Watch all hell break loose at Green Day's legendary Woodstock '94 mud fight

Green Day Woodstock 1994
(Image credit: Green Day)

If you were at Download Festival in 2019, you'll probably understand why the festival was dubbed "Drownload". That year saw Donington Park battered so heavily by rain that many punters called it quits on the same day they arrived. Add that occasion to the downpour that typically falls upon Glastonbury Festival, and you'll still be nowhere near the colossal magnitude of rain that met the grounds at Woodstock in 1994.

And of course, where there's excessive rain, there's mud, and where there's mud, there's endless fun to be had, if you're a child, or a festival-goer who has had one too many lagers. 

Green Day’s afternoon set at Winston Farm in Saugerties, New York, on August 14, 1994 was a sight to behold. Not just because of the mud-caked stage, but because of the countless attendees sloshing, writhing and sliding around like penguins through the brown stuff with wild abandon – quite the contrast from the "brown stuff" (the brown acid), that Woodstock punters were warned away from during the festival's original instalment in 1969.

On a weekend where Green Day were joined by Aerosmith, MetallicaNine Inch Nails and Primus, from the get-go, the Berkeley trio's performance was messy. As a blue-haired Billie Joe Armstrong walks on the stage, he says “What is this free fucking hippy love shit?" before asking the audience, “How are you doing, you rich motherfuckers?” Not exactly the type of welcome you want to hear from a band when knee-deep in a heaving, pungent-smelling, pit of piss-sullied mud.

Just 20 minutes into Green Day's set, things start to deteriorate, as the stage begins to turn brown from all the mud thrown on by the crowd who are clearly pissed-off and ready to make someone – if not the band – pay for their weather-worn weekend. And when bassist Mike Dirnt announces “I hope it rains so much, you all get stuck,” all hell breaks loose. When the bassist attempts to leave the stage, he's rugby tackled by security who mistake him for a stage invader, leading to cracked front teeth and a visit to a dental clinic the following day.

When closing the set, Green Day attempted to play Paper Lanterns. At this point, Armstrong tries to control the crowd by getting them to quieten down, before declaring, "I'm not going to become a mud hippie, I don't care what you say!" and throwing mud back into the audience.

Oh boy, did that go down badly.

In an interview years later, Armstrong said, “Woodstock [‘94] was about the closest thing to anarchy I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I didn’t like it one bit.”

Watch the carnage unfold in the video below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.