Carson Daly says Woodstock ’99 was ‘male toxicity at its worst’

Carson Daly says Woodstock ’99 was ‘male toxicity at its worst’ and thought he was going to DIE – as new Netflix docuseries reveals how 300,000 rioting fans set fires, overpowered security and sexually assaulted women at car-crash festival

  • Daly, now 49, was a 26-year-old MTV host when he attended Woodstock ’99 
  • There were an estimated 300,000 at the poorly organized event in Rome, NY 
  • The crowd grew increasingly irritated with organizers who had failed to provide them with shade, adequate drinking water, showers or sewage 
  • By the end of the three-day weekend, after being whipped up into a rage by bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn, the crowd overtook the event
  • Daly said he felt like he was going to ‘die’ and that he had to be evacuated
  • On Monday morning, he said it was ‘male toxicity’ at its worst 
  • There were multiple reports of sexual misconduct at the event, including an alleged rape that occurred in the back of a van in the crowd
  • The horrors of the festival are laid bare in the new Netflix series Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 

Carson Daly says the car-crash Woodstock ’99 was ‘male toxicity at its finest’ and thought he was going to die at the music festival, the horrors of which are now being laid-bare for the first time in depth by a new Netflix docuseries. 

The TV host was among a group of young correspondents sent to cover the music festival in upstate New York by MTV in 1999. The festival – which billed itself as the modern reincarnation of the iconic 1970s Woodstock – was a disaster from the beginning. 

Three people died, dozens were hospitalized and there were multiple reports of women being sexually assaulted in the crowd. 

The Mickey Mouse security teams were immediately outnumbered and overpowered and in the end, festival organizers along with musicians and journalists ended up running from the event while angry crowds set fire to the vendor stalls, broke into ATMs and tore down equipment. 

It was a worldwide news story at the time but is now being revisited with a post #MeToo glare thanks to the new Netflix docuseries Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99. 

Daly, now 49, was 26 when he reported from the festival for MTV. 

Carson Daly was a 26-year-old MTV host at the time.

Carson Daly was a 26-year-old MTV host at the time.

Carson Daly was a 26-year-old MTV host at the time. He is shown having bottles thrown at him, right, and giving a report back to MTV,  left, from the event

A crowd of around 300,000 overtook organizers at the Woodstock '99 festival in Rome, New York

A crowd of around 300,000 overtook organizers at the Woodstock ’99 festival in Rome, New York

By the end of the weekend, the unruly crowd began toppling equipment and setting fire to stalls

By the end of the weekend, the unruly crowd began toppling equipment and setting fire to stalls

The crowd ended up setting fire to the vendor stalls and star trailers at the site at the end of the disastrous three day festival 

An aerial view of the overwhelming crowd at Woodstock '99 in Rome, NY

An aerial view of the overwhelming crowd at Woodstock ’99 in Rome, NY 

The documentary shows him being pelted with garbage and plastic bottles at one point. 

On Instagram this weekend, after being inundated with questions from friends and fans about what it was like, Daly admitted that he thought he was going ‘to die’. 

‘All I can say is I thought I was going to die. It started off great…and then started getting pelted with bottles, rocks, lighters, all of it. 

‘It got insane. Nightfall and the prisoners were officially running the prison. My boss Dave says to our staff/crew backstage: ‘We can no longer guarantee your safety.’ 

‘I remember being in a production van driving recklessly through corn fields to get to safety. It was so crazy and a blur now. 

‘I just remember feeling like I was in another country in a military conflict. I have so many fun memories from that era, this was not one of them.’ 

Carson, now 49 (right), told co-hosts on Today that the festival was 'male toxicity at its worst'

Carson, now 49 (right), told co-hosts on Today that the festival was ‘male toxicity at its worst’ 

There were multiple reports of women being groped and sexually assaulted in the crowd

There were multiple reports of women being groped and sexually assaulted in the crowd 

On Monday morning, Daly told colleagues at the Today show that the festival was ‘male toxicity at its worst’.

‘Everything that could have gone wrong did. It was male toxicity at its worst… it was unhealthy.’ 

The documentary aired on Netflix on August 3 and has already amassed hundreds of thousands of views. 

It paints a picture of a poorly organized event where the key players tasked with putting it together cared more about profit than the safety or wellbeing of the people there. 

Musical acts were treated well backstage but in the sprawling festival site, kids had nowhere to find shade, put trash or even fill up their water bottles. 

The artists who performed, namely Korn and Limp Bizkit, are portrayed as carelessly whipping the crowd up into a frenzy. 

Kid Rock during Woodstock '99 in Saugerties, New York in Saugerties, New York, United States

Kid Rock during Woodstock ’99 in Saugerties, New York in Saugerties, New York, United States

Rioting fans broke into the ATMs to steal cash after being charged upwards of $20 for a bottle of water

Rioting fans broke into the ATMs to steal cash after being charged upwards of $20 for a bottle of water 

One of the most shocking things to have happened at the three-day event was when the crowd commandeered a van and drove it through the mosh-pit during Fatboy Slim’s performance in the ‘Rave Tent.’

When police got to the van and opened it, they found an unconscious girl inside and a man standing over her, doing up his pants. The insinuation in the documentary is that she was raped in the back of the vehicle, hidden in plain sight of the crowd. 

One of the event organizers, Michael Scott Lang, died in January, before the docuseries aired. 

He and show promoter John Scher are largely blamed for the chaos. 

In one scene, he tries to explain away the crimes committed at the festival by saying they are on par with those carried out in a city with a population the size of the crowd. 

Three people died at the festival, including David Derosia, a 24-year-old who died of heat stroke after collapsing in the crowd. His mother filed a lawsuit against the organizers in 2001, and it remains unresolved.

Tara Weaver, a 28-year-old woman, died at the festival after being hit by a car as she left a performance. An unidentified 44-year-old man also died at the festival. 

A handful of lawsuits were filed against the festival and were settled privately but no one has been criminally charged.  

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