The infamous Woodstock '99 festival is the subject of a new documentary series from Netflix. Comprised of spectator commentary, media reporting of the event, and unseen fan-shot video, the series unravels how the ill-fated festival did just that. Meant to be a celebration of the peace and love that embodied the 1969 festival, Woodstock '99 rather quickly spiraled into a putrid scene devoid of harmony and riddled with chaos, destruction, and assault.
In a statement announcing Clusterf**k: Woodstock'99, executive producer Tom Pearson said, "What caused the festival to explode into violence? Was it a product of late 90s societal dysfunction, fueled by entitled frat boys? Incitement by the aggressive music of headlining rap metal bands – Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine? Or the inevitable result of ruthless commercial exploitation by the festival organizers?"
Limp Bizkit in particular took much of the heat for the festival's deterioration into madness. In a 2016 interview with Metal Hammer, singer Fred Durst said "We turned up and expected people to know what we're about. We're about having fun and when I say, 'Break your fucking face tonight,' I don't mean it literally. It was a song for people to stand up for themselves against bullies and bad people. If I had known to make that clear, I'd have done that from the very beginning, but I didn't.
"The whole thing exploded after we did what we normally do at every one of our concerts – bring fun… We get offstage and they removed us from the premises and we were just going, 'Why?'. They tell me the plywood I was surfing on had been ripped off buildings and I'd incited a riot. We couldn't fucking believe it. I just wanted to go back out there and I wanted to say something to tell them to calm down and they wouldn't let me. They gave people peace candles the next day, and they used them to burn the place down and they blamed that on us too. Kurt Loder [MTV presenter] was on TV talking shit about us and we couldn't believe it."
The band may have been the scapegoat, but ultimately, it was too little, too late for Woodstock '99. A herd mentality, the stench of corporatocracy, and white male privilege in a post-Columbine and pre-#MeToo era ultimately sealed the festival's fate as one of the biggest catastrophes in modern memory. The trailer includes commentary from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who famously made a plea for calm during the RHCP's set) and Jonathan Davis of Korn, who remarks, "When you see it with your own eyes, it's ten times more shocking." You can check the trailer out above.