For decades, festivals have been a place where music and culture collide.
They are easy to take for granted today, with a seemingly endless array of events running all year round. However, there was a time when festivals were far less common.
Before the 60s, festivals were more buttoned-up affairs, often focusing on regional talent rather than national stars. Rock music festivals, with a distinct style to themselves, did not appear before that last part of the decade.
Since then, the popularity of music festivals has ebbed and flowed. After a buzz of parties in the late 60s and early 70s, things became quiet for a while. The events were often considered ugly, or even worse, uncertain – the latter was a lasting effect of tragedy in Altamont in 1969.
The 80s saw a splash of new festivals, several of which – like 1985’s Farm Aid – were created to serve a cause. The 90s brought the touring version of Lollapalooza with it, but the modern festival boom would not light up until the beginning of the new millennium.
These days, music festivals are big business. In some cases, the main artists are paid millions to perform – and that’s still a small sum compared to the profits the festivals make.
They “used to be more of a cultural community,” said Carlos Chirinos, a professor of clinical music and global health at New York University. Time in 2019. ”A group of people who were into the same type of music they wanted to get together. It was the driving force through the 1970s and 1980s until it became a profitable format. “
Here’s a look at the 10 most important music festivals in American history.
10 Most Important Music Festivals in American History
From Woodstock to Coachella, and every stop in between.