Carson Daly: ‘I Thought I Was Going to Die’ at Woodstock ’99
The 22nd anniversary of Woodstock '99 recently passed, but the chaotic, riot-filled fest is back on the public radar thanks to the recent Netflix documentary, Trainwreck: Woodstock '99. Former MTV VJ Carson Daly is among those who've reflected on the events of Woodstock '99 via social media, summing up his experience at the festival by stating, "All I can say is I thought I was going to die."
At that point in his career, Daly was enjoying success as the host of MTV's TRL and given the network's history of covering major live music events, they definitely wanted to have a presence at Woodstock '99 as well. But MTV's presence only seemed to incite some of the crowd who took to pelting the host from his perch above the audience with projectile objects.
"I’ve been getting asked about #woodstock99 a ton recently due to the @netflix doc that’s out. All I can say is I thought I was going to die," said Daly.
The host recalled, "It started off great, TRL live from the side of main stage interviewing all the bands (like Jay from Jamiroquai) & then started getting pelted with bottles, rocks, lighters, all of it. It got insane, fast."
As detailed in the Netflix Trainwreck documentary as well as last year's HBO Max documentary Woodstock '99: Peace, Love and Rage, a mix of factors ultimately led to an unruly crowd that ended the festival weekend by starting fires on the grounds, with looting and rioting taking place and law enforcement being called to disperse the crowd from further destruction.
Extreme heat and humidity, a lack of shade, high food and drink prices and limited or unusable facilities put the audience on edge over the weekend as they rocked out to a lineup of acts heavy on the burgeoning nu metal scene of the day.
Daly continued his post recalling Limp Bizkit's controversial set from the weekend, which ultimately led to the MTV staffers to make the decision to leave the festival early.
"Nightfall, Limp plays 'Break Stuff' & the prisoners were officially running the prison," recalled Daly. "My boss @MTV Dave says to our staff/crew backstage, 'We can no longer guarantee your safety, it’s time to go!' I remember being in a production van driving recklessly through corn fields to get to safety."
Sharing the feeling he was left with from the weekend, Daly recalled, "It was so crazy & a blur now. I just remember feeling like I was in another country during military conflict. I have so many fun memories from that era, this was not one of them. Needless to say, I haven’t taken the fam back to Rome, NY for a vacation."
Daly's Instagram post features a variety of slides from the event, including a screenshot from the Trainwreck documentary, a shot of him interviewing Jamiroquai's Jay Kay and two photos of him dodging projectiles coming from the Woodstock audience.
The Woodstock '99 festival was staged between July 22-25, 1999 in Rome, New York. Over 400,000 people packed the Griffiss Air Force Base on the outskirts of Rome over the four days.
In the aftermath of the event, police investigated multiple rapes and sexual assaults. There were three deaths reported and the New York State Department reported treating over 5,000 cases related to the festival.