Woodstock ’99 was supposed to honour the original music festival known for peace, love and happiness, but instead it turned into a weekend of violence and mayhem.
Now you can relive the chaos of Woodstock ’99 through the new HBO documentary, Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love and Rage, which debuts today.
Episode 43 of History of the 90s took a deep dive into the mosh pit of Woodstock ’99 which was held on a decommissioned air force base in Rome, New York on July 23-25, 1999.
From the start it was plagued by overcrowding and scorching heat made worse by terrible price gouging for food and water. And let’s not even get into the toilet situation.
From the beginning the atmosphere was overtly macho, if not misogynistic, which wasn’t necessarily caused by the male dominated lineup but it didn’t help. It was a bunch of predominantly aggressive white men, playing for a predominantly aggressive white, male audience, i.e., a major bro-fest.
By the end of the weekend there were numerous reports of sexual assaults, with some taking place in the mosh pit during a Friday night performance by nu metal band Korn.
Saturday night’s lineup was a grand slam of metal acts that included three of the loudest and most aggressive bands of the entire festival: Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, and Metallica.
The crowd went completely wild during Limp Bizkit’s performance, shaking production towers and tearing off pieces of plywood that got passed around with people riding on top.
When Red Hot Chili Peppers closed Woodstock ’99 on Sunday the band ended with a badly timed cover of the Jimi Hendrix song Fire.
A massive bonfire raged in the crowd and when the band left the stage fans tore up the place in a riot that took police several hours to contain.
The new HBO doc Woodstock ’99 features stars like Korn’s Jonathan Davis, the Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Jewel, Moby, and Creed’s Scott Stapp, reminiscing about the event. Plus you’ll hear from one of the organizer’s John Scher who still seems to have a hard time admitting the festivals problems were partly because of poor planning.
You can listen to History of the 90s, including the episode about Woodstock ’99 anywhere you stream audio, Applepodcasts and Spotify and at www.curiouscast.ca.