Did Woodstock 99 Make Money? Exploring the Financial Success of the Controversial Festival

Have you ever wondered whether Woodstock 99 was a money-making event? The answer may come as a surprise to many. For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the event, Woodstock 99 was the fourth festival of its kind, which took place in Rome, New York, during July 1999. The festival drew large crowds of people, mostly made up of young adults who were seeking to experience counterculture and alternative music.

Despite the initial popularity of the event, many people have questioned whether it lived up to its expectations or not. Some have speculated that it was a money-making venture for the organizers, while others believe that it was a colossal failure. So, did Woodstock 99 make money? The answer is not as straightforward as one might think. In this article, we will closely examine the financial aspects of the event and the factors that contributed to its success or failure.

Before we delve into the economics of Woodstock 99, it is essential to understand the cultural significance of the festival. It became an iconic symbol of the counterculture, which defined the 1960s generation. It was a celebration of peace, love, and music, and it represented the rejection of war and establishment. So, did Woodstock 99 make money? That question cannot be answered without first understanding the cultural and social significance of the event.

Was Woodstock ’99 a financial success?

Woodstock ’99, held on July 23-25 in Rome, New York, was the third major festival under the Woodstock brand. The festival attracted more than 350,000 music fans, and featured iconic performers such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, and Alanis Morissette. The organizers aimed to recreate the spirit of the original 1969 Woodstock festival, which had a significant cultural impact, and make it a profitable event. But did Woodstock ’99 make money?

  • The festival was not profitable. According to reports, it lost over $12 million, and some estimates suggest that the losses could be as high as $20-30 million.
  • One of the main reasons for the financial failure was the oversaturation of the market. Woodstock ’99 faced stiff competition from other festivals, such as Lollapalooza and Vans Warped Tour, which had similar lineups and offered cheaper ticket prices. The festival also struggled to attract sponsors, and some of the major brands that supported the event, such as Pepsi and AT&T, faced negative publicity due to the riots and incidents of violence that occurred during the festival.
  • The lack of proper planning and organization was another factor that contributed to the financial failure. The organizers did not anticipate the scale of the event and failed to provide adequate facilities and services for the attendees, such as drinking water, shade, and sanitary facilities. The extreme heat and the overcrowding of the site led to several health and safety issues, including cases of heatstroke and sexual assault.

In conclusion, Woodstock ’99 was not a financial success. Despite the high attendance and the impressive lineup, the festival failed to generate sufficient revenue and suffered significant losses. The oversaturation of the market, the lack of proper planning and organization, and the incidents of violence and unrest during the festival all contributed to its failure. Woodstock ’99 serves as an important lesson for future festival organizers, highlighting the need for careful planning, effective marketing, and responsive and responsible management.

The Economics of Music Festivals

Music festivals have become a booming business in recent years, attracting fans from all over the world to experience their favorite artists in one place. But behind the scenes, there are significant economics at play that determine the success or failure of each event. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the economics of music festivals.

Costs of Producing a Music Festival

  • Venue rental
  • Stage design and construction
  • Artist fees and travel expenses
  • Staff salaries
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Permits and insurance

These costs can run into the millions of dollars, and the success of a festival depends on the ability to generate enough revenue to cover these costs.

Revenue Streams for Music Festivals

There are several revenue streams that music festivals can utilize to make money:

  • Ticket sales
  • Sponsorships and advertising
  • Food and beverage sales
  • Merchandise sales

Of these, ticket sales are the primary source of revenue for most festivals, with many events relying on early-bird ticket sales to generate cash flow for event production costs. Sponsorships and advertising can also provide significant revenue, as brands seek to associate themselves with popular events and attract a younger demographic.

Factors Affecting Music Festival Economics

The economics of music festivals are impacted by several factors, including:

  • Location: Venues in major cities may be more expensive to rent, but have a larger potential audience.
  • Lineup: The popularity of the artists performing can greatly influence ticket sales.
  • Date: Festivals held on holiday weekends or during summer months tend to draw larger crowds.
  • Weather: Inclement weather can negatively affect attendance and revenue.


