‘Like a horror film’: revisiting the Fyre-esque disaster of Woodstock 99

‘Like a horror film’: revisiting the Fyre-esque disaster of Woodstock 99

It would be easy, as the director Garrett Price says in the opening seconds of his documentary Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, to structure a film about the disastrous music festival held on a July weekend in 1999 as a comedy. The reboot of Woodstock for an audience mostly born after the original festival in 1969 was a proto-Fyre meltdown of grotesque American excess, a panoply of late 90s nonsense – Kid Rock strolling on stage in a white fur coat, Limp Bizkit as a main draw, mostly young, white, male Gen-Xers paying to see nu metal acts in a poorly managed swamp of filth. But the easy jabs, the sheen of cultural nostalgia over any Woodstock, particularly the first one, mask what actually, says Price, “played out much more like a horror film”. Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage captures an event that devolved spectacularly, with a palpable current of misogyny, white male rage, entitlement and cynical commercialism. The facilities built at an old air force base in Rome, New York – the irony of a new Woodstock …
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