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In July 2021, HBO released Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love And Rage, a gripping and shocking two-hour documentary diving into the disaster that was the third and final (for now, at least) edition of the iconic Woodstock music festival and how it all came crashing down. As fascinating as it was maddening, the documentary did an astounding job of telling the story of the festival that some say was the day the ‘90s died and all its major players and incidents, including the infamous riot that tarnished the Woodstock name and made headlines around the world.
After finishing Woodstock ’99: Peace, Love and Rage you may be wondering where you can watch other documentaries that focus on various musical festivals, both good and bad, as well as touch on similar topics. Well, we have put together a list of a few options including movies about the previous two Woodstocks as well a festival whose promoters failed to learn from others’ mistakes….
Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace And Music (Amazon Rental)
Released in 1970, Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace And Music serves as sprawling chronicling of the first Woodstock music festival held the previous August. Featuring iconic performances from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane, the Academy Award-winning documentary gives viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at the most famous music festival of the the 20th Century.
This is a perfect follow-up piece for anyone who was fascinated by Woodstock ’99’s section on the festival’s beginning but want to see more from the experience and see what it’s all about. While just as muddy, Woodstock has a much more soothing and peaceful tone.
Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert (YouTube Original)
Released on what should have been the first day of the 2020 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, the documentary Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert tells the story of the festival and how it has grown from a small event in the California desert to a mainstay of modern culture. With a year-by-year breakdown that shows everything from The Pixies' reunion to the famous Tupac hologram and much more, Coachella is fun, enjoyable watch.
You may recall hearing about Coachella in the final moments of Woodstock ’99 and how it was the antithesis of the anger and destruction of the infamous event. That’s touched on in greater detail in this YouTube Original documentary and how the promoters dealt with the fallout of Woodstock ’99. Also, it features so many great musical performances.
Summer Of Soul (Hulu)
Questlove's 2021 Hulu documentary Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) tells the story of the Harlem Cultural Festival in the summer of 1969 (the same time as the original Woodstock) and how its footage — including performances by B.B. King, The Staple Sisters, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and multiple other iconic black musicians — was saved after sitting unused and collecting dust in a basement for 50 years. This exciting, fascinating, and all-around beautiful documentary sheds light on one of the most significant cultural events that few knew about for decades…
If you’re looking for a more positive music festival experience then Summer of Soul is the way to go. With resonating messages and some of the best live footage you’ll see of some of the most important musical artists of the 20th Century, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Gimme Shelter (HBO Max)
The 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter follows the Rolling Stones on the final weeks of their 1969 U.S. tour, ending with the infamous Altamont Free Concert that was supposed to become the West Coast version of Woodstock but would become marred in controversy. For those not aware, Altamont has gone down as one of the most shocking concerts of the 20th Century and resulted in the violent stabbing death of concertgoer Meredith Hunter at the hands of a member of the Hells Angels, who were providing security for the event.
Even 50 years after its initial release, Gimme Shelter, which is one of the best documentaries on HBO Max, is still regarded as one of the greatest rock and roll documentaries for the way it captured one of the most important moments of the late 1960s. And like Woodstock ’99, the documentary is set in a decade that started out with so much promise and optimism but ended on a sour note with death and destruction.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
The 2017 Fyre Festival was supposed to be the biggest party and music festival the world had ever seen, but the event, which was to take place on a private island in the the Caribbean became one of the biggest stories of the year for all the wrong reasons. The Netflix documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened shows how the festival went from a remarkable idea to a disastrous situation that luckily didn’t result in any deaths.
This documentary (like other docs based on the controversial event) shows a festival that makes Woodstock ’99 look like a well-oiled machine. With startling reveals about the lack of planning, poor execution, and fraud committed by the organizers, the movie will have you asking the question: Did we not learn from Woodstock’s mistakes?
Woodstock ’94 Festival Summer (Vimeo)
Between Woodstock and Woodstock ’99 was the 1994 edition of the festival, which not only didn’t end with a riot but also featured one of the greatest collection of artists to play an event of this size. The 2017 documentary Woodstock ’94 Festival Summer provides viewers with a ground-level look at the concert, its attendees, and what it was like to live in mud and filth for a weekend in New York State.
Woodstock ’94, is sometimes lost in the shuffle and overlooked despite being an all-around great event simply because there were no known major scandals and everyone seemed to be having a good time (even with the mud). If you watched Woodstock ’99 and wanted to see more of the 1994 festival then look no further than this short but in-depth look at the concert experience.
Bonus: Woodstock ’99 Podcasts
If you want an even deeper dive into the Woodstock ’99 story and its impact on the perception of everyone involved, there are two podcasts worth checking out: Break Stuff: The Story of Woodstock ’99 and Podcast ’99.
The Luminary exclusive podcast Break Stuff features a lot of the talking heads from Woodstock ’99 and was even produced in part by The Ringer, who put together the HBO documentary. It features a lot of the same stories but provides more details about the crimes, deaths, and legacy several decades later.
But if you want an extensive look at Woodstock ’99 (and I mean extensive), then Podcast ’99 is, without a doubt, your best bet. With 47 episodes (and counting), this in-depth exploration of all things Woodstock is fascinating to say the least. This includes full rundowns of each day of the festival, every musical performance, and “survivor stories” from artists, vendors, security guards, and attendees that provide an unparalleled look at the event.
All of these documentaries have something to add to the Woodstock ’99 story in some shape or another but there are plenty of other films worth checking out, many of which are available on HBO Max.