Woodstock '99

Coordinates: 43°14′N 75°25′W / 43.23°N 75.41°W / 43.23; -75.41
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Woodstock 1999
DatesJuly 22–25, 1999
Location(s)Griffiss Air Force Base (Rome, New York, U.S.)
Coordinates43°14′N 75°25′W / 43.23°N 75.41°W / 43.23; -75.41
Founded byMichael Lang, John Scher
Rome is located in the United States
Location in the United States

Woodstock 1999 (also called Woodstock '99) was a music festival held from July 22 to July 25, 1999,[2][3] in Rome, New York. After Woodstock '94, it was the second large-scale music festival that attempted to emulate the original 1969 Woodstock festival. Like the previous festivals, it was held in upstate New York, this time at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, roughly 100 miles (160 km) northwest of the original Woodstock site in Bethel. Approximately 220,000 people attended over the four days.[4]

The cable network MTV covered the festival extensively, and live coverage was available on pay-per-view. Westwood One held its radio rights.[5] Excerpts were released on CD and DVD.

The festival was marred by difficult environmental conditions, overpriced food and water, poor sanitation, sexual harassment and rapes, rioting, looting, vandalism, arson, violence, and several deaths, leading to media attention and controversy.[3] It has been described as "notorious", "a flashpoint in cultural nadir",[6] "like a concentration camp",[7] and like being "in another country during military conflict".[8]


Michael Lang, one of the original co-founders of Woodstock, agreed to partner with John Scher, a successful New Jersey concert promoter, for a 30th anniversary revival of the original Woodstock festival. Lang and original investor John P. Roberts had organized the original Woodstock festival, and later its 25th anniversary festival in Saugerties, New York. Lang would later highlight the primary issues in 1994 stemmed from inadequate marketing and lack of facilities. Another issue that had inadvertently caused trouble was a rain squall which had softened the ground and allowed gatecrashers to breach fences, leading the festival to offer little return in profit to any of the organizers.[9] Lang and Scher began organizing plans for the festival in the fall of 1998. Soon, Scher quickly began scouting for multiple high-profile acts of the time to draw a strong amount of media attention for the festival.[10] Rome mayor Joseph Griffo received Lang's proposal for the festival and approved the organization of the festival in an effort to revitalize the local area. Griffo later held a press conference with Hillary Clinton announcing the festival once the venue was secured.[11]

Organizers had attempted to hold a European leg of the festival in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the weekend prior to the upstate New York concert.[12] This version of the festival was ultimately cancelled. In announcing the cancellation, Michael Lang stated that more time was required in order to be able to hold a safe Woodstock event.[13]


Many of the high-profile acts such as DMX, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morissette, Kid Rock, Metallica, and Creed were popular or rising artists of the era. While no acts that performed at the original Woodstock festival took the stage at Woodstock 1999, two individuals did; John Entwistle of the Who performed a solo set and Mickey Hart (drummer of the Grateful Dead) played with his band Planet Drum. Jeff Beck was scheduled to perform but had to cancel due to a "scheduling conflict". He had been scheduled to perform at the original Woodstock festival; however, his band Jeff Beck Group broke up the week before.[14] Although the Doors rejected an offer to play at the first Woodstock, their guitarist Robby Krieger was a surprise addition to Creed's set, after he was invited to perform "Roadhouse Blues" with the group.[4]

Booking Conflicts[edit]

Marilyn Manson and Hole were initially reported to be on the bill but both later withdrew. Manson was suspected to have cancelled due to his dislike for other acts on the bill such as Insane Clown Posse and Limp Bizkit, though he later stated he refused the bill due to his band not being offered a primetime slot.[15][16][17] Hole were unable to perform due to conflicting tour dates.[18]

Foo Fighters were set to perform, but withdrew to finish work on There Is Nothing Left to Lose, coupled with guitarist Franz Stahl leaving the band.[19]

Sugar Ray was slated to appear at Woodstock 1999 but were forced to cancel last-minute due to lead singer Mark McGrath being too sick to perform.[20]

Stone Temple Pilots were pitched to perform at the event, though conflicting tour dates created logistical problems from allowing them to perform They had also declined an offer to perform at Woodstock '94.[21]

Al Green was also supposed to appear, but backed out following John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death in a plane crash.[22]