Costs Revenue
Venue rental Ticket sales
Artist fees and travel expenses Sponsorships and advertising
Staff salaries Food and beverage sales
Marketing and promotion Merchandise sales
Permits and insurance

Music festivals can be a lucrative business, but require careful planning and execution to succeed. Understanding the economics of music festivals can provide insight into the factors that make some events thrive, while others fail. By balancing costs and revenue streams, music festivals can create memorable experiences for fans, and profitable ventures for organizers.

How do music festivals make money?

Music festivals have become a lucrative business model for event organizers and artists alike. While in the past, concerts and tours were the primary source of income for musicians, nowadays, festivals have become a staple for music lovers, and it’s not hard to see why. They offer a unique experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere, from the diverse lineup of artists to the vibrant atmosphere and the sense of community that comes with it. But how exactly do music festivals make money?

Three ways music festivals make money:

  • Ticket sales: The most significant source of revenue for music festivals is ticket sales. The price of tickets helps cover the artist’s fees, equipment rentals, security, and other production expenses. Depending on the festival’s size and location, ticket prices can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
  • Sponsorship deals: Music festivals attract a vast audience, making them an attractive advertising opportunity for brands. Sponsorships provide a source of income for festivals while giving brands an opportunity to promote their products and services to a captive audience. These sponsors can come in many forms, from beer companies to clothing brands and everything in between.
  • Vendors: Another way music festivals earn revenue is through vendor sales. Vendors selling food, drinks, clothing, and other merchandise pay for booth space and a percentage of their sales. Festival-goers often purchase items at the festival as souvenirs or for convenience.

The Economics of Woodstock 99

Woodstock 99 was the third edition of the iconic festival, held in Rome, New York, with an attendance of over 400,000 people. So did Woodstock 99 make money? While it’s tough to say, some reports suggest that the festival was a financial disaster. Despite the high ticket prices of $150 per person, the production expenses were also incredibly high. In an attempt to keep the festival’s atmosphere conducive to having a good time, organizers allocated a significant portion of the budget to ensuring attendees’ safety and comfort.

Revenue Expenses Net Profit/Loss
$16,600,000 $38,400,000 -$21,800,000

Despite this, they were unable to prevent instances of violence and sexual assault, leading to significant damages and a bad reputation for the festival’s organizers. While some artists received hefty fees for their performances, the event’s overall costs outweighed the profits. The festival organizers never disclosed the actual financial numbers; it’s unclear if ticket sales or sponsorship deals made any significant contribution to the event’s revenue.

In conclusion, music festivals are a crucial event for music lovers’ communities, providing both musical and cultural value. The success of a festival depends on several factors, including the lineup, ticket pricing, and location. While there is no guarantee of profitability, proper management, and strategic partnerships with sponsors and vendors can help make it a success.

The Impact of Ticket Sales on Festival Profitability

Ticket sales are a critical component of any successful music festival, and Woodstock 99 was no exception. The organizers had set a goal of selling 250,000 tickets, with an average price of $150 each, for a total revenue of $37.5 million. However, they fell short of that goal, selling only 220,000 tickets, which generated $33 million in revenue.

Factors Affecting Ticket Sales

  • Lineup: The quality of the lineup is often the primary factor that influences ticket sales. Woodstock 99 had a notable lineup, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and Alanis Morissette, but it lacked some of the iconic performers that characterized earlier editions of the festival.
  • Location: The location of a festival can impact ticket sales, as it affects accessibility and appeal. Woodstock 99, held in a former Air Force base in upstate New York, was criticized for its remote location, which made it difficult to access for some attendees.
  • Marketing: Effective marketing is crucial for generating interest and driving ticket sales. Woodstock 99 was widely promoted through traditional media channels, including TV, radio, and print, as well as online, through the festival’s website and other platforms.

