Top Eight Notorious Concert Disasters

[this photo has been removed -- ed.]

Recently, indie-rock juggernauts Arcade Fire were prevented from playing a gig in Portugal by NATO, which is having a summit on the same date. Arcade Fire offered to play a day ahead of time, but NATO decided the risk to the Canadian/Houstonian gaggle was simply too great and told them no.

The situation leads us to imagine what possible threat could have been looming to justify such a cancellation? What disaster is being narrowly averted by postponing the biggest indie concert Portugal would have seen this fall?

We can only imagine. Would it have been worse than the following?

8. Woodstock '99: Nu-Metal Fans Surprise Many By Turning Unruly

Every single Woodstock concert festival has been a disaster. The original was rain-soaked, plagued with sound problems, woefully inadequate on the bathroom facilities, had people taking bad drugs, and one guy even got run over by a tractor. It succeeded because the attitude of the day caused the hardships to bring the audience closer together and fostered a sense of unity.

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A similar vibe infused Woodstock '94, when once again the rain turned everything in the area to a soupy, shitty mess. Not so for Woodstock '99.

A lot of people like to blame the acts present for what happened, and sure, they're definitely of a different caliber than the earlier Woodstock acts. It's just about believable that watching Korn, Limp Bizkit and Insane Clown Posse could put one into a significantly different state of mind than you'd achieve watching adjacent sets from Janis Joplin and Country Joe and the Fish.

But "Break Stuff" doesn't normally cause Limp Bizkit fans to erupt into violence. Nor did it that night, actually; despite common reports to the contrary, the riots didn't start until the Red Hot Chili Peppers played. The truth is, those acts play together all the time with nary an incident.

The main instigator of the violence appears to be the crass price-gouging on the part of the concert's vendors. Charging $12 for a single-serving pizza, $4 for a single bottle of water, and then providing only limited free water fountains and toilet facilities is an example of the twisted sense of commercialism held by the vendors, who couldn't have been more anti-Woodstock if they'd actually held up protest signs. Nothing says "Fuck you, kid" like taking his water away from him at the entrance to the park and then charging him four bucks when he gets dehydrated in the 100 degree heat.

So when the kids started kicking over porta-potties, burning vendor stands, and breaking water pipes, we were fully sympathetic to them... right up until the raping started.

Unfortunately, some Neanderthal assholes turned a good old-fashioned "damn the Man" riot into an excuse to give in to their baser natures. Multiple sexual assaults were reported, and the concert promoters were eventually sued for their poor planning and price-gouging. How about this: We leave Woodstock where it belongs, in the annals of history, and have fun at our own goddamn concert festivals, can we do that?

Attempting to recreate the experience seems to be pretty well a cursed proposition.



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