Hell hath no fury like a festival audience scorned.
From Nirvana to Lil Wayne to Justin Bieber, artists performing live have had their bad days. But there are bad days, and then there are having-bottles-of-piss-thrown-at-you days. Here are some of the worst festival sets in history, from hilarious to horrifying – a result of unforgiving, sometimes just plain mean audiences combined with some unmistakably bad performances by artists.
1. Green Day – Woodstock, 1994
In an event that has gone down as ‘Mudstock’ in history, Green Day’s frontman Billy Joe Armstrong shocked everyone when he began to shove mud in his mouth after having been pelted with mud by the audience throughout their set. He then proceeded to moon the audience, rolling around in mud, while some of the more crazed attendees tried to force themselves onstage. Here’s a video:
2. Nine Inch Nails – Lollapalooza, 1991
Nine Inch Nails is known for going apeshit on their equipment in general, but in 1991, when Lollapalooza was still a young festival with relatively less fancy equipment, the band was pretty angry about the faulty gear. Reznor yelled, “This is the biggest show we’ve ever played, does anyone know what the fuck is wrong?” And then proceeded to launch into an angry song, trash the entire equipment, and tied up the broken pieces in a trail behind his band bus. Here’s the set minus that fun bit:
3. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Woodstock, 1999
Any list of festival disasters is incomplete without Woodstock ’99, which was of epic proportions. The RHCP set may have set a whole new record for festival catastrophe and chaos. Bad security, overcrowding and just terrible organisation in general led to a crowd that would be remembered for years for its violence. When RHCP began to perform Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, the crowd quite literally went ballistic, lighting everything in sight on fire, including personal belongings stolen from tents and even vehicles.
4. Limp Bizkit – Woodstock, 1999
The pile of fire and garbage that was Woodstock ’99 did not stop with RCHP’s set. Rather thoughtlessly, Fred Durst said to an already wild crowd, “People are getting hurt. Don’t let anybody get hurt. But I don’t think you should mellow out. That’s what Alanis Morissette had you motherfuckers do. If someone falls, pick ’em up. We already let the negative energy out. Now we wanna let out the positive energy”. And the positive energy was let out in various forms including mud and shit fights, robberies, more fires and even sexual assault.
5. My Chemical Romance – Reading, 2006
The audience at Reading is known for being anything but forgiving. The band was pelted with bottles of piss (something that shows up quite regularly at Reading, apparently) throughout their set. Gerard Way introduced a song saying, “This song is called thanks for all the bottles, thanks for all the piss, thanks for all the golf balls, thanks for all the apples and thanks for all the sticky shit”
6. Lil Wayne – Stratford, 2008
Not even the (arguably) hottest rap star in the United States is exempt from a disastrous audience reception. In Stratford, Lil Wayne had to be dragged off-stage when the audience pelted him for 23 minutes with bottles and their weird weapon of choice – copper coins. Here’s a video of him livid after being hit by a bottle:
7. Justin Bieber – Jingle Balls Festival, 2009
Justin Bieber has had his fair share of memorable moments at festivals. From being hit on the head by a water bottle, having bras thrown at him, to threatening to break a fan’s iPhone, and even fainting on stage this is only one of many. Bieber was hit with bottles of piss at the Jingle Balls Festival in 2009, and as a result (understandably) stormed off without completing his set.
8. Guns’n’Roses – Dublin Festival, 2010
The impatience of the audience with the one-hour delay in the band’s arrival soon turned into bottles of piss. There are artists who attempt to put on a brave face and finish their sets, but Guns’n’Roses is not a band that stands for being bottled. Axl said,”Alright, here’s the deal: one more bottle, we go home. It’s up to you.” And predictably, they went home.
9. Iron Maiden – Ozzfest, 2005
Why anyone who goes to Ozzfest would want Iron Maiden to not play is unfathomable. But soon after they began playing, they were hit with eggs, bottle caps and ice. Furious at this, frontman Bruce Dickinson urged non egg-throwers to break the arms of the egg-throwers, but this obviously did not stop anyone. Take a look:
10. Justin Timberake – Toronto Rocks Festival, 2003
When Justin Timberlake joined The Rolling Stones on stage in one of his most memorable live cameos (for the wrong reasons), little did he know he would be pelted with bottles and booed. A sign held up by a member of the audience questioning Timberlake’s sexuality made it on the jumbotrons for about 15 seconds. While extremely embarrassed, he gracefully dodged the bottles and finished his set.