Woodstock '94 was a music festival organized in 1994 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival of 1969. It was promoted as "2 More Days of Peace and Music". The poster used to promote the first concert was revised to feature two doves perched on the neck of an electric guitar, instead of the original acoustic one.
The 1994 concert was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14, with a third day (Friday, August 12) added later. Tickets to the festival cost $135 each. The weather was rainy that weekend, and by Saturday much of the field had turned into mud.
The event took place on Winston Farm in Saugerties, New York, about 100 miles (160 km) north of New York City. The site is 70 miles (110 km) northeast of the original 1969 festival site.
Though only 164,000 tickets were sold, the crowd at Woodstock '94 was estimated at 550,000. The size of the crowd was larger than concert organizers had planned for and by the second night many of the event policies were logistically unenforceable. The major issues related to security, when attendees arrived, left or returned to the site, and the official concert food-beverage-vendor policy initially restricting attendees from entering with supplies of food, drinks and above all, alcohol. With the concert site mostly enclosed by simple chain link fences, there was hardly any difficulty for many attendees to enter freely along with carrying beer and other banned items. The security staff, along with the entrance and exit staff, could not continue reasonable monitoring of increasingly vast numbers entering, exiting, inspecting, while at the same time maintaining safety, security and peaceful atmosphere.
Jackyl took the stage early on Friday. The lead singer took the stage with a bottle of whiskey and poured alcohol onto the crowd. He then started smoking cannabis and on a close up he shotgunned the joint into the camera with copious amounts of smoke filling the screens and the stage. At this point the crowd roared and in within a few minutes the entire crowd was drinking and partying hard. The lead singer then lit a stool on fire in the center of the stage and started using a chain saw to cut it up. He also pulled out a rifle and started shooting it in the air but cut his hand or finger, which started bleeding heavily and as he wiped his forehead a streak of blood was left across his head. At this point security dragged him off the stage. Jackyl turned in one of the most acclaimed performances at the festival, and the resulting double album ‘Woodstock 94’ went platinum and included "Headed For Destruction" (a track from Push Comes To Shove).
Aphex Twin's performance was cut short when promoters "disconnected" him mid-show for signing a fake name on a contract, which would forfeit PolyGram's rights to his performance.
Nine Inch Nails had the largest crowd density at the event, overshadowing many of the other performers. Just before going on stage they wrestled each other in the mud and went on to perform completely wet and covered in mud. In the interview after their performance, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor claimed he thought his band's performance was "terrible" due to technical difficulties on stage. Reznor admitted that while he disliked playing at such a large show, it was done for the money: "To be quite frank, it's basically to offset the cost of the tour we're doing right now." Their performance of "Happiness in Slavery" at the festival won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1996.
Aerosmith's Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler were all at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.. Aerosmith performed around 3 to 4 a.m., right after an extensive fireworks display from Metallica. Tyler said on the liner notes for the album during their set: "It rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock".
During Primus' performance of the song "My Name Is Mud" the audience responded by pelting the band with mud, which singer/bassist Les Claypool ended by informing the crowd that "You know, when you throw things on stage, it's a sign of small and insignificant genitalia." Claypool claims that he still has mud in his bass cabinets as late as 2014.
Woodstock '94 has also been referred to as Mudstock, or Mudstock '94, partly due to the rainy weather that resulted in mud pits and the aforementioned performances of Nine Inch Nails and Primus. This culminated with Green Day's performance, during which guitarist and lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong started a mudfight during their song, “Paper Lanterns”, with the crowd. In the documentary
VH1 Behind The Music: Green Day, bassist Mike Dirnt was mistaken for one of the fans jumping on stage, and was spear-tackled by a security guard, knocking out one of his teeth. It was this incident that caused Dirnt to need emergency orthodontia. A gag order was put in place regarding this incident. In spite of the now-famous mud-fight and Dirnt's injury, Woodstock quickly propelled Green Day's then recently released album, Dookie, into success.
After being injured in a traffic accident in 1966, and his subsequent disappearance from the popular music scene, Bob Dylan declined to go to the original Woodstock Festival of 1969, even though he lived in the area at the time and the festival had been put in his backyard to try to get him to come out and play. He set off for the Isle of Wight Festival the day the Woodstock festival started, and performed at Woodside Bay on 31 August 1969. Dylan, however, did accept an invitation to perform at Woodstock '94, and was introduced with the phrase: "We waited twenty-five years to hear this. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Dylan". According to various critics, Dylan's performance was one of the greater moments of the festival, and represented the beginning of another new phase in his lengthy career.
Guns N' Roses were asked to appear at the Festival, however the band declined due to internal problems as well as feeling the concert was too 'commercial.' However, lead guitarist Slash made an appearance with Paul Rodgers.
Rumors circulated during the festival that The Rolling Stones were to make a surprise appearance because they were scheduled to play a concert in New York that weekend.