Woodstock ’99 remains to be one of the most notorious incidents in music history. The 1999 edition of the iconic Woodstock festival tried to capture the spirit of its legendary 1969 counterpart but failed completely.
It was plagued by lack of sanitation control, overpriced food and beverages, and a venue that trapped the crowd under an intense heat wave, the event ended up triggering the rage of the audience, that, in a massive riot, destroyed the venue, looted the merch stands and caused mayhem.
Besides the logistical damage, several women suffered physical and sexual abuse, showing that the “Flower Power” spirit of the ’60s couldn’t be captured anymore.
It also didn’t help that, instead of names from the mellow hippie culture like in the original festival, Woodstock ’99 took a bet on the booming alternative metal scene, booking Korn, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, among other heavy names for the line-up.
Its negative outcomes have been the recent focus of attention on streaming services. Last year, HBO premiered “Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage”, a documentary that put the blame of the festival’s damages.
This year, Netflix’s 3-part docuseries “Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99” chose to dive deeper into the logistical issues that affected the event, and ultimately the lack of response by the organization towards an increasing sense of looming danger during the festival’s course.
Bush’s Gavin Rossdale recalls the crowd reaction after Korn performed
Bush had the unfortunate task of following Korn on the event’s first night. In a new interview with Kerrang!, frontman Gavin Rossdale recalls how it felt when the festival organization asked him to calm down the crowd that was already getting rowdy:
“I love my sort of naiveté in the fact I, classically, completely didn’t get the memo about what was going on. I just walked out onstage. We came in from a bubble, landed onstage in a bubble, but had a beautiful time.”
“In retrospect, it’s like if you didn’t know anything about skiing, and you just like, came down the mountain really fast with no idea of what you were getting into.”
“If someone had told me where we were on that bill, after Korn, and what it’d be like, I’d say, ‘No one should go on that slot,’ you know. Put a preacher on, maybe!”
He told NME, “For us it was incredible. I was really stupid and naïve. I didn’t get the sense of what was going on in terms of the looming toxic masculinity there because I was so obsessed with [Jimi] Hendrix and Janis Joplin and that original Woodstock.”
“When I went there I just thought that we had a chronic responsibility to just reflect what they had set out to do. Obviously, I’d been at incredible festivals in Europe, but when we first broke in the ’90s they didn’t have these massive festivals [in America].”
“So it was brilliant to come on there and sort of feel the weight of responsibility of those incredible musicians that went before us and create a sense of unity. I walked out to over 200,000 people and it was madness and brilliant.”
“I never experienced any of that [other stuff that went on] because after the gig we went somewhere else to play. I still can’t get my head around the rapes that happened.”
“There was just complete lawlessness. At that point, it becomes all about those victims and yet we don’t get to hear enough about their recovery and wellness. They’re the ones that matter. I think the bands like the [Red Hot] Chili Peppers playing ‘Fire’, that wasn’t their fault. They didn’t expect it [fans to set the site on fire]. But yeah, what a mess man.”