escape grid’s owner had in mind for an impressive endeavor.
I recently meet with Potlach Foggarty (Co-treasurer & Founder), Rocky Hillburton and Shannon Dubratt (who are co-Presidents & Founders of TEE) in the grid’s welcome center to discuss Encore Escape’s 50th Anniversary recreation of the Woodstock Festival. The actual event occurred Aug. 15, 1969. Encore will feature its re-enactment at 5:07 p.m. EST, Aug. 15-18.
Asked what inspired them to take on the re-enactment, Foggarty replied that it was the dedication of the 800 people responsible for the actual Woodstock project which will present the experience to younger generations.
According to Foggarty, Encore’s celebration will be held on an area scaled to nearly 150 acres, which is the size of nine Second Life sims. The build is being carefully sculpted using U.S. Geological Society topographic maps from 1967 to reflect the Woodstock site’s terrain, including adjacent roads, surrounding hills, forests, fences, streams and Max “Yasgur’s Pond,” a favorite skinny-dipping spot for concert-goers. The same amount of detail was used to create the performers, stage, associated equipment, sound and light towers, as well as the performer’s bridge over West Shore road to the stage.
Encore’s project started months ago and has so far taken five solid weeks of virtual work, according to Foggarty. The team and contributors consists of Foggarty as the Event Coordinator, Hillburton as Build Team Leader, Shannon Dubratt, Jan Frenburg, Tweety Forever, Country Bob, Destiny Seranade from GCG, Merrick Robonaught, Dixie Dreamscape, Orb Emerald and Terry Ford from DigiWorldz, Foxie Winx, Bellaby Ballyhoo, Aristippus Larsson from SL, Canipanic Maslow from SL and TEE, Midnight Siren and Southern Destiny.
“We’re presenting a virtual world re-enactment of Woodstock 1969,” explained Foggarty. “We’ve scaled down the area that we wanted our region to be in and knew what we wanted in there. We went with a 3 x 3 Var and then created a huge topo map and placed it over the area so we could see the contours.”
The process of creating an accurate region continued when the team rezzed thousands of poles at different elevations throughout the nine regions. They terraformed the land to reach the top of the poles.
“It’s probably within three meters of the actual elevation from what we’ve been able to determine. When you look at the site, and you look at the hills in front and behind the stage, the contour is almost exactly the way it looks in the photographs,” said Foggarty.
The topographic map also showed the location of the roads, which was the first thing they built on the region. All the surrounding structures rely on the terrain.
Hillburton rezzed the topo map to demonstrate the elevation. He said that the actual Woodstock team chose the land because of the height of the hills, which created an amphitheater affect as the stage was 80′ lower.
Foggarty added that the terrain created a natural amphitheater and Woodstock’s actual developers knew that. “Once we had the terrain, then our next critical decision was exactly where the stage should be placed. We downloaded hundreds of photographs of Woodstock. The aerial shots were the most useful. Once we located the stage, our construction background came into play. If you look at the actual photographs of the Woodstock stage, you’ll see it’s all supported by scaffolding. Because of our building background, we recognized right away how many feet wide the scaffolding was and how many feet tall. With that information, we were able to figure out the exact size and elevation of the stage, as well as the sound towers, that were also built out of scaffolding and the light towers.”
Foggarty said all their research “paid off in spades.” The Encore team measured the stage, which was originally covered out of plywood sheets. All of the figures were checked and double checked and it all seemed to come together as far as the size and the placing of the stage.
“We knew exactly where the roads were and how they were lined with cars. I mean, everything you can possibly know about Woodstock, we’ve got it,” said Hillburton.
They explained that Woodstock was held north of Bethel, New York and that it’s believed that 400-600,000 people actually attended the event. The governor of New York closed the New York State Thruway and they also closed the Canadian border. The developer said after the event, thank goodness they did because over a million people were stuck in traffic and never got to the event. If they had showed up, it would have been a disaster.
Asked why Woodstock was so popular, Foggarty stated, “Because of the name of the bands who were singing there. Originally the tickets went on sale for $18. After they sold 180,000 tickets, they just opened the gates and said it was a free concert from this point on.”
The experience will represent the legendary concert so that those in attendance will know what it was like.
“The one thing we feel that we have accomplished is that we are going to have around 300 NPCs in the audience,” added Foggarty. “There will be avatars that are dancing, moving, sitting, swinging their legs and they are going to be intermingled with the other 300 static avatars. What we are trying to accomplish is an audience filled with 600 NPC & prim avatars when everyone arrives.”
Hillburton said the extra avatars will not present an issue. Static avatars are just a prim.
“They’ll be laying on a cot or sitting down. We’re putting this region on its very own server. We’ve already run tests with the 300 NPCs,” Hillburton added.
From The Encore Escape Woodstock 2019 Team:
Second Life residents who have not had the opportunity to explore the OpenSim Metaverse are invited to attend along with those experienced with the Hypergrid. Just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will reply with the credentials (avatar name & password) to your own “Hippy Avatar,” dressed for the occasion and ready to experience the festival as it happened. Other than a two-minute email to reserve your avatar, all you have to do is add TEE (The Encore Escape Grid) to your Firestorm OS compliant viewer. The website has a step by step tutorial (with screenshots) at https://theencoreescape.com/tutorial_join_tee.html that will easily guide you through the process in three minutes.
When your avatar arrives at the festival landing point, no one will search your backpacks. Reserve your avatar now for 300 live avatars will be allowed entrance.
For more information, log on to https://theencoreescape.com/ and click the “Events” tab and then “Woodstock 2019”.