- With just three weeks until the Woodstock 50 festival,acts are dropping out and organisers have not secured a venue. This isn’t the first Woodstock anniversary event that’s come upon some trouble.
- The ’69 festival, which was about music, peace, and love, was honored with a 30th-anniversary music festival in 1999.
- Woodstock ’99 was marred with riots and violence.
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In 1969, half a million people flocked to upstate New York to celebrate music, peace, and love at the first Woodstock Music and Art Fair. That weekend went down as one of the most important events in cultural history.
Fifty years later, organisers are trying to put together an anniversary event called Woodstock 50. Despite the event scheduled for mid August (just a few weeks away), several acts have pulled out and organisers may be changing its venue. It’s not the first time a Woodstock anniversary has seen challenges.
In 1999, festival promoters attempted to honour the original Woodstock with another music festival in upstate New York. By the end of the weekend, rioters looted, burned, and destroyed the festival in its entirety.
From location to food prices, here’s how the 1969 and 1999 music festivals differed.
Between August 15 and 18 in 1969, people flocked to Bethel, New York, for a historic music festival.
The festival was conceived to help fund the building of a recording studio in Woodstock, New York. When the festival producers couldn’t find a location in Woodstock, they decided to hold it in Bethel, New York, which is 50 miles from Woodstock and just over 100 miles from New York City.
In 1999, another musical festival was held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Woodstock.
This music festival was held in Rome, New York, on a former air base during a weekend in July.
In 1969, almost half a million people attended the music festival in New York.
Festival planners expected no more than 200,000 to show up in Bethel. However, when the festival started, thousands flocked to the free-loving festival. The promoters decided to take down the fences and allow everyone to enjoy the concerts for free on the 600-acre farm.
Meanwhile, more than 200,000 attended the 1999 music festival.
Tickets to the festival cost $US150.
In 1969, the festival had iconic performances from Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, and Sly and the Family Stone.
Jimi Hendrix raked in the most money at Woodstock, earning $US18,000, while Janis Joplin earned $US7,500, and The Who was paid $US6,250.
On the other hand, the 1999 Woodstock festival featured Limp Bizkit.
Woodstock ’99 had a very different type of line-up, with Verne Troyer – who played Mini Me in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” – as the emcee. In addition to Limp Bizkit, the schedule included Kid Rock, Creed, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Korn.
In 1969, Woodstock concertgoers were able to connect with nature while enjoying the music.
Meanwhile, at the 1999 festival, concertgoers suffered heat exhaustion because it was held on asphalt pavement.
Woodstock ’99 did not offer the same opportunity to connect with nature. Instead, the later festival was held on a black tarmac, which made the summer’s heat even more unbearable. There was also a 1.5-mile walk between the two main stages, so many suffered from dehydration. In fact, 700 people were medically treated for heat exhaustion.
Organisers struggled to serve the massive crowds at the original Woodstock, but everything stayed pretty civil.
Since Woodstock’s organisers drastically under projected the number of attendees, the festival ran out of food rather quickly.Food, water, and supplies had to be airlifted into the area to help feed the hungry concertgoers.
Thirty years later, the organisers again struggled to feed the giant crowd, but concertgoers retaliated.
The price of water and food was notoriously high at the 30 year anniversary Woodstock. It cost $US4 for a bottle of water and $US12 for a personal pizza. This angered many concertgoers, prompting them to throw water bottles at the stage as performers sang.
In 1969, they set up makeshift tents made of fabric.
These makeshift tents acted as covers when it rained over the weekend.
Back in 1999, they stayed in tents that were littered with trash.
During Limp Bizkit’s performance, a near riot broke out when he told the crowd to “break stuff.” People destroyed water fountains, creating mud pools all over the festival site.
The original Woodstock was a symbol of peace and love.
The original Woodstock took place during the peak of the hippie movement when peace, love, and harmony were the most prominent themes.
In 1999, however, many didn’t follow the rules nor adhered to the peaceful vibes of its predecessor.
In all, 44 people were arrested at Woodstock ’99. Another issue was the multiple accounts of sexual assaults. For example, many reported gang rapes during some of the performances (inside mosh pits, for example).
The original Woodstock wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. Lines of stalled traffic stretched for 17 miles.
Some concertgoers were delayed over eight hours because of traffic problems.
“The situation is hopeless and getting worse,” a state trooper said at the time.
Similarly, roads were blocked in 1999.
Traffic snarled during the ’99 festival as well, and some even sat in the road to relax in the summer heat.
The original festival left the farm in Bethel, New York, covered in trash and debris.
It cost tens of thousands of dollars and several days to completely clean up after half a million attendees.
But, on the last night of the festival in 1999, people rioted and destroyed everything.
On the last day of the festival, people started to get rowdy.Insane Clown Posse threw money into the audience to watch the massive crowd fight over it. Likewise, Kid Rock prompted people to throw water bottles at the stage. All of this led to a cataclysmic ending of the weekend.
They even set fire to cars and created bonfires from festival materials.
In addition to the fires, people broke into ATMs, overturned cars, looted supply trucks, and tore down speaker towers.
The Woodstock of ’69 turned the area into a dump, but it was to be expected at a large music festival.
Years later, the area where the original Woodstock took place is now open for outdoor concerts. The festival – not without its faults – went down as a game-changing moment in music history.
The festival in 1999, however, turned into a wasteland.
In the end, the ’99 festival was “dubbed the day the music died.”
- Read more:
- 15 apocalyptic photos from the Woodstock disaster of 1999 that prove it was the original Fyre Festival
- A Woodstock 50th anniversary festival to be held at the original site
- 26 vintage photos of music festivals that will make you want to go back in time
- 15 vintage pictures from the greatest music festival of all time
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