Netflix’s new Woodstock doc is a trainwreck you need to see — and it’s 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

An image from Trainwreck: Woodstock '99 on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is often ranked as one of the best streaming services for true crime and engrossing documentaries, and the streamer is working hard to maintain that reputation. Case in point, a new docuseries that chronicles the disastrous Woodstock ‘99 just landed on Netflix, and it’s a trainwreck you won’t want to look away from. 

The show is fittingly called Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99, and only arrived on Netflix on Wednesday, August 3 but is already climbing the most-watched list. It currently sits at No. 4 behind only Stranger Things, Keep Breathing and Virgin River.

Right behind it, you'll find fellow new release Uncoupled, which stars Neil Patrick Harris. It’s a strong initial placement but don’t be surprised if over the coming days it mounts a challenge for the headline spot. 

What is Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 about?  

Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 chronicles the disastrous music festival that was held from July 22 to July 25 1999 in Rome, New York. While the large-scale event was attempting to emulate the original festival held in 1969, it descended into chaos and anarchy for a whole variety of reasons. 

From the unbearable 100-degree heat to the lack of toilets for attendees, calling Woodstock ‘99 a trainwreck is frankly rather generous; it was an unmitigated disaster. With so much carnage to cover the docuseries wisely dedicates a whole episode to each day of the festival, and you won’t believe some of the real-life tales from those who were there. 

It should also be noted that the disorganization of Woodstock ‘99 didn't just lead to raucous riots and oversized mosh pits, there were also several indicates of serious sexual assault reported and Trainwreck doesn’t shy away from recounting this tragic aspect of the infamous festival. For some attendees what should have been a weekend of musical joy become a living nightmare. 

Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 reviews — what critics think

Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 is coming out of the gate strong with a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). Early viewers seem to also be enjoying the series with it pulling a similarly high 83% audience score. 

Judy Berman of Time Magazine (opens in new tab) declared “The largely gratuitous Trainwreck proves to be surprisingly illuminating.” And Rebecca Nicholson of the Guardian (opens in new tab) was also positive, saying “A brisk and often horrifying watch, Trainwreck is effective at ramping up the tension and building a sense of dread and impending disaster.

Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) praised Trainwreck for being highly watchable: “So much in this story could have been prevented, and predicted, and this documentary shows its collapse with one compelling passage after the next.”

Variety (opens in new tab)’s Daniel D’Addario wasn’t quite as full of praise for Trainwreck, believing the documentary to be “shallow” with a clear focus on what happened and “too little emphasis or even curiosity pointed toward the why and how of the disaster.” 

Should you stream Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99?  

If you enjoyed Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary back in 2019, then there’s a strong chance you’ll also find Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 well worth your time. This insight into a music festival gone very wrong can be a sobering watching (especially in its third episode), but it’s also highly-bingeable clocking in just a little over two and half hours.   

If you breeze through Netflix’s Woodstock documentary in less time than it takes for Foo Fighters to headline a festival main stage, then there are still plenty of new movies and TV shows to watch this weekend. These include a new adaptation of beloved graphic novel The Sandman on Netlfix and arguably the best Predator movie ever made on Hulu.  

Rory Mellon
Deals Editor

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.