The first feature film in the Music Box series directed by Garret Price and executive produced by Bill Simmons in Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage is set to premiere on July 23rd on both HBO and HBO Max. Coinciding with the 22nd anniversary of a dark three-day excursion in pop culture history, the film takes a thorough examination of the gathering that was intended to tap into the ethos of unity and alternative culture at the core of the original 1969 iteration of the festival.
Contrasting the golden era of love, peace, and harmony, with the turn of the century era angst and commercialism, the story examines how cutting corners to trim costs, along with the extreme heat and aggressive-music fueled tension ultimately led to the perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. While the 1969 edition become synonymous with free love and unabashed connectivity, the 99 edition marred the brand with overt toxic masculinity in the form of rampant destruction, unforgettable scenes of fire and chaos, and multiple reports of unchecked sexual assault.
Chronicling the three day event in July of 1999, the event offers a snapshot of the era with a line-up showcasing the biggest names in music that dominated both television and radio at the time. The aggressive undercurrent of the music, combined with substandard sanitation conditions, inadequate access to free drinking water, and historic levels of heat would eventually result in an societal unraveling localized within the festival footprint.
The documentary utilizes the various vantages points of the festival, going onstage with the bands, backstage with the event's organizers and onto the festival grounds and camping areas with the mob to present a complete recount of the events leading up to the eventual collapse of the concert. The film touts interview footage from organizers Michael Langand John Scher, as well as cultural commentators Wesley Morris, Maureen Callahan and Steven Hyden. In addition, the documentary features first-hand accounts from musicians, including THE Roots' Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Moby, Jewel, The Offspring, and Scott Stapp of Creed as well as festival attendees offer an unfiltered portrayal of the chaos that eventually transformed what was to be a revitalization of music and harmony in three days of hell.
Music Box: Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, And Rage debuts Friday, July 23, (9:00 ET/PT) via HBO and available on demand via HBO Max. Watch the trailer below.