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Woodstock 1999

Woodstock 1999 was the second rock concert (after Woodstock 1994) that attempted to emulate the success of the original Woodstock concert of 1969. The concert was marred by eruptions of violence and looting. As a culture-shaping event it was a failure, and as a profitable venture it was also unsuccessful.

Problems with Woodstock 1999

A clue to the seeds of this discontent may be found in the public statements of the promoters leading up to the concert, who described the site as "defensible" and proudly described the a 12-foot plywood and steel fence surrounded by a ring of barbed-wire fence intended to keep out gate-crashers. Promoters also hired 400-500 state troopers to enforce site security.

By the time the final act of the concert, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, took the stage, the general state of the massive crowds (over 200,000 people were estimated to be present) had deteriorated to the point where violence began to break out. In what news reports described as a "riot", fences were torn down and burned, ATM machines were tipped over and broken into, and vendor booths were looted and set afire. MTV, which had been covering the event live, was forced to pull its crew out. 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 police reviewed video footage to attempt to identify looters.