The 10 Most Shocking Music Festivals Moments!

By Devon Antonetti, First Posted On

Music festivals thrive on energy, and it’s not always positive. Mix rock star egos, illicit drug use and $4 bottles of water, and things can turn ugly. While most music festivals are simply celebrations of artists and fans coming together, a few have seen major tragedies. With our list of the 10 Most Shocking Festival Moments, we look at some of the stranger, darker incidents — everything from offensive onstage outbursts to untimely deaths.

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Cee Lo Forgets His Fans

Sometimes in rock ‘n’ roll, the headliners just don’t show up. At 2011’s Hangout Festival in Gulf Shore, Ala., Cee Lo Green missed his set time by some 30 minutes before the Foo Fighters stepped in for an extended appearance. Halfway through the Foos’ stand-in set, Green appeared onstage for the band’s cover of Prince’s ‘Darling Nikki.’ The ‘Voice’ star was soon joined by his all-girl backing band to finish out a five-song, 15-minute set of his own. The confused and resentful crowd took to Twitter with hashtag #F-ckYou to knock the singer with his own harsh words.
Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images

Blind Melon Gets Trippy

Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon made waves at Woodstock ‘94 when he appeared onstage in a long, flowing white dress. Oh, and he was tripping on acid. The singer got mixed reviews for the spaced-out performance, which seemed all the more unsettling the following year, when Hoon died of a drug overdose.
Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images

Josh Homme’s Homophobic Tirade

Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age hasn’t always been good about venting appropriately, and his outburst at the 2008 Norwegian Wood Festival in Norway landed him on our list of the 10 Most Shocking Festival Moments. The singer lashed out at a fan after being hit by a water bottle, unleashing a slew of homophobic slurs that included threats to sodomize him. The singer later wrote an open letter blaming the incident on a 102 degree fever and claiming that his band’s name is proof that he isn’t homophobic.
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Kurt Cobain Pushes The Limit

With rumors of Kurt Cobain’s fragile post-‘Nevermind’ sanity and sobriety looming, the Nirvana singer used the buzz to make a grand entrance at the 1992 Reading Festival in England. Cobain had journalist Everett Truman push him on stage in a wheelchair for what would be the band’s last ever U.K. show. Even though Cobain mocked his poor health and mental state, the performance is thought to be one of the band’s best.
Andreas Rentz, Getty Images

Marilyn Manson Gets Overexposed

While on the Ozzfest 2011 tour, shock rocker Marilyn Manson was charged with criminal sexual misconduct for rubbing his genitals on one very unlucky security guard in Detroit. In full makeup and G-string, Manson reportedly spit on the guard before wrapping his legs around his head and grinding his crotch on him. The sing ultimately pleaded no contest to a lesser charge and paid a $4,000 fine.
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Rage Against Censorship

Rage Against the Machine have never been shy about making statements, and 1993’s Lollapalooza was no exception. The members walked onstage at the fest’s Philadelphia stop completely naked with the letters PMRC painted on their chests (Paren’t Music Resource Center) and black tape over their mouths in protest the censorship of the organization. The band stood in silence for 15 minutes while the crowd booed, only ever getting to hear the feedback from their guitars. No wonder it made our list of the 10 Most Shocking Festival Moments.
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