Reportedly; multiple nu metal bands such as Slipknot, Rob Zombie, System of a Down, Powerman 5000, Static-X, and Deftones were each offered slots, but all were obligated to perform the final two remaining dates of that year's Ozzfest tour in California that weekend.[23][24][25][26] Godsmack were the only band at Ozzfest who accepted the offer, and were flown overnight from San Bernardino to Rome for their set on July 25.[27]


Aerial photo of Griffiss Air Force Base in 1997

The festival was held on the east side of Rome at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, a Superfund site.[28] The U.S. Air Force had closed the B-52 base in September 1995, and it was later redeveloped as Griffiss Business and Technology Park.[2][3][28]

The promoters were determined to avoid the gate-crashing that had occurred at previous festivals. They characterized the site as "defensible", thinking a 12-foot (3.7 m) plywood and steel fence would keep out those without tickets. Attendees broke through a 100-foot section of this "Peace Wall" on Saturday night: not to get into the show, but to get out.[29] Along with the fence, about 500 New York State Police troopers were planned to be providing additional security against gate-crashers.[30]

In addition to two main stages, secondary venues were available. These included several alternate stages, a night-time rave tent, and a film festival (sponsored by the Independent Film Channel) held in a former airplane hangar.

Finances and promotion[edit]

Woodstock 1999 was conceived and executed as a commercial venture with dozens of corporate sponsors and included the presence of vendor "malls" and modern accoutrements such as ATMs and email stations.[31] Scher hoped to avoid the large losses that Woodstock '94 had incurred, planning for the 1999 event to turn a profit; this resulted in numerous cost-cutting measures such as the extensive subcontracting of onsite amenities.[32] Advance tickets for the event were priced at $150 (equivalent to $260 in 2022) plus service charges,[33] at the time considered costly for a festival of this type.[34] Tickets purchased at the gate cost $180.[35]

There were about 400,000 attendees.[33] A total of 186,983 tickets were sold according to reports shortly after the festival, "a gross take of $28,864,748" at the time.[36] Ticket sales were advertised as being capped at 250,000, the capacity of the venue.[37] It has been estimated that ticket sales were worth $60 million in revenue, but that number appears to have been based on believing there were 400,000 paid attendees.[38] Ticket sales may have been underreported to avoid extra contractual payouts to Rome and Oneida County:[39]

Perhaps the discrepancy stems from the deal between Woodstock 1999 promoters and the Griffiss Local Development Corporation (GLDC). MTV cites that the GLDC, the city of Rome, and Oneida County were expected to receive $1 million to host the festival and an additional $250,000 if ticket sales topped 200,000.

Any tickets sold beyond 200,000 would then result in an additional $5 (per ticket) paid to all parties. While it's clear more than 186,983 people attended Woodstock 1999, on paper, only that many tickets had been recorded being sold.

Based on that figure, the promoters wouldn't have been required to dish out the extra money it had promised the GLDC.[39]

The promoters stated $38 million in original production costs, not including damages, fees, or emergency costs for extra security.[40][41] Promoters had originally budgeted the festival at $30 million.[42]

Rome itself became a draw for attendees who patronized its bars, restaurants, and stores and stayed in its hotels for the concert's duration. It was estimated that tourists spent $30-$40 million in the area by the Oneida County Convention and Visitors Bureau.[35]

Woodstock 1999 was simulcast on pay-per-view television, with early reports of 500,000 purchases.[43] In addition to documenting the performers, MTV's pay-per-view coverage included coverage of the site and vox pop interviews with attendees, which some reporters later considered to resemble gonzo journalism.[32] With 500,000 purchases of $59.95 simulcast passes, revenues could have been as high as $30 million. Five years earlier, Woodstock '94 had made over $9 million on its pay-per-view sales to 220,000 households.[5] Other revenue came from CD and DVD sales after the festival.

"We knew we'd never make a significant on-site profit," Scher says. "It's all about the after-show marketing. We believe that we have a great event to build upon."[43]

Scher, Lang, and Griffo held press conferences on the morning of each day of the festival, as well as the morning of the day after, in which they repeatedly denied or downplayed the poor conditions and violence of the festival.[32]


Vendors paid $500 (equivalent to $880 in 2022) to sell at Woodstock during the four-day festival. There were many non-vendors who attempted to sell on a smaller scale on the paths to and from the concert and camping areas.[citation needed]


The festival featured a diverse assortment of acts, early reviews for many of which were positive.[44][45] The Associated Press deemed Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, Insane Clown Posse and Rage Against the Machine the "breakout stars" of the festival.[46] Performances from The Offspring, DMX, Sheryl Crow, and Jamiroquai also received praise. However, critical and public attention would quickly turn to the deteriorating environment and crowd behavior.



