The Wretched Reality Of What Was Actually In The Mud At Woodstock '99

"The warning that I received, you may take with however many grains of salt you wish, that the brown acid that is circulating around us, is specifically not too good. It's suggested that you do stay away from that; of course, it's your own trip, so, be my guest," stage announcer Chip Monck famously warned attendees at the original Woodstock music festival in 1969 (via YouTube). Some 30 years later, the crowd received no such forebodings from festival organizers about another questionable brown substance at Woodstock '99, though they really could have used a heads-up. 

HBO has released a documentary chronicling the infamous music festival that, despite its benevolent origins of peace and love, ultimately morphed into a cataclysm of chaos and unruliness. "Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage" is now available to stream on the company's app/website. If you've seen it, you probably already know what we're referring to in that bit about a "questionable brown substance." If you haven't, well ... brace yourselves, because it's about to get really, really messy, folks. 

The unflushable truth

For three whole days, it rained profusely upon the crowd of nearly 500,000 at Woodstock in 1969, churning up a colossal hellscape of mud and inescapable mess across festival grounds (per History). However, nobody seemed to mind. Love and music were in the air, so why let a little rain and muck harsh the mellow? Well, it happened again in 1999, but this time, there was no rain, and the mud through which the crowd frolicked wasn't just mud. That's right: Your worst fear is about to come true. 

According to Insider, concert-goers at the Woodstock '99 reboot festival had no idea that the mud they were slathering their bodies with actually contained human feces. "Within the first 24 hours, you had kids rolling around in what they thought was mud, but was really human waste," one festival attendee who watched the griminess unfold before his eyes shared in the HBO documentary, as quoted by Insider. 

How did human waste get in the mud?

Various reports from festival organizers revealed that, after concert goers broke into water pipelines, the ground started turning into muck (via Insider). All right, so a little mud never hurt anyone. Stuff happens, right? Well, as it turned out, a number of Porta-Potties stationed throughout the territory also started leaking, so combine that with the spewing jets of water and ... things got far too unhealthy. 

Through and through, Woodstock '99 was a sanitation disaster. Insider reports that large barrels of water that were originally intended for drinking were placed across festival grounds, but they became makeshift baths as people started using them to clean their bodies off. This resulted in a shortage of suitable drinking water. Fans did little to halt the mixing of human waste with the dirt as they trudged the grounds soaking wet and jumped around in what they had no idea was liberally laced with feces, turning the whole place into one massive septic field. With live music, of course.