1999, 2022, Music, TV

Trainwreck [aka Clusterfuck]: Woodstock ’99

I think Jenn and I both thought his was the HBO documentary Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage. But instead it’s a mini series. It seems like some of the interviewees might have been in both, which sort of makes me want to watch the film, too.

This is an entertainingly told miniseries that could easily just be a film. It’s 142 minutes including three sets of credits so, with some diligent cutting, it’s probably just a 135 minute documentary. Anyway…

I’m glad I watched this. My memories of Woodstock ’99 are not great. I was likely just working or watching movies or both. I honestly thought everything happened on the Saturday night. I associate most of my memories with Limp Bizkit and the sound tower. But that is far from the whole story.

My biggest complaint about the documentary is that, until the final episode, it really feels like the series is letting the interviewees air their pet theories as to what was the cause of the chaos: loud music, too much nudity, too much garbage, expensive food and water. Very few people identify drugs and alcohol. But these pet theories too often dance around the systemic problems: bad site for the venue, not enough staff, not enough funds, not enough water and toilets, too expensive food and water. These issues are mentioned but they are not front-and-centre often enough.

But, fortunately, the final episode really just focuses on the chaos and does a better job of hinting at the “why.” Moreover, the organizers are allowed to impeach themselves. It takes a while to get there, but at least it gets there.

I do think this could have just been a movie. And I do think more time could have been spent on how the drive for profits created the conditions what encouraged chaos.


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