Written by on January 5, 2023

Every summer in the tri-states we get excited for the glut of country concerts we can attend all over the states. We will travel several hundred miles and sleep in less than perfect conditions in order to have fun and listen to some great Country music. WE Fest, Summerfest, Country Fest, Country Jam, and Country Boom are just a few that we pack up the sleeping bags and coolers and head to. There can be rain and hot, humid days and some food that isn’t always the best for us but it doesn’t matter as long as we have a good time at a great show. The most famous of all outdoor shows has and always will be Woodstock in 1969. A bunch of hippies that gathered for a weekend of peace, love, and music in a New York field in protest of the war in Vietnam. Some of the biggest names in music at the time played there and, although it wasn’t perfect by any means it has always been portrayed as the concert all outdoor concerts with multiple acts strive to be. In the 1990s a lot of those kids that attended Woodstock had kids of their own and those kids had accepted a lot of those 60’s vibes and counter culture ways of life. So, in 1994 there was a 25th Anniversary concert to commemorate the original. It wasn’t run very well and the weather was terrible. Most people forget that it even happened because 5 years later they decided to put on Woodstock 99 and that was, well a train wreck. Hence the documentary on Netflix “Trainwreck: Woodstock 99”.

I remember watching MTV and seeing all the stuff that was going on. This was all pre-internet and social media so you heard about it the next day or in reports a week later from magazines like Entertainment Weekly. All the reports were saying that the 99 version was not like the original Woodstock at all. In fact, it came off as more of a riot than a peaceful sit in with folks singing around a campfire. People were fighting and getting seriously hurt, there were fires being set, and there were reports starting to come out about rape and people almost dying. The news had some clips on from their reporters and some camcorder video that amateur videographers had taken, but nothing of the scope we would see if this all took place in today’s world. “Trainwreck” shows you the entire stupidity of the organizers, the plight of the workers, and the rage and animal-ism or the crowd that attended the festival. While the majority of people there wanted to have a good time there was definitely another element of concert goer that was there to simply live without rules. Their anger is fueled by the organizers that basically treated the festival and it’s attendants like they didn’t care. The documentary interviews people at every level of the event and shows you an ugliness that is hard to watch at times much less fathom. For some, you may watch this and think, “Man, maybe it wasn’t so bad the last festival I went to.” I would say that it is a documentary to watch whether you are old enough to remember it or not, and as a cautionary tale of how not to do something no matter how good your intentions are. The three 40 plus minute episodes don’t feel that long, but you’ll want to keep a glass of water nearby to wet your whistle as you sit with your mouth agape through most of it. Definitely get this on your Netflix watch list!

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