The oppressive heat that weekend was in excess of over 100 °F (38 °C), adding to the adverse conditions experienced by attendees. The former Griffiss AFB included large areas of concrete and asphalt with little or no shade, placing the entire facility within its own heat island. This effect not only caused temperatures to rise during the day, but also kept them elevated at night - Korn frontman Jonathan Davis recalled in a 2021 interview that after the band's performance on Friday night, he collapsed backstage from heat exhaustion and some workers placed ice bags on him. The East and West stages were 2.3 miles (3.7 km) apart, forcing festivalgoers to walk across hot concrete surfaces. There was not enough room on grassy areas for many campers to set up their tents, and some resorted to camping on asphalt. In an effort to find shade, multiple concertgoers took refuge from the heat under tractor-trailers or tables.[29] During a 2021 interview, Noodles of The Offspring criticized the facility for its unsuitability for the festival, telling reporters “You know there was a festival ground in Germany that was literally built by Hitler, and we’ve played there a buncha times, great venue, buncha fun. That airbase was less hospitable than a place built by Nazis”.[47] Another point of controversy was the overflowing amount of trash present across the site. Initially, numerous trash cans were placed around the area, but shortly after the first day concertgoers began overturning the cans and drumming on them or rolling them across the field. The festival's budgetary issues extended to neglecting trash collection; subcontracted sanitation workers often failed to appear, allowing trash to pile up throughout the site.[48]

Participants were met with high concession prices once inside. Food and water sold by onsite vendors were marked up to inconvenient prices; bottled water was sold for $4.00 ($7.28 in 2023). The vendors at the festival were subcontractors whose contract with the organizers gave them complete control over pricing, which they regularly abused to raise prices throughout the festival as supplies wore thin and attendees became agitated.[2][49][32] As an alternative, festival-goers faced a long trek or cramped travel via looping buses to Rome's modest shopping areas, where stores had long lines and low stock. Most outside food and drink was confiscated by security, though several concertgoers reported that security often overlooked or were bribed to ignore attendees bringing in various drugs.[49][32][50] People stood in long lines to access the free water fountains, until frustration led numerous concertgoers to break the pipes to provide water to those in the middle of the line. As a result, numerous mud pits began forming around the concert site.[49][32] The groundwater and soil at the site had been contaminated by heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as trichloroethylene and PCBs from its time as a military installation, hence its designation as a Superfund waste cleanup site.[28]

The number of toilets installed proved insufficient for the number of attendees. The onsite portable toilets and showers soon became unusable and overflowing, and numerous male guests resorted to urinating on the side of the portable toilets or behind vendor stalls.[49] Excrement from the toilets flowed into the mud pits and camping areas, mixing with water from pipes broken by vandals. In an effort to stay cool, multiple attendees began jumping into the mud pits and water troughs unaware of the contamination, resulting in many cases of trench mouth and trench foot.[32][51][52]


The festival's hired security were another source of blame for the violence. Organizers were forced to avoid hiring conventional security contractors due to budget constraints, instead enlisting numerous locals from a nearby job agency. Nearly all of the "Peace Patrol" officers were unarmed, unqualified, and often uninterested in performing their duty; many of the officers employed reported unruly conduct from their peers within the first day of the festival, including the theft of personal items from employee lockers and guests. The lack of interest from security became overly apparent as it was reported that numerous attendees entered with a large number of fake passes, with few being confiscated by security.[53] Multiple security guards confiscated outside alcohol from arriving attendees which they later drank themselves. Numerous attendees were reported to have brought drugs or other illicit substances into the festival, which guards ignored or were bribed to allow in.[54] A large number of employees simply sold their spare security uniforms to other concertgoers in exchange for cash or abandoned their posts entirely.[32][55]

Sexual assault[edit]

