THE Woodstock ’99 festival had no shortage of shocking moments.
Held over three days in July 1999 within the walled confines of the former Griffiss Air Force Base, the festival is widely regarded by many as one of the most disastrous of all time.
Woodstock ’99 was the brainchild of Michael Lang, who co-created the original Woodstock 30 years earlier.
That festival promoted peace and love in light of the American war in Vietnam.
In 1969—at what was a pivotal moment in music history—more than 400,600-acre fans flocked to a 600-acre ranch near Woodstock, New York, to see 32 acts, including Santana, Janis Joplin, and The Who.
But 30 years later, more than 200,000 rock fans came to Rome, New York to see the artists Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica and Limp Bizkit perform.
And the festival is remembered for much more than those who took the stage.
At the 1999 festival, attendees were not allowed to bring their own drinks, including water.
Instead, if they wanted bottled water, attendees had to pay more than $4 at the concession stands.
Those in attendance also had the opportunity to drink from communal fountains, but the lines were incredibly long.
But many of these fountains were not working and unsanitary.
More than 7,000 people had to be treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration — at least in part because of the lack of water.
Festival-goers were marred by squalid conditions as the weekend progressed.
Toilets overflowed at the festival, causing a bigger problem than anyone could have predicted.
The situation became so dire that the site’s sanitation facilities completely collapsed.
Festival-goers thought they were covered in mud, but later realized in scorching temperatures that they were caked in poop.
At least five women were allegedly raped during the festival.
A person who was crowd surfing was reportedly raped in the mosh pit while Limp Bizkit was performing on stage.
By the end of the weekend, more than 1,200 people had been injured, 44 had been arrested and at least four women had reported being sexually assaulted.
The assault allegations led to an investigation by the New York State Police, but it is believed that many other cases of rape and sexual assault went unreported.
Only one of the 44 arrested was charged with a sex crime, according to reports at the time.
Drug use was widely reported at the festival.
Of the three people who died at the festival, two were killed by an overdose of drugs – presumably heroin.
At one point during the festival, after Fatboy Slim’s DJ set, more than 100,000 people tried to cram into the Rave Hangar.
Employees described seeing people on all fours, standing in line against the wall, having sex, while others banged their heads on the floor, high from the drugs.
Three festival-goers died over the weekend.
David Derosia, 24, died of heat stroke while watching Metallica.
Derosia’s family filed a lawsuit against the organizers of Woodstock ’99, along with six doctors who worked at the festival.
The family accused them of negligence for not providing enough fresh water or adequate medical care to the 200,000 fans in attendance.
Other attendees who died during the festival included a 44-year-old man with a pre-existing medical condition.
Another person has died in a car accident on the way home from the festival.
During the closing set of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Woodstock organizers began handing out thousands of candles to the public.
The action was an attempt to bring the festival back to its 1969 roots with a vigil against gun violence.
The wake would coincide with the end of the Chili Peppers set.
Chaos broke out when the band spontaneously decided to cover Jimmy Hendrix’ song Fire.
The band was taken off the stage and the festival ended abruptly.
However, the destruction had only just begun.
Fans used the candles received to destroy and burn everything in their path.
Finally, state troopers arrived to end the riots, but the damage was already done.
‘A war zone’
Festival-goers said by the end of the weekend, the scene looked more like a war zone than the location of a music festival.
Drew Auman had traveled to the festival from Ohio to cover the event for the local press.
He told The Sun that tensions boiled over after revelers spent several days caked in the mud under the blazing sun.
He watched the pandemonium unfold from a press box to the right of the main stage.
Auman, now 45, said he recalled crowds “dragging” a Mercedes-Benz through the mud before the vehicle flipped on its side.
He said, “It turned into a kind of war zone, with fires, smoke, people breaking things and hitting cars and stuff. It was chaos.”
By the end of the fateful festival, more than 1,200 people had been injured.