Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst is finally talking about Woodstock ’99 — the second anniversary of the 1969 festival that offered throngs of attendees a polar opposite experience to peace, love and mellow music. Now the stuff of legend — and a stellar multi-episode podcast series from The Ringer called “Break Stuff” — riots, fires and sexual assault topped the bill 20 years ago, with the day’s hard rock and metal bands absorbing much of the blame for the chaos.
Durst was there on the stage as pieces of plywood ripped from the rafters were used to crowd surf atop the raucous and dehydrated in what would make the Frye Festival seem downright tame and well-organized by comparison.
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“Limp Bizkit is an easy target so bring it on,” Durst told Variety at the Los Angeles premiere of “The Fanatic,” a thriller he wrote and directed which stars John Travolta as a mullet-topped celeb stalker (it opens Aug. 30). “It’s easy to point the finger and blame [us], but they hired us for what we do — and all we did is what we do,” Durst added. “I would turn the finger and point it back to the people that hired us,” he said, in reference to original Woodstock co-founder, Michael Lang, who had joined forces with John Scher, the festival’s promoter.
In the decades since, Scher has conveniently singled out Durst as the man responsible for the rioting: “Fred Durst, who, if I haven’t said enough times, is a complete asshole … a moron,” Scher reportedly said. “He was completely out of his mind.” Korn’s Jonathan Davis, however, disagreed. “I think Bizkit is being blamed for it because they were the heavy band … I don’t think it was their f–in’ fault,” he has said.
Durst tries not to dwell on the negativity. “We were there having a good time,” he said. “Hey, everybody was having a good time as far as we knew. That’s the truth.”
But, in fact, a good time was not had by all, especially those who suffered broken bones, were trampled and groped and, in at least five instances, assaulted sexually. With the concert grounds burned and obliterated, Woodstock ’99 went down as one of the more disastrous concert events to take place and was a key reason for the unraveling of plans for a 50th anniversary 2019 edition, which was due to take place last weekend. As sung by Alanis Morissette, whom Durst mocked on the Woodstock 99 stage for her too “mellow” performance, isn’t it ironic?