It’s just one of those years: HBO’s ‘Woodstock 99’ doc holds a “mirror” to America in 1999

What do you get when you combine a former military base, shoddy facilities, a bloated music industry, a clash of generations, unbearable heat and $4 water bottles, all set to the angry, nihilistic music that only the late ’90s could provide? Perhaps the most infamous music festival of the last 25 years.

Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, which premieres today on HBO, tells the story of the ill-fated event, which ended in chaos and riots amid three days of boiling temperatures and overflowing toilets, as well as death and sexual assault.

In addition to exploring how it all went wrong, director Garret Price tells ABC Audio he wanted to use Woodstock ’99 as a “mirror” to the cultural and sociopolitical issues of America in 1999.

The doc mentions everything from the Bill ClintonMonica Lewinsky scandal to the rise of Napster and the Columbine shooting, and examines how the older generation that experienced the original 1969 Woodstock tried to push its values on the younger ’99 audience.

“If I could find a way to mix all these together and show that Woodstock ’99 was this big mixing bowl of the things that were going on culturally, with some poor planning, and people falling victim to the mythology of the original Woodstock, it creates this thing that devolves over three days,” Price explains.

All of this, of course, was soundtracked by the biggest rock bands at the time, including Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock. Each musical moment in the film, Price shares, was “methodically chosen.”

“There’s subtext…I wanted to use in the lyrics of these songs, and really allow me…to step back and look at these bigger picture ideas,” Price says.

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