Large numbers of attendees walked around naked or topless, which some took as an invitation to sexual harassment or assault. Substance abuse and a culture of misogyny, combined with inattentive security, contributed to the widespread abuse of women throughout the festival. During The Offspring's performance, singer Dexter Holland condemned the crowd's lewd behavior after witnessing numerous women being groped in the audience, as did Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay during their sets.[56][57] At least five rapes and numerous other sexual assaults and harassment were reported to authorities.[58] Eyewitnesses reported a crowd-surfing woman being pulled down into the crowd and assaulted in the mosh pit during Limp Bizkit's set.[59] During the post-stage rave on Saturday night, an apparently intoxicated man stole and drove a maintenance truck into the rave hangar through the crowd during Fatboy Slim's set.[4][32] Staff reported seeing a teenager being raped in the back of the truck while attempting to remove it from the hangar area. Fatboy Slim and his entourage were asked to evacuate the premises immediately, fleeing to a nearby airport and flying out the following morning.[32][60] A volunteer also reported seeing a gang rape during Korn's performance.[61]

Incidents and violence[edit]

Friday, July 23[edit]

Unruly behavior from those in attendance at the festival was noted as soon as the second day. Prior to announcing DMX's performance on the East stage, numerous male concertgoers began chanting "show your tits" at actress Rosie Perez as she walked up to introduce him with Stephen Baldwin. Annoyed by their chanting, she then retorted "I ain't showing you all shit!" DMX later performed the song "My Niggas" and had the crowd chant along with him; media outlets later reacted to the set in confusion and outrage, as the overwhelmingly white audience said the word "nigga" along with him despite the call and response that he initiated and encouraged.[62][63]

The "show your tits" chant returned during Sheryl Crow's set, with Crow responding, "You'd have to pay a whole lot more than you paid to get in to see my tits". Crow reported that one audience member had thrown feces at her during her performance of "My Favorite Mistake".[64] Crow would later criticize the performance and the festival due to the behavior of the crowd, and stated that she had considered ending her set early out of disgust.[65][66] She recalled the performance as the "single worst gig I have ever had" in 2019.[67]

A fan pelted The Offspring singer Dexter Holland with a beer bottle during the band's performance of "Have You Ever", but he continued performing unfazed. Toward the end, before their performance of "Self Esteem", Holland criticized the men in the audience for molesting the women; as payback, he suggested the women do the same to the men by "grab[bing their] fucking balls!"

Korn's performance on Friday night considerably riled up the crowd. Following the performance that evening, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale had reportedly expressed anxiety about following Korn due to fears that the crowd's energy could turn violent.[68][69] This sentiment was shared by Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, who later admitted that his band's scheduling was mismatched with Bush's and felt he had inadvertently placed Rossdale in a dangerous position with the crowd. Bush's performance ultimately proceeded without incident and marginally calmed the crowd.

Saturday, July 24[edit]

During The Tragically Hip's performance opening the festival's second day, numerous fans anticipating Kid Rock's performance pelted the band with bottles. Frontman Gord Downie began singing "O Canada" in appreciation for the large amount of Canadian fans present waving their Canadian flags as a humorous attempt to ignore the turbulent crowd. Many other fans in the crowd began booing the band and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in response.[70][71]

Ryan Miller of Guster recalled performing in front of an immensely hostile crowd who were displeased with their band's set. Drummer Brian Rosenworcel felt they were unfit for the lineup, as most in attendance were impatiently waiting for nu metal or hip-hop acts such as Limp Bizkit or Ice Cube. "There was this aggressive culture to both the artists that they chose and the audience that they drew, and that is not Guster's bread and butter....We were a melodic band and [the others were] Limp Bizkit and Korn and even like DMX [and] I was like, What did we get ourselves into?".[72]

Alanis Morissette noted the apathy of the crowd during her set, as a large majority of fans in attendance were waiting for Limp Bizkit's performance. Some began booing near the end of her set as they grew impatient.[73]

Appalled by the prices of concessions, Kid Rock and Wyclef Jean demanded the audience throw their empty water bottles onstage in between songs.[32][74]

Violence and vandalism began noticeably occurring during the evening's performance by Limp Bizkit, though several accounts reported that attendees began throwing trash cans or damaging vendor stalls throughout the day leading up to the performance. Concertgoers began moshing violently, visibly destroying nearby structures, and utilizing the plywood barriers to crowd surf during the band's performance of the song "Break Stuff".[4][75][76][77][78] The band's vocalist, Fred Durst, addressed the crowd; "They wanna ask us to ask you to mellow out a little bit. They say too many people are getting hurt. Don't let anybody get hurt, but I don't think you should mellow out. Mellowing out? That's what Alanis Morissette had you motherfuckers do. If someone falls, pick 'em up."[75] Durst addressed the crowd again during a performance of the band's hit song "Nookie": "We already let all the negative energy out, it's time to reach down and bring that positive energy to this motherfucker. It's time to let yourself go right now, 'cause there are no motherfuckin' rules out there."[79] During the band's performance of both songs (particularly "Break Stuff"), a large number of attendees began ripping plywood off of the nearby structures and perimeter fence as they attempted to surf on the broken panels; this resulted in several pieces collapsing, dropping crowd surfers onto other fans and crushing them. Following "Nookie", Durst walked to the edge of the stage and asked the crowd to assist him as he attempted to crowd-surf on the broken plywood, on which he sang "Faith". Security implored Durst to not crowd-surf, but he was undeterred.

