Woodstock 1999

From Academic Kids

Woodstock 1999 was the second rock concert (after Woodstock 1994) that attempted to emulate the success of the original Woodstock concert of 1969. Like the previous concerts with the same name, it was held in upstate New York, this time near Rome. The concert, with an estimated 200,000 attendees, was marred by eruptions of violence, sexual assault, and looting. Though many concertgoers reported enjoying the event the consensus was that it failed to emulate the "peace and love" environment of 1969, and it was also economically unprofitable.

Failures of Woodstock 1999

There were several reasons why Woodstock concertgoers were unhappy. Foremost were the prices: Tickets to the 3-day event were $150 (leading to graffiti along the lines of "$150 = Too Much") and food prices were high. In addition, concertgoers were forbidden from bringing their own food or water into the concert. Finally, concertgoers learned that the field where the concert was held, a former military installation, was a Superfund site.

Public water fountains were available, but many were destroyed and others were guarded by "mud people", who would throw mud at anyone wishing to access the available water.

Poor sanitation and security, the lack of available water, and 88-degree heat (31 C) led to a dangerous concert environment. Recognizing the dangerous situation, many water and food vendors requested permission to sell their goods at cost, but the Woodstock organizers refused, recognizing that granting this permission would represent lost profits. Were violence to break out, the vendors rather than the concert organizers were at risk.

Prior to the concert, the promoters of the event, determined to avoid the gate-crashing that had occurred at previous festivals, had described the site as "defensible" and proudly described the 12-foot plywood and steel fence surrounded by a ring of barbed-wire fence intended to keep out those without tickets. About 500 New York state policemen were hired for security. The promoters may have anticipated some degree of rioting and chaos, or may have simply taken precautionary measures necessary for any large gathering of people.

Violence escalated in the final hours of the concert. In what news reports described as a "riot", fences were torn down and burned, ATMs were tipped over and broken into, and vendor booths were looted, turned over, and set on fire. MTV, which had been providing live coverage, removed its entire crew. MTV host Kurt Loder was quoted in the July 27, 1999 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."

Police later reported that at least four rapes had occurred during the concert. Seven arrests were made on the final night of the concert and, afterward, police reviewed video footage, hoping to identify and hold accountable looters who, amid the chaos, had not been arrested.

List of Performers

External Links

Gonzo's Adventures at Woodstock '99 (http://www.reprimandmag.com/woodstock.htm)

ja:ウッドストック 1999 de:Woodstock III


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