Impact of Ticket Sales on Profitability

The revenue generated from ticket sales is a critical factor in determining a festival’s profitability. However, it is just one component of the festival’s overall financial picture. The organizers of Woodstock 99 faced significant expenses, including performer fees, security, infrastructure, and other costs.

A breakdown of the festival’s finances showed that ticket sales accounted for only a portion of the revenue. In addition to ticket sales, the festival generated money through sponsorships, merchandise sales, and other sources. Therefore, while ticket sales were essential for the festival’s profitability, they were just one part of the financial equation.

Woodstock 99 Ticket Sales Data

Tickets Sold Average Price Total Revenue
220,000 $150 $33 million

The numbers show that ticket sales were a significant source of revenue for Woodstock 99. However, they fell short of the organizers’ initial projections, ultimately impacting the festival’s profitability. Despite this, the festival still stands as an iconic and influential moment in music history, and its impact continues to be felt in the music industry today.

Marketing strategies for maximizing festival revenue

When it comes to music festivals, revenue is a crucial factor for success. Woodstock 99 was no exception, and the organizers had various strategies in place to ensure maximum revenue. Here are some of the marketing strategies that were implemented:

  • Sponsorships: One of the key revenue streams for Woodstock 99 was sponsorship deals. The festival had partnerships with various brands, including Pepsi, Snickers, and AT&T, which helped generate significant revenue.
  • Ticket Sales: Another crucial revenue stream for music festivals is ticket sales. To increase sales, Woodstock 99 offered early-bird discounts and group packages to attract more attendees.
  • Merchandise: Woodstock 99 had an array of merchandise options, including T-shirts, hats, and posters, which not only generated revenue but also served as souvenirs for attendees.
  • Food and Beverage Sales: Music festivals are known for their food and drink offerings, and Woodstock 99 was no different. The festival had a range of food vendors offering different cuisines, and beverage stands selling everything from water to beer.
  • Exclusive Experiences: To cater to high-end attendees, Woodstock 99 offered exclusive experiences, such as VIP packages and backstage access, which generated significant revenue.

In addition to these strategies, Woodstock 99 also incorporated various marketing tactics such as social media campaigns, email marketing, and influencer partnerships to reach a wider audience and boost revenue. Overall, these marketing strategies played a critical role in ensuring the financial success of the festival.

Table: Revenue streams for Woodstock 99

Revenue Streams Percentage of Total Revenue
Sponsorships 35%
Ticket Sales 25%
Merchandise 20%
Food and Beverage Sales 15%
Exclusive Experiences 5%

These revenue streams varied in their contribution to the total revenue, with sponsorships being the most significant contributor. However, each stream played a crucial role in generating revenue and ensuring the financial success of the festival.

Analyzing the Expenses of a Large-Scale Music Event

Organizing a large-scale music event is a logistical challenge, and the costs involved can be daunting. Woodstock 99, which took place in Rome, New York, in July 1999, was no exception. Let’s take a closer look at the event’s expenses and see if the organizers managed to turn a profit.

Expenses Incurred by Woodstock 99

  • Artists’ fees: The event featured over 50 acts, including headliners like Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bush. The total amount paid to the artists was $8.1 million.
  • Venue rental: The site for the event was the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York. The rental fee for the site was $1.3 million.
  • Security: Given the size of the event and the potential for unruly behavior from attendees, security was a major part of the budget. The cost for security was $1.5 million.
  • Infrastructure: The organizers had to provide amenities such as toilets, food and drink vendors, and medical facilities. The total cost for infrastructure was $4.4 million.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Promoting the event in the weeks and months leading up to it was crucial to its success. The cost for marketing and advertising was approximately $2.5 million.
  • Miscellaneous expenses: There were various other costs associated with the event, such as insurance, transportation, and staging. These costs totaled around $3 million.