Durst later expressed that he had wanted to demonstrate himself enjoying the performance with the audience, though he was later met by his manager and several police officers who informed him the plywood was broken off of buildings as fans began damaging structures during his band's performance.[80] Trent Reznor later mocked Durst during an interview with Rolling Stone: "Fred Durst can surf a piece of plywood up my ass".[81] Jonathan Davis, who was present for Limp Bizkit's performance with Korn bassist Fieldy, condemned Durst's conduct.[82]

Widely blamed for the violence, Durst later stated in an interview, "I didn't see anybody getting hurt. You don't see that. When you're looking out on a sea of people and the stage is twenty feet in the air and you're performing, and you're feeling your music, how do they expect us to see something bad going on?"[75] Former Limp Bizkit manager Peter Katsis defended Durst in an interview for Netflix's 2022 documentary on the festival, claiming that “pointing the finger at Fred is about the last thing anybody should do. There really isn't a way to control 300,000 people. The best thing he could do is put on the best show possible, and that's what he did.”[32]

Numerous fans reported seeing women being assaulted or groped during Limp Bizkit and Metallica's performances.[83]

Sunday, July 25[edit]

Due to the rapidly devolving conditions, violence continued to escalate through the final day. Jewel recalled in a 2021 interview that there was an eerie feeling during her performance due to the audience being tensed up and bitter. The tension came to a head during the concert's final hours as Red Hot Chili Peppers performed on the east stage and Megadeth performed on the west stage. Fans had begun regularly throwing bottles at the stage during Creed's set earlier in the day out of anger. One fan began shining a laser pointer at Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine in the middle of their performance, angering Mustaine as he criticized the crowd's unruly behavior.[84] A group of peace promoters, led by the anti-gun violence organization PAX (later renamed the Center to Prevent Youth Violence), had distributed candles to those stopping at their booth during the day, intending them for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Columbine High School massacre to be held during the Chili Peppers' performance of "Under the Bridge";[85] this had not been mentioned to or approved by local firefighting authorities.[32] During the band's set the crowd began to light the candles, with some also using candles and lighters to start bonfires. In addition to the plywood, hundreds of empty plastic water bottles and trash that littered the lawn area were also used as fuel for the fire, which had spread to both stages by the end of the performances. Bonfires began to appear in the distance during Megadeth's final two songs. After the Red Hot Chili Peppers finished their main set, the audience was informed about "a bit of a problem." An audio tower had caught fire and the fire department was called in to extinguish it; Scher claims that they refused the call. Shortly after the tower began burning, a large group of concertgoers climbed the base of the scaffolding and the tower collapsed onto the field, though no individuals were crushed.[32][86]

Griffo pleaded with singer Anthony Kiedis to return to the stage and calm the crowd in the midst of the chaos; Kiedis exclaimed there was nothing he could do to quell the aggressive crowd as the fires began growing to a startling intensity. After returning to the stage, Kiedis remarked of the fires, "Holy shit! It's, uh, Apocalypse Now out there."[32][87] The fires escalated rapidly into violence and further destruction, resulting in the intervention of New York State Police riot control squads.[32][88]

Multiple media outlets blamed the Red Hot Chili Peppers for inciting the fires after performing a cover of the Jimi Hendrix song "Fire".[89] Kiedis wrote in his autobiography, Scar Tissue, that Hendrix's sister had instead asked them to play "Fire" in honor of Hendrix and his performance at the original Woodstock festival. He continued: "It was clear that this situation had nothing to do with Woodstock anymore. It wasn't symbolic of peace and love, but of greed and cashing in."[89]

