HomeHealthRiots, Rapes, and Limp Bizkit: The Chaos, which featured Woodstock in 1999

Riots, Rapes, and Limp Bizkit: The Chaos, which featured Woodstock in 1999

On the fourth day, the Red Hot Chili Peppers took to the stage and played their version of “Fire” in homage to Jimi Hendrix’s appearance on ’69 Woodstock. The tired, dehydrated, and angry crowd got to the heart of the matter.

A journalist from Rolling Stone, who had fled for a few minutes to send a play to the editorial office, recounts the scenario he encountered when he returned to the stage. “I saw a group of children trying to overturn a trailer. Eventually they made it at the expense of a broken leg. I saw a creepy, silent line of riot police; I smelled enough pepper spray that my eyes started to water. Fires burned everywhere, distant screams came from all directions; it felt like the end of it all. “

The setting recounts the final mood of Woodstock in 1999, the four-day festival that was supposed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the mythical event, but which turned out to be a tragedy. The exact opposite of what it should have been and what the 1969 edition was.

Two decades later, it seems easy to calculate and see that the festival could anything go wrong. And it is precisely this analysis that the new “HBO” documentation attempts. Directed by Garret Price, Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage is a kind of summary of the festival that makes Fyre seem like child’s play.

“It would have been so easy to tell this story and make it a comedy, to make fun of all that stuff from the late 90s – the way people dressed, the music they listened to. But the reality is that this weekend it felt more like a horror movie, “explains the creator of the documentary, which launches this Friday, July 24th on” HBO Max “in the US, not yet an arrival date in Portugal.

In 1999 it reigned nu-metal radio, a genre that was practically erased from the pages of history. On their heads they wore upside-down New York Yankees caps – a look that made Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst famous – on their ears they wore the sound of aggressive rock, the anthem of a generation of men, whites full of testosterone and anger.

On the poster a kind of compilation that would easily fit into your playlists: from Limp Biskit to Korn, Kid Rock, Metallica, The Offspring, Godsmack, Everlast. At his side are clear outsiders who would lose importance in front of the audience thirsting for decibels. Names like Elvis Costello, Jewel, Wyclef Jean, James Brown, Jamiroquai, The Roots and Sheryl Crow have been forgotten.

It was not a festival of peace and love

The organization did everything possible to reproduce the climate of peace and love. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do. The location was chosen to be a former military base – many underline the irony of paying homage to the Woodstock of ’69 in a place like this – in upstate New York. Almost 200,000 people were expected, but the black market was so flooded with counterfeit wristbands that it was no longer possible to check the entrance. It is estimated that they entered a lot more than the estimated number of viewers.

It was the event of a generation in a new context. This time the show would be fully covered by MTV from its heyday. But instead of paying homage to Woodstock, there was a parade of everything that badly represented this generation.

“When you spend your life in concerts, you develop a kind of sixth sense,” explains Moby in the documentary that was part of the festival’s program. “From meters away I can guess what the energy of the place is. And when I got off the bus, I said, ‘Something’s wrong here’. ”And he was right.

Though not canceled, the four days of Woodstock 99 dragged on painfully to a disastrous climax of injury, rape, fire and riot.

a disastrous plan

We were in the 90s, far from 69. The new Woodstock was designed as an ATM: tickets over € 150, a very high value for the time; Bottled water over € 4 and slices of pizza over € 7.

This has been one of the big problems from the start. Everything at the air base was made of tar or cement. At temperatures around 37 ° C, the environment quickly became unbearable. Worse still, the festival was the third largest gathering in the state at 220,000 people.

Free water sources could not quench the thirst of so many thousands by far. Those who lost care because of heat stroke or dehydration – there have been more than 700 cases that required medical intervention – struggled with no money in their pockets and tremendous pent-up anger.

The massive barriers that prevented people without a ticket from entering, however, turned out to be a failure. Not because they might be out of date, but because many counterfeit bracelets have been shown to be able to deceive many of the security guards.

Kid Rock asked for an item shower and the audience agreed

Many of the journalists passing through criticized the situation and accused the prosecutors of having saved as much money as possible. The savings, of course, proved fatal when the thousands of people arrived at the site. Apart from the fact that few employees and security guards were hired, there were also very few portable toilets and showers.

In no time the toilets were overcrowded and unusable. Pools of urine formed around him, which many took to be mere mud and in which they had fun diving.

The anger began to build up and would eventually prove to be uncontrollable. Only one fuse was missing – and it came off the stage.

The violence

Twenty years later, Fred Durst and his Limp Bizkits are accused of many things: ruining the outfits of a generation; Murdering Rock; and, in this case, that they were used as a fuse for the rampant violence of Woodstock 99.

The accusation may be unfair, but with the electrifying “Break Stuff” the crowd finally felt free to do what Thirst yelled at them: break things. And they left.

Moshpits became increasingly violent. The anger revolved around everything about this crowd of young whites around 20: boxes, barriers, sponsor tents. Everything they could grab.

The wounded multiplied in the middle of the moshpit. Final number of festival injuries: 10,000 requiring medical treatment.

The crowd just needed an excuse and there was no shortage of bands willing to give it to them. At the Insane Clown Posse show, a minor riot formed in the audience when the band decided to toss $ 100 bills into the crowd.

And during the Fatboy Slim concert, a van even raced through the audience, forcing them to pause the show for at least 10 minutes.

In the night the innocent fled. Left behind were the violent criminals who continued to tear down sound towers while waving flags over the flames. They shouted “USA, USA, USA!”.

The fireworks multiplied throughout the enclosure

It would only end with the long and hard intervention of the riot police, which took several hours to bring the situation under control. Final count: Woodstock 99 resulted in three deaths.


“It’s a Big Guy Festival,” commented some women in the crowd. Women in topless loomed over their heads, a kind of homage to the free and rebellious spirit of Woodstock ’69. Except that the atmosphere wasn’t the same – and they’d quickly notice.

The chants began when large groups of men and women intersected: “Show your breasts, show your breasts!” Many obeyed.

When the mob finally broke free of their anger and turned to violence, they experienced a kind of enlightenment: Woodstock is a lawless place. “The rules of society don’t apply here,” says one of the agitators in the documentation’s trailer.

Without rules, they felt they could do anything, and that included not just asking women to undress. If that were necessary, they would do it themselves. And they did.

Back at the Limp Bizkit concert, one of the first group injuries reported by viewers of the incident is said to have occurred in the audience, but which did not lead to any allegations. Another violation was reported at the Korn concert.

“At some point I saw a girl, very small, no more than 45 kilos, surfing through the crowd. It fell or was pulled and stayed in the inner circle of a mosh pit, ”revealed a festival volunteer to“ MTV ”. “These men between 25 and 32 seemed to be grabbing her, you could tell she was trying to break free.”

Another report was even more descriptive and was handed over to The Washington Post by the police. A 24-year-old woman found herself in a mosh pit and was raped, first “with her fingers”, then “with objects” and finally “raped by one of the men”. “Because of the dense crowd, she felt that if she shouted for help or fought she could be beaten,” the police report said.

In total, the New York Times reported at the time, at least four violations had been reported to the police. No one was arrested or even formally charged.


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