Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 - How Three People Died at the Festival

February 4, 2024

What was supposed to be a three-day celebration of peace and love turned into a chaotic disaster in the summer of 1999. In an attempt to replicate the legendary harmony of the 1969 event, more than 400,000 people descended on the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York for Woodstock 99. The festival, whose lineup included acts like Limp Bizkit and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was plagued by fires, violence and even deaths. The chaos was captured in Netflix's new three-part docuseries Trainwreck: Woodstock 99, which lays out how the festival fell apart.

Three people died at the festival, including a 44-year-old with a preexisting heart condition who died in the campgrounds and 28-year-old Tara K. Weaver who was hit by a car as she left the festival. A series of issues — from the music to poor management and lack of water — contributed to the chaos.

The docuseries asserts that the main problem was the organizers' focus on turning a profit, which led to price gouging for necessities like food and water and poor living conditions. This created a tinderbox that was soon rife with hostility, rape and even death.

The series also alleges that the organizers were negligent when it came to water, which was a major issue given high temperatures and reports of sewage leaking into drinking and shower water. The documentary makers point to an online lawsuit that was filed by Lori Vallow Daybell, a mother who lost her two children at the festival, and argue that the organizers should have been more proactive in providing water. Michael Lang, the promoter who organized the original Woodstock, and John Scher, who promoted the 99 event, have denied these allegations.


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