8 Music Festivals That Ended in Disaster

Woodstock 99

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Woodstock 99
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Festival Frenzies

Music festivals promise so much: Days worth of fun, an impressive and expansive lineup of performers, and comfortable accommodations. Typically, these multiple-day events are carefully curated with plenty of planning and organizing behind the scenes. Still, there ar a handful of festivals that have fallen flat on their promises and delivered some downright disastrous concerts instead. Here are some of the biggest flops of all-time.  

Related: 18 Ways Woodstock Changed the World

Fyre: The Greatest Festival That Never Happened

Fyre Festival (2017)

Exuma, The Bahamas

If Gordon Ramsay said, "This is the best thing I've ever eaten. You should try it," you'd probably take a bite. As such, when the likes of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid promoted 2017's Fyre Festival as a "luxury" event, festival-goers were convinced that it would be the party of a lifetime. Guests were promised luxury accommodations at the Bahamas-based event, leaving them to fantasize about elaborate food and extravagant amenities, especially since ticket prices were as much as $100,000. In true bubble-bursting fashion, the event didn't turn out as promised. Guests were served slices of cheese on a piece of bread, stayed in outdoor tents reminiscent of emergency shelters used after a hurricane, and faced a laundry list of other disappointments, to put it (very) lightly. The disastrous event even inspired the appropriately-named Netflix documentary "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened." 

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TomorrowWorld 2015
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TomorrowWorld (2015)

Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia

Listen, most of us can admit that bad weather has the potential to ruin an outdoor music festival, but poor organization definitely doesn't help matters. That's basically what 2015's TomorrowWorld amounted to. The colossal EDM music festival was obliterated by heavy rainfall, turning the entire venue into a muddy slop-fest. But where things really went south was when festival organizers failed to provide 3,000 camping guests with ample transportation, leaving them stranded, wet, and angry. The final day of the festival barred non-camping guests from attending the shows despite the fact that they had already paid for their tickets. Still, the festival returned the following year and attracted 180,000 guests. Forgive but not forget?

Snoop Dogg
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Bloc Festival (2012)

London, England

The once-beloved Bloc Festival was huge in the U.K. for five years until its demise in 2012. You know the extreme level of annoyance that courses through you when you arrive at the airport only to find that your flight has been cancelled? Bloc Festival goers might have experienced a similar feeling, except the festival was actually called off right in the middle of its first night — similar to getting told to get off the plane while it's in the air. Apparently, the event was overbooked and the venue rapidly became overcrowded, leading to issues with sound quality and understocked refreshments. One bar reportedly ran out of Budweiser by 10:30pm. The outlook was so detrimental that Snoop Dogg, who was set to headline the first night, never took the stage and festival goers were told the show would not go on.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2010
eff Kravitz / Getty

Electric Daisy Carnival (2010)

Los Angeles, California

Handcuffs and hospital beds were the tuneless grace notes of L.A.'s Electric Daisy Carnival. The event was jam-packed with carnival rides and five stages intended to entertain a crowd of 185,000 people. The size of the event sparked a need for on-site paramedics. At the end of the weekend, there were 226 reported injuries and 114 of them led to hospital visits. The chaos didn't stop at injuries, though: Dozens of festival goers were arrested at the event.

Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park by Karen Roe (CC BY)

Zoo8 (2008)

Kent, England

With a venue like Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, attendees to the Zoo8 music festival probably thought they were in for a wild time, but were instead met with conditions hardly fit for animals. The camping was crowded, there wasn't enough drinkable water, fences were falling down, safety concerns caused some of the stages to close, and multiple entertainers backed out at the last minute. The event really drove home the "this place is a zoo" saying. 

Glastonbury 2005
Jeff Kravitz / Getty

Glastonbury (2005)

Pilton, England

Mother Nature was not smiling down on 2005's Glastonbury music festival. The weekend-long festival saw record rainfall, getting washed out by about two months worth of rain in just a few hours. Tents were flooded,  festival goers remained in a constant state of soaked for days, and naturally, the sun didn't come out to play until the final day of the event.

Woodstock 99
KMazur / Getty

Woodstock ‘99 (1999)

Rome, New York

We can't talk about dumpster fire-esque music festivals without bringing up Woodstock '99. More than 400,000 people attended the colossal event, which was held at an air base in Rome, New York — a cement-covered space that was a far cry from the New York dairy farm where the original Woodstock was held in 1969. Festival goers were met with price gouging, unsanitary conditions, a lack of clean drinking water, riots, and violent crowds. The event was such a mess that it was chronicled on a Netflix documentary called "Trainwreck: Woodstock '99."

Altamont Free Festival
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Altamont Free Concert (1969)

Livermore, California

Occurring just four months after the original Woodstock festival, many people thought Altamont would be a similar type of event,. Alas, it wasn't at all a peace-promoting lovefest and was instead quite the violent affair. Over 300,000 people came to watch the free concerts which included The Rolling Stones (who were behind the creation of the event), Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and a handful of other bands. Members of the motorcycle gang Hells Angels were brought in as unofficial security staff in exchange for free beer. The Grateful Dead ended up refusing to go on stage with safety concerns after a member of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious by one of the Hells Angels bouncers. But it was during The Rolling Stones' performance that the most gruesome act of the night happened: One of the Hells Angels stabbed an 18-year-old who had a gun to death mere feet away from the stage. In total, the chaotic event ended with three more accidental deaths along with four live births in a bizarre circle of life-like unraveling.