The Bill Simmons documentary Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage premieres on HBO July 23. Directed by Garret Price, Woodstock 99 is the first film in Simmons’ Music Box series. It tells the story of the three-day music festival that marked the anniversary of the iconic 1969 concert event. Woodstock 99 was promoted as being about unity, but “devolved into riots, looting and sexual assaults,” according to HBO.
Acts that played include Limp Bizkit, Insane Clown Posse, Sheryl Crow and Rage Against the Machine.
The Music Box series, created by Simmons, is a collection of documentaries about vital moments in music.
Woodstock 99 “focuses a spotlight on American youth at the end of the millennium, in the shadow of Columbine and the looming hysteria of Y2K, pinpointing a moment in time when the angst of a generation galvanized into a seismic, cultural shift,” according to HBO. “Set to a soundtrack of the era’s most aggressive rock bands, the film also reappraises the 1960s mythos, revealing hard truths about the dangers of rose-tinted nostalgia in the age of commercialism and bottom-line profits.”
Intense heat, poor security and lack of adequate sanitation and access to drinking water were issues at the 1999 festival.
Musical acts sharing their take on the festival include Moby, Jewel, The Offspring, Creed’s Scott Stapp and The Roots’ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter.
More films in the Music Box group will begin airing in late fall. They include Jagged, an exploration of Alanis Morissette and her “Jagged Little Pill” album, Untitled DMX, about the late rapper, and Listening to Kenny G, about the polarizing instrumentalist.
Simmons executive produces Woodstock 99 with Jody Gerson and Marc Cimino, along with Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller of HBO.
The film will stream on HBO Max.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.