Music has always been a part of American culture; indeed they have heavily influenced the global music scene and no one does it better live than US bands! Early settlers played banjos and then came guitars, drums and percussion; if you look at any culture, music plays a major role and the US is no exception, with the first proper gathering was the Newport Jazz Festival, which started in 1954 and saw names like Louis Armstrong Billy Holiday and Miles Davis perform to large audiences.

Rock and Roll

While the jazz and country western genre was growing, the 60s saw the birth of rock and roll, with bands such as Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin who were playing US tours in the 70s. While European bands were trying to enter the US market, we had some fantastic artists and there were festivals everywhere.

Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock

A Californian town hosted this 3-day festival in 1967, which was a huge hit; The Who, Ottis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Simon & Garfunkel wowed the huge audience. Then the stage was set for other major gatherings like the famous Woodstock, which was held on a New York farm in 1969 and it was somewhat chaotic as the organisers had released 200,000 tickets, but 500,00 rocked up! Top performers were Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, The Who and Jimi Hendrix; it was a muddy affair with lots of psychedelics and marijuana and lifelong relationships resulted from this experience.

Big Bucks

The early 1970s was a time when promoters saw the potential of massive outdoor festivals and just about every top band and solo artist toured the states. Take the super-group Genesis, a UK band that conquered the world, they toured the US on multiple occasions, playing 15-20 gigs a tour.

Festivals are Traditional

A time for young people to let their hair down and today we wear trendy festival outfits that are designed for such an experience. Ask any 60-year-old about festivals and you’ll get to hear some amazing stories and the good thing was, there was rarely any trouble; after all, peace and love was always the theme. Whatever happened to those days?

Rural locations

The organisers would choose somewhere quiet and rent a few farming fields for a week; the power the sound equipment used was insane! At night, homes 10 miles away would experience power interruptions, as the concert gear took all the juice! Click here for festival fashion tips.

Sports Arenas

The 1980s saw major concerts held at top American football stadiums, with 50-60,000 capacity. The pitch is covered with layers of plywood and a stage is erected in the center circle and