‘Woodstock 99’ trailer brings back bad memories of chaotic music festival

Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage
(Image credit: HBO)

Before Fyre Festival, Woodstock 99 was the event that wore the label of “music festival from Hell,” and with the new HBO documentary Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, it may be ready to reclaim that title.

Woodstock 99 was a three-day music festival that was meant to be a celebration of unity and counterculture idealism like the original Woodstock had been 30 years earlier in 1969. However, it soon proved, as one interviewee in the trailer says, that “it was not your parents’ Woodstock.”

Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage takes a look at where the emotions of America’s youth was at the end of the millennium, following the events of Columbine and the hysteria about Y2K. Add in scorching heat, broken porta potties, plenty of alcohol and a lineup of aggressive rock bands, the whole event turned into a chaotic mess that some describe as “the day the nineties died” and even has had reverberations to today. 

The trailer below offers a sneak peek at just how bad things got.

Directed by Garret Price, Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage will debut on HBO on Friday, July 23 at 9 p.m. ET, coinciding with the festival’s 22nd anniversary. It will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

The documentary is the first in what HBO is calling the Music Box series, which was created and is executive produced by Bill Simmons. Additional documentary films in the Music Box series include Jagged about Alanis Morrisette; Untitled DMX on the rapper after his release from prison; Listening to Kenny G, which looks at the polarizing views on the popular musician; Mr. Saturday Night details the untold story of Robert Stigwood; and Untitled Juice WRLD, about how the hip-hop star impacted the genre. All of these films are expected to debut in the fall of 2021.

This year is proving to be a big year for music-centric films. In addition to Woodstock 99 and the Music Box series, other music-related titles include Summer of Soul, McCartney 3,2,1, The Beatles: Get Back, not to mention the biopic Respect starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin.

To watch Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, viewers will need either a cable subscription to HBO or be signed up for HBO Max, which offers an ad-supported version for $9.99 or an ad-free version for $14.99.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.