Prior to the start of the performances that day, rumors began arising about a possible unannounced performance following the Red Hot Chili Peppers' set; Prince, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson were among the artists thought to be the secret closing act. Scher and Lang continued to hype up the finale to the festival during multiple press conferences earlier in the afternoon. Following the Chili Peppers' performance, it was revealed to be a laser show and footage of Jimi Hendrix performing at the original festival in 1969, much to the anger of the attendees; the audience began to boo and attack the vendor booths in large groups.[90][91]

Many large, high bonfires were burning before the bands left the stages for the last time. Participants danced in circles around the fires. Looking for more fuel, some tore off plywood panels from the supposedly inviolable security perimeter fence, known as the "Peace Wall". ATMs were tipped over and broken into, trailers full of merchandise, food, and equipment were forced open and burglarized, and numerous abandoned vendor booths or tents were turned over and set afire. Frightened festival staff members barricaded themselves inside the airbase's control tower whilst the chaos unfolded outside. The few vendors left in attendance fled the site in fear of an attack from the hostile crowd.[92][93][94] It was reported that approximately $22,000 was robbed from ATMs.[35]

MTV was hired to cover the festival extensively; however, as the environment devolved, attendees grew increasingly hostile towards anchors and MTV's staff. Carson Daly recalls being pelted by bottles and rocks frequently while he was covering the festival.[95] The network evacuated its entire crew amidst the violence on Sunday night. Host Kurt Loder described the scene in USA Today:

It was dangerous to be around. The whole scene was scary. There were just waves of hatred bouncing around the place...  It was clear we had to get out of there...  It was like a concentration camp. To get in, you get frisked to make sure you're not bringing in any water or food that would prevent you from buying from their outrageously priced booths. You wallow around in garbage and human waste. There was a palpable mood of anger.

Kurt Loder to USA Today[96]

By 11:45pm, a large force of 500-700 state troopers, local police officers, and various other law enforcement arrived.[3][97] Most had riot control gear and proceeded to form a riot-line that flushed the crowd to the northwest, away from the stage located at the eastern end of the airfield. Some reports state that numerous members of the crowd offered strong resistance, and they dispersed back toward the campground and out the main entrance.[98] Others claim that the riot line allowed the concertgoers to "tire themselves out" in the campground area and that the fires were not contained until "well after sunrise".[97]


On July 24, 24-year-old David DeRosia collapsed in the crowd during Metallica's performance.[99][100] Concert medical staff initially tried to treat his symptoms, which were seizures, and what doctors suspected to be a drug overdose. DeRosia was transported to the Air Force base medical center and was then airlifted to University Hospital in Syracuse. A little more than an hour after he had collapsed, DeRosia's body temperature was 107 °F (42 °C). The following afternoon, he had fallen into a coma and a doctor had diagnosed him with "hyperthermia, probably secondary to heat stroke". DeRosia died at 12:09 pm on Monday, July 26, having never awoken. The autopsy report ruled the death as accidental and listed the cause of death to be hyperthermia, along with an enlarged heart and obesity. In 2001, DeRosia's mother filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against the promoters of Woodstock 1999 and six doctors who worked at the event, maintaining that DeRosia died because of the concert promoters' negligence in not providing enough fresh water and adequate medical care for the attendees.[99]

Two other deaths were reported during the festival. A 44-year-old man was reported to have succumbed to heat exhaustion on Friday; he had also been an attendee of Woodstock '69.[97] A 28-year-old woman identified as Tara K. Weaver was hit by a car while walking along an access road while leaving the concert.[51][101]


Reports suggest that 42 to 44 people were arrested over the course of the festival.[35][97] Ten state troopers and two state police supervisors were reportedly demoted or suspended for their behavior at the festival:[35]

A supervisor of two state troopers who had posed with naked female attendees was suspended; a New York State prison guard was charged with sodomizing a 15-year-old girl during the riots; 253 people had been treated at area hospitals. The official numbers of fans treated on-site is between 4,000 and 4,500, yet Dr. Richard Kaskiw, one of the few area doctors who worked the medical tents, says that he was told by Vuoculo—who issued the official stats—that the numbers were far higher, the 8,000 to 10,000 range.[97]

Shortly afterwards, the New York State Department of Health reported 5,162 medical cases related to the festival.[51]

After the concert, members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) gathered outside the New York offices of one of the promoters to protest the sexual violence against women which had occurred.[58] Police investigated four instances of rape that occurred during the concert.[102] In October 2000, a woman sued Oneida County and Michael Lang for personal injury over sexual assault at the festival.[103] Numerous lawsuits were filed against the organizers over the poor environmental conditions of the festival.[104]

The New York Times solicited festival performers Rage Against the Machine for their opinion on the controversies surrounding the festival. Guitarist Tom Morello wrote on August 5, 1999, in Neil Strauss's Times column:

Hey man, leave the kids alone. I've had enough of the frenzied demonization of young people surrounding Woodstock '99. Yes, Woodstock was filled with predators: the degenerate idiots who assaulted those women, the greedy promoters who wrung every cent out of thirsty concertgoers, and last but not least, the predator media that turned a blind eye to real violence and scapegoated the quarter of a million music fans at Woodstock '99, the vast majority of whom had the time of their lives.[105]

The post-festival cleanup of the site took three weeks. Organizers spent an estimated $78,000 re-sodding the stage and mosh pit areas.[35] Approximately 12 trailers, a small bus, and a number of booths and portable toilets were damaged by fire in the fray; some of the trailers had coolant or propane tanks that exploded.[97][106]

After numerous lawsuits and fines resulting from the incidents occurring throughout the event, the city of Rome only profited $200,000 from the entire event.[107]

Following the event, San Francisco Examiner journalist Jane Ganahl cast doubt on the ability to promote another high-profile Woodstock concert and described the event as "the day the music died".[108]

Lang attempted to orchestrate Woodstock 50 in 2019 at Watkins Glen International Raceway (later provisionally moved to Merriweather Post Pavilion) as a 50th anniversary of the original festival. Due to logistical issues and lack of capital funding, Lang was forced to cancel the festival on July 31, 2019.[109]


Less than a week after the conclusion of Woodstock '99, promoters in Indio, California, announced the inaugural Coachella festival, with an emphasis to distance themselves from the unrest and damage that unfolded in Rome.[110][111]

The Simpsons poked fun at the festival's incidents during the episode "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", in which Otto attends the festival; his clothes catch fire and he refuses to pay $8 for water, only to be saved by a girl who uses her water bottle to extinguish his injury.[112]

The Daily Show's then-host Jon Stewart humorously reported on the riots and vandalism, claiming the destruction and vandalism were all corporately sponsored. Stewart and his co-host Beth Littleford poked fun at the demographic of most of the attendees claiming "It wasn't a riot, because the audience was 99% white, the upstate New York authorities classified it as 'youthful exuberance'".[113]

Event schedule[edit]

During the four days of the festival, various bands and artists[114] performed on one of the three different stages: "West Stage", "East Stage", and "Emerging Artists Stage".

July 22, 1999 (Thursday) (pre-show)[edit]

West Stage[edit]

AMP3.com Emerging Artists Stage[edit]

  • Immoral Fibres[4]
  • Simmi[4]
  • Chris Glenn[4]
  • Gary Durdin & The Clay Pinps
  • Johnny Rushmore[4]

July 23, 1999 (Friday)[edit]

East Stage[edit]

West Stage[edit]

Emerging Artists Stage[edit]

July 24, 1999 (Saturday)[edit]

East Stage[edit]

West Stage[edit]

Rave Tent[edit]

July 25, 1999 (Sunday)[edit]

East Stage[edit]

West Stage[edit]

Emerging Artists Stage[edit]


Music from Woodstock 1999 was released on a two-disc compact disc set, Woodstock 1999. The album features 32 performing artists and was released on Epic Records on October 19, 1999.[133]

A DVD of concert highlights entitled Woodstock 99 was released in March 2000. It features the more positive aspects of the concerts with one song each from 29 of the participating acts, along with interviews from the musicians and concert-goers.[134]

Most of the Bush performance is available on the DVD The Best of '94–'99.[135]


The Ringer produced an eight-part documentary podcast series on the Luminary hosting site. Entitled Break Stuff: The Story of Woodstock '99, the show is a look back at the concert, the venue, the artists, the violence and the truths and misconceptions on what caused Woodstock 1999 to be such a disaster.[136]

The documentary Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, directed by Garret Price, premiered on July 23, 2021, on HBO and HBO Max.[137][138]

On August 3, 2022, Netflix premiered a three-part documentary titled Trainwreck: Woodstock '99, directed by Jamie Crawford, with new interviews with concertgoers, journalists present at the festival, artists who performed at the festival, and co-promoters John Scher and Michael Lang.[138][139]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]