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Music History Events: Festivals

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March 6, 2020 The South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, becomes the first major American festival cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other tours and festivals around the world are called off soon after in efforts to limit the outbreak.More

April 14, 2018 Beyoncé, who had to cancel the previous year because of her pregnancy, headlines Coachella in lavish fashion, with over 70 performers and a reunion of Destiny's Child. She becomes the first black woman to headline the festival.More

October 7, 2016 The Rolling Stones play the first night of the Desert Trip festival, which also features Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and the Who. The six-day (split over two weekends) event rakes in $160 million, making it the highest-earning music festival ever.More

March 6, 2016 Diplo and his electronic dancehall project Major Lazer land a historic Havana gig, becoming the first US musical act to perform in Cuba in the new era of diplomatic relations between the island and the US, precipitating a visit from President Obama later in the month.More

July 5, 2015 Damon Albarn has to be carried off stage after a performance in Denmark overruns by five hours.More

September 21, 2012 When Green Day's set is cut short at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong flies off the handle, stopping the show and going into a rant where he says, "I'm not f--king Justin Bieber, you motherf--kers. You've got to be f--king joking."More

September 18, 2011 At the Austin City Limits festival, Awolnation lead singer Aaron Bruno does a little crowd surfing, using a boogie board to actually surf on top of the crowd before performing their apropos hit "Sail."More

March 20, 2010 Three days after their lead singer Alex Chilton died of a heart attack, Big Star play the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, with a number of guests joining to pay tribute to Chilton.More

June 12, 2009 At the Bonnaroo festival, Beastie Boys play together for the last time, as Adam Yauch (MCA) is soon diagnosed with cancer.

June 14, 2008 Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket bond, a tardy Kanye West riles the crowd and calls organizers "squid brains," and MGMT dance like hippies at Bonnaroo 2008.More

April 30, 2008 At the Coachella festival, Roger Waters' giant inflatable pig escapes, roams the countryside and ultimately deflates.

June 21, 2002 Widespread Panic headline the first Bonnaroo Music Festival, held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. The inaugural four-day event - named for the Creole slang for "good stuff," borrowed from a Dr. John album - focuses on jam bands and folk acts, welcoming Trey Anastasio, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Jurassic 5, and The String Cheese Incident to the line-up.

July 21, 2000 About 7,000 Insane Clown Posse fans, many in clown makeup like the group, descend on the Novi Expo Center in Novi, Michigan for the first Gathering Of The Juggalos. By the end of the Gathering, the place is sticky with Faygo soda and left in ruins - all to be expected at an ICP fete.More

July 24, 1999 On the third day of the Woodstock '99 festival on Griffiss Air Force Base, overpriced water, overflowing toilets and a Limp Bizkit performance of "Break Stuff" lead to riots, groping and injuries. Conditions deteriorate as the festival rages on, and by the final day, MTV is covering the event with the tagline "Apocalypse Woodstock."

October 13, 1998 The Frasier Fair, a male version of the Lilith Fair, begins in San Diego. The tour is organized by Rugburns member Steve Poltz, and features John Doe and Pete Droge. The festival is named after the character Frasier Crane from the shows Cheers and Frasier. The character spent a lot of time on the shows involved with a frigid woman named Lilith.

July 22, 1996 The Smokin' Grooves tour, the first major hip-hop traveling festival, kicks off a 33-date trek with a show in Sacramento, California. Artists include A Tribe Called Quest, Fugees, Cypress Hill and Busta Rhymes.

August 14, 1994 Bob Dylan, who refused an invitation to the original 1969 festival, performs on the last day of Woodstock '94, singing "It Ain't Me Babe," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Masters Of War," "Just Like A Woman," and "Highway 61 Revisited" on the main North Stage. Over on the South Stage, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wallops fistfuls of mud at fans and incites an all-out mudfight. Bassist Mike Dirnt gets his front teeth knocked out by a security guard in the chaos.

August 12, 1994 Woodstock 2 - officially "Woodstock '94" - begins in Saugerties, New York, with Sheryl Crow, Todd Rundgren and Violent Femmes performing. The festival is a success, drawing a crowd of about 350,000.More

August 30, 1992 Nirvana headline the Reading Festival in England. On the bill is L7, whose frontwoman Donita Sparks throws a (used) tampon into the crowd.More

July 18, 1991 The very first Lollapalooza music festival is held in select locations throughout North America. Bands and artists include Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Ice-T, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Violent Femmes and Fishbone.More

January 26, 1991 At the second Rock in Rio festival, Norwegian pop trio a-ha draw a crowd of 198,000, breaking the world record for paid attendance at a rock concert - and is snubbed by the press.More

October 6, 1990 Soundgarden, Iggy Pop, Ice T, The Cramps, Joan Baez and Public Enemy are among the artists to perform at Shoreline Amphitheatre in California, as part of A Gathering of Tribes, which is organized by The Cult's Ian Astbury. The festival is a forebear to Lollapalooza, which launches a year later.

August 20, 1988 At the Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington, England, two fans are killed during a set by Guns N' Roses, whose frontman Axl Rose had implored the crowd, "Don't f--kin' kill each other." With the ground wet and a record crowd of 107,000 at the festival, the surge of bodies during the set causes the two fans to be trampled or crushed to death.More

July 13, 1985 The Live Aid concerts take place in Philadelphia and London to raise money for the hungry in Africa. The Beach Boys, The Four Tops, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Elton John, David Bowie, The Who, Queen, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan all take part.More

January 11, 1985 Queen, Iron Maiden and Whitesnake play on Day 1 of the first Rock In Rio festival.More

May 28, 1983 Apple's Steve Wozniak hosts the second US Festival, intending it to be the "Super Bowl of rock." The lineup is even more impressive than that of its 1982 predecessor, and the attendance is substantially larger. Wozniak splurges on David Bowie with two million dollars of his own money, simply because he "really loves him."More

September 3, 1982 Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak throws the US Festival "for a few thousand friends" in hopes of uniting people through music and technology. A crowd of at least 200,000 shows up in the blistering heat of San Bernardino, California, for three days of music, tech-geekery, and dust... a whole lot of dust. Fleetwood Mac, performing for the first time in two years, headlines a bill that also includes The Police and the Grateful Dead.More

May 10, 1975 Stevie Wonder headlines the fourth annual "Human Kindness Day" festival in Washington, DC. Belying the name of the festival, many in the estimated crowd of 125,000 turn violent, and hundreds of robberies and assaults are reported.

September 22, 1974 The Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman boxing match (the "Rumble In The Jungle") in Zaire is postponed, but a concert festival promoting the event goes on anyway, with Bill Withers, The Spinners and Celia Cruz performing along with the African artist Tabu Ley Rochereau.More

July 28, 1973 The "Summer Jam" concert takes place at Watkins Glen racetrack in New York, outdrawing Woodstock with a crowd of over 600,000. The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and The Band play to the massive crowd that paid $10 a ticket - if they bought one.More

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