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HISTORY OF MUSIC FESTIVALS

Abridged by Hal Davidson

Enjoy this basic chronological history of music festivals and major festival-like one day concerts. Concert and music festival events were chosen for size or notoriety. Sorry if your fave fest is not listed here.

ANCIENT MUSIC FESTIVALS

est. 4500 B.C. Pre-Dynastic Period. Ancient Egyptian Festivals. Religious rites and ceremonies and political fests featured music and dance.

6th century B.C. Ancient Greece Pythian Games Delphi

Middle Ages Europe Competitive music festivals sponsored by guilds (unions)

1897 Irish Music festival Dublin, Ireland (see other international music festivals after US Fests)

How Not to Promote Concerts and Music Festivals book

ISBN 978-0-615-38033-9

1934

The Berkshire Festival MA

1924 - Present

Ole Time Fiddlers and Bluegrass Festival NC (in later years est. 100,000) Present

1949

Aspen Music Festival Aspen, Colo.

1954

Newport Jazz Festival RI

1965

Newport Folk Festival

1967

Monterey Int’l. Pop Festival 50,000

1968

Miami Music Festival Miami, FL 100,000

1968

Newport Pop Fest CA 100,000

1968

Altamont Speedway- Rolling Stones CA 120,000

1969

Woodstock NY est. 500,000

1969

New Orleans Pop Festival LA25,000

1969

Newport Jazz Festival Newport, RI 78,000

1969

Texas Int’l. Pop Festival 140,000

1969

Denver Pop Festival 50,000 CO (3 day stadium event)

1969

Atlantic City Pop Festival Atlantic City Race Course 110,000

1969

Atlanta Pop Festival Atlanta Int’l. Raceway 140,000

1970

Atlanta Pop Festival Atlanta Int’l. Raceway 200,000

1970

New Orleans Jazz Festival aka JazzFest since 1971

1970

Seattle Pop Festival Woodenville, WA 70,0000

1970

Stevens Point Music Festival Stevens Point, WI 60,000

1970

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival Heyworth, IL 60,000

1972

Mt. Pocono Rock Festival PA 200,000

1973

Watkins Glen NY 600,000

1974

Cal Jam CA 200,000

1974

August Jam Charlotte Motor Speedway 150,000 Charlotte, NC

1974

Ozark Music Festival (Beatles reunion rumored) MO some est. 350,000

1976

Stompin 76 Galax, VA 100,000+

1978

Cal Jam Ontario Motor Speedway CA 250,000

1978

Summer Jam Watkins Glen, NY 600,000

 

(Promoted as 1 day event. Day before added due to 80,000 early entries)

1979

MUSE Festival (Musicians United for Safe Energy) 5 days at Mad. Sq. Garden

1981- Present

Jamboree In The Hills OH 70,000 Present

1982 -83

US Festivals CA 375,000

1984

JVC International Jazz Festival (now in New York City and Newport)

1985- 2005

Farm Aid 1 day IL 80,000

1985- 2005

Live Aid 1 million in 10 cites in one day globally

1988 - present

Merlefest NC 4,000 - present 78,000

1991- present

Lollapooza tour

1991- 1996

HORDE Fest tour - 1996

1996 - 2006

OzzFest tour - 2006

1996 - 1999

Lilith Fair annual stadium tours - 1999

1997 - present

All Good, Thornville OH, 30,000

1997 - present

Electric Daisy Carnival, FL, CA, CO, NV, NJ, TX, PR, 45,000-300,000

1999 - present

Voodoo Experience, New Orleans, LA, 100,000

1999 - present

ULTRA, Miami Beach, FL, 100,000

2001 - present

Bonnaroo, TN 80,000

2001 - present

Floydfest, VA 10,000

2007 - present

Stagecoach, Indio, CA, 55,000

2010 - present

Hangout Music Festival Gulf Shores, AL 35,000

2011 – present

Electric Forest, Rothbury, MI, 25,000

2012

Made In America, Phila, PA 80,000

 

MODERN ERA- GLOBAL MUSIC FESTIVALS

1947

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Wales

 

Directly descends from medieval competitive festivals (12th century)

1876

Phish New Years Festival Seminole Reservation S. Florida 90,000 Bayreuth Festival (operas of Wagner) Germany

1920

Salzburg Festival (Mozart fest) descends from 1877 Salzburg Music Festival Austria

1934

Munich and Glyndebourne Festivals (opera) England

1948

Aldeburgh Festival England

1958

Osaka Festival of Music and Drama JAPAN

1958

Spoleto Festival 1977 USA version starts in SC

1968-70

Isle Of Wight Festivals England 1970 est. 600,000

1969

Toronto Pop Festival CAN

1971

Glastonbury 71 Festival England

1977

Religious Festival, India 12.7 million

1977-80

Reading Rock Festival England

1978

Montreal International Jazz Festival Summer

1988

Freedon Fest: Mandela address Wembley Stadium, London England

 

HISTORY OF MUSIC FESTIVALS

1991-present

High Sierra Music Festival, CA 10,000

1993-present

Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival, NC

1994-present

Essence Music Festival, 90,000

1997-2015

ALL GOOD Fest, MD, WV, PA, 30,000

1999

ULTRA Music Festival, FL 330,000 (2 weekends)

1999-present

Coachella Music Festival, CA 225,000 (75,000 per day)

2002-present

Joshua Tree, CA Festival Spring & Fall

2007-present

Russian River Jazz & Blues, CA

2008-present

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, CA 40-60,000 per day

2008-present

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), CA, CO, FL, IL, NV, NJ, NY,TX, Mexico, Puerto Rico, UK, Brazil, Japan, India, 400,000+ over 3 days (134,000 per day).

2008, 2009, 2012

BamaJam Music 100,000

2010-present

Hang Out Music Fest, AL 35,000/ day

2011-present

Welcome to Rockville, FL 50,000

2011-present

Governors Ball Music Festival, NY, 135,000

2012-present

Firefly Music Festival DE, 90,000

2013-present

Bottlerock Napa Valley, CA

2015-present

RuidoFest, IL 6,000

2012-present

Firefly Music Festival, DE, 90,000

2016

Rock Fiesta, AZ 12,000

2016

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival, NY 50,000

 

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HOW NOT TO PROMOTE CONCERTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS©, HOW TO PROMOTE CONCERT SIMPLIFIED© and CONCERT PROMOTIONS PROPOSAL PLANS CONTRACTS© by Hal Davidson, 2020 all rights reserved. Published by Concert Promotions Publishing Co., Rockville, MD, USA 20855. Stompin 76™, concert-promotions.com and concert-promotions.net is the property of Hal Davidson, 2000-2020 all rights reserved. The content and layout of this website is the property of Hal Davidson. Commercial use is strictly prohibited. Written permission is required for use to sell or promote other promotional materials.