To be sure there were no stabbing deaths at Woodstock '99 (à la 1969's Altamont), but there were fires, looting, vandalism and state troopers in riot gear--all for what some said was a reaction to pricey pretzels and other snack foods.
Yes, the 1960s really are long over.
Somehow, there were no major injuries and just seven riot-related arrests, including two for rock throwing, in the Sunday night melee, CNN reported.
Overall, state troopers recorded 31 pre-riot busts and two deaths--one from an overdose, the second from a heart condition.
"This is not the real Woodstock," a 31-year-old Detroit man told the Associated Press amid Sunday's chaos. "They messed up. They messed up the whole name of Woodstock."
The fun began during the final segment of the three-day fest. In what surely will go down as a terribly bright idea, the pop group Pax distributed "peace" candles to the masses. Then the closing act, the incandescent Red Hot Chili Peppers, took the main stage--and ripped into a rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" (as in "Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire.")
Pretty soon, trash cans were flying, light stands falling, a speaker tower toppled and bonfires ignited. In time, one of those "bonfires" was declared a three-alarm blaze by fire officials.
Some said there was a message to the melee--although not a terribly deep one, mind you. Concert-goers, who had baked all weekend in the East Coast's stifling heat and humidity, reputedly were frustrated by The Man's concession-stand prices.
"When [the riot] first started, there was something to it," Spencer Parker, 18, told the AP. "It has a little bit of meaning when you pay $4 for a pretzel."
Concert promoter John Scher called the turn of (ugly) events a "great shame."
"It put a permanent blemish on what happened here," Scher told reporters. "I think the kids made a mistake. They did not intend for this to happen."
Prior to the little riot thing, the concert generally had been considered a success, attracting more than 225,000 people and boasting a series of A-list acts, including Alanis Morissette, the Dave Matthews Band, and Sheryl Crow.
There were other dust-ups, to be sure. On Saturday night, Limp Bizkit's set was cut short when organizers cut the public-address system on account of fans tearing down a transformer, allstar says.
Woodstock '99, held at a former Air Force base in Rome, New York, marked the 30th anniversary of the seminal hippie ode to peace, love and blah-blah-blah. The concert also fell in the 30th anniversary year of Altamont, the doomed Bay Area fest that saw four people killed--one infamously stabbed during a set by the Rolling Stones.