Woodstock ’99 Performer Says Crowd Was ‘MAGA Before There Was MAGA’

For these of us sufficiently old to recollect, Woodstock ’99 was a defining—and probably pivotal—second for stay occasions and our tradition at giant. It was speculated to be in regards to the music (together with the peace and love of its namesake competition), however as an alternative turned synonymous with destruction, greed, violence, misogyny, alleged sexual assault, and normal nihilistic mayhem.

In the brand new Netflix documentary Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99, which dropped on August 3 (a few 12 months after HBO’s Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage), director Jamie Crawford takes viewers inside the large competition at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York, on July 22–25, 1999. The story is informed by video footage and photographs, and through the individuals who have been there: promoters, employees engaged on the bottom behind the scenes, performers together with Bush’s Gavin Rossdale, Jewel, and Korn’s Jonathan Davis, concertgoers, safety and medical groups, MTV VJs and journalists who lined the occasion.

Though the fest boasted an array of genres and performers—James Brown, Sheryl Crow, and Wyclef Jean have been all on the lineup—the largest attracts have been the craze rockers, teams like Korn, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and different ’90s-era artists whose foreign money was poisonous masculinity earlier than it even had a reputation.

Kid Rock at Woodstock '99
Woodstock ’99 was meant to embody the spirit of affection and peace of its namesake, Woodstock 1969, however infamously devolved into three days of accelerating mayhem. Above, Kid Rock, who carried out on the competition in Rome, New York, poses with followers and an American flag within the pit.

Also on the invoice was Guster, a band then made up of lead singers Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner, and percussionist Brian Rosenworcel, 20-somethings who had met as undergrads at Tufts University and had a loyal New England fan base, however hadn’t made the mark of the Rocks and Fred Dursts of the world—and performed a wholly completely different type of music.

They ended up on the invoice, Rosenworcel and Miller informed Newsweek, due to their connection to Metropolitan Entertainment, which was (and nonetheless is) run by John Scher, one of many masterminds behind Woodstock ’99, together with authentic Woodstock founder Michael Lang. (Guster’s 1997 album Goldfly was a three way partnership between Warner Bros. and Metropolitan.) Beyond that, Rosenworcel mentioned, the band did not belong there.

“There was this aggressive culture to both the artists that they chose and the audience that they drew, and that is not Guster’s bread and butter….We were a melodic band and [the others were] Limp Bizkit and Korn and even like DMX [and] I was like, What did we get ourselves into?” Rosenworcel mentioned.

Miller echoes that, however added that they have been “pumped;” this was an enormous gig for them, and the largest present they’d performed up to now.

Guster at Woodstock '99
Guster acting at Woodstock ’99, courtesy of Brian Rosenworcel.

Their account of the occasions of the weekend squares with that of the documentary. “You could feel the simmering resentment of the audience over the weekend,” Rosenworcel mentioned. “You could feel that the corporate side of it was not endearing itself to the people who chose to attend.”

Lang, who died this previous January, and Scher are portrayed in Trainwreck as, at greatest, naively negligent and, at worst, greedily and willfully blind to the degrading situations of the competition as attendees wilted beneath the extraordinary summer time solar and had much less and fewer entry to wash water for ingesting or bathing.

“In terms of watching it devolve,” Miller mentioned, “I have a very vivid memory of the Porta Potties flowing over and people swimming in excrement. The [price of] water was starting to go up. People were starting to vandalize the plywood barriers and take them off. And then the Red Hot Chili Peppers thing happened and [the crowd had candles]…and I remember…thinking, This started out as a music festival, trying to reconcile the destruction that was happening…standing in the middle of this field where there’s a car on fire.”

The candles that have been handed out to festival-goers, Trainwreck paperwork, have been meant to be a post-Columbine assertion on gun violence, although who thought it was a good suggestion to present flammable objects to (at this level within the weekend) 150,000 overtired, overheated younger folks is anybody’s guess.

When Rosenworcel ventured out into the gang after Guster performed its Saturday set on the West Stage, he says “it felt MAGA before MAGA. I guess I had no idea until we were there witnessing it the degree to which this alternative rock scene had burgeoned into Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Korn and bands that I couldn’t understand. There was no part of me that could get one of those songs, because we were so focused on melody and their focus was on harnessing the attitude and energy and connecting with anger, really, of their audience, and we just had a different lens.”

Rosenworcel questions the supply of the gang’s depth. “What were those kids so angry about?” he requested. “Is it just a general male angst? Because we know it still exists, but like, what were the conditions politically or culturally that led to that audience embracing the anger of those bands and wanting to moshpit it out of their system?”

He—like almost everybody within the documentary—factors to the oppressive warmth as at the very least one issue within the gradual dehumanization of the gang. “I cannot underestimate the role that the heat played in this,” Rosenworcel mentioned.

The mostly-asphalt Air Force base provided few alternatives for shade, and folks sought out no matter slivers they may discover.

“I saw people sleeping under trucks, I saw people f–king under trucks,” he added. “We had a tour bus parked there with AC, and at one point they brought like 10 Playboy bunnies onto our bus because they just needed some air conditioning.”

In the tip, Rosenworcel left early—”the air conditioner on the bus broke, so I just remember lying on the floor of the bus because it was cooler down there”—and Miller and their bandmate Gardner needed to hitchhike house.

In September 1999, Guster’s third studio album Lost and Gone Forever, which introduced on legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, was launched, and Rosenworcel mentioned that was the tip of the band’s days enjoying alt-rock festivals. “We course-corrected when Lost and Gone Forever came out and went on tour with Barenaked Ladies. [It was] like, ‘Oh, here are nerdy Canadian people who love us. This is where we belong.'”

Newsweek has reached out to Scher for remark.

Leave a Comment