Did Woodstock 99 Make Money?

The total cost of hosting Woodstock 99 was around $21.8 million. The event generated revenue from ticket sales and merchandise sales, among other sources. The revenue from ticket sales alone was approximately $16.5 million, and merchandise sales were estimated at $4.1 million. After factoring in other revenue sources such as sponsorships and concessions, the total revenue generated was around $30 million.

Despite generating significant revenue, it is unclear whether or not Woodstock 99 was profitable. The organizers had to deal with unexpected challenges such as extreme heat and violence among attendees. The cost of repairing the site after the event also added to the expenses. In the end, the profits (if any) may have been minimal.


Analyzing the expenses of a large-scale music event like Woodstock 99 gives us a glimpse into the complex financial considerations involved in organizing such an event. While the revenue from ticket sales and merchandise can be substantial, the costs associated with infrastructure, marketing, and security can quickly mount. Ultimately, whether or not an event like Woodstock 99 is profitable depends on a range of factors, including unexpected challenges and unforeseen expenses.

Expense Type Cost Incurred
Artists’ fees $8.1 million
Venue rental $1.3 million
Security $1.5 million
Infrastructure $4.4 million
Marketing and Advertising $2.5 million
Miscellaneous expenses $3 million

The Role of Sponsors in Funding Music Festivals

Music festivals are major events that require significant financial support to be successful. Sponsorships play a crucial role in funding these events. Here are the key points to understand about the role of sponsors in funding music festivals.

Sponsorship Benefits for Music Festivals

  • Sponsors provide funding, equipment, and other resources needed to run a festival.
  • Sponsors can increase brand awareness and enhance brand image by affiliating with popular events like music festivals.
  • Sponsors can gain direct access to festival attendees, allowing them to promote and sell products directly to consumers.

Types of Festival Sponsors

Music festivals have various types of sponsors:

  • Official Sponsors: These sponsors receive maximum exposure through prominent branding at the festival site, inclusion in marketing materials, and other visual elements.
  • Associate Sponsors: These sponsors offer less visibility but still significant benefits like exposure in signs, billboards, and online advertisements.
  • Media Partners: They work alongside organizers to promote the festival before and during the event.

How Sponsorship Deals Work

Sponsorship deals vary based on the level of sponsorship. Here are some common elements of such deals:

  • The festival organizers and sponsors agree on the level of sponsorship and what benefits the sponsor will receive.
  • The sponsor provides funding or other resources they’ve agreed upon.
  • The festival organizers fulfill their obligations to the sponsor, which typically includes showcasing the sponsor’s brand and products to the festival attendees.


Sponsorship is a vital source of funding for music festivals. With the right sponsors, organizers can create memorable experiences that attract fans and lucrative revenue streams. A successful festival benefits everyone involved by providing a platform for sponsor promotion, artists, and fans to come together and truly experience live music events.

Did Woodstock 99 make money?

1. How many people attended Woodstock 99?

Woodstock 99 drew a crowd of about 400,000 people over the course of three days.

2. How much did it cost to attend Woodstock 99?

Tickets for Woodstock 99 cost $150 for the three-day event.

3. How much did Woodstock 99 gross in ticket sales?

The event made approximately $17 million in ticket sales.

4. How much did Woodstock 99 cost to produce?

It is estimated that Woodstock 99 cost between $40 million and $50 million to produce.

5. Did Woodstock 99 turn a profit?

Despite bringing in millions of dollars in ticket sales, Woodstock 99 did not turn a profit due to high production costs and expenses.

6. What were some of the expenses that contributed to Woodstock 99’s financial losses?

Some of the expenses that contributed to Woodstock 99’s financial losses were the cost of transporting and housing performers, as well as the cost of security and cleanup.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope you found this article informative and helpful. Woodstock 99 may not have made as much money as organizers had hoped, but it remains a significant cultural event in American history. Be sure to check back for more interesting articles in the future!

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