The Good becomes The Bad and Ugly

Trainwreck – Woodstock ’99 (2022)


3 Days of Peace & Music“. That was the slogan of the Woodstock from 1969. 3 days and therefore 3 episodes of this Netflix documentary tell the story of the 3rd edition of the legendary festival, with acts like James Brown, Wyclef Jean, DMX, Ice Cube, The Roots, Lit, Live, Alanis Morisette, Sevendust and Moby.

And it all started with good intentions. In interesting preliminary talks “Trainwreck” tells, how the organizers including Michael Lang and John Scher wanted to convey the feeling of the flower power era, what already failed in 1994. At the same time, they want to save money to make profit, what ended in a disaster before e.g. for Ja Rule and the Fyre Festival

Due to bad sanitary facilities and missing and polluted water, the mood of the festival guests embossed by movies like American Pie and Fight Club was charged quickly. And the music had changed as well since the 60s from Punk in the 70s to Extreme Metal in the 80s arriving to Nu Metal in the 90s, that the organisers basically didn’t even know.

So they invited the biggest bands at the time, but the atmosphere was already scary, so The Offspring asked what’s up. During Korn, the audience jumps in waves and the motto is not to fall down. As Bush are relatively quiet in comparison, they are bit afraid to play but actually calm down the crowd.

The TV broadcast even encourages the manic behavior and the anger rises with the prices, the waste and the heat, while the artists get Converse for free. So the visitors start throwing things at the MTV team and harass women. And of course Limp Bizkit do what Limp Bizkit do and „Break Stuff“. 

During Fatboy Slim, they find a girl raped in a van, that was driven into the hangar, where the concert took place. People start to leave the festival, and as the organizers hand candles to them during the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it came as it had to come… 

There are many leaps in time, but the documentary scores with exciting archive footage and photographs and interviews with guests, musicians and organizers. They are still completely undiscerning, that it was their greed and lack of respect, that made something so beautiful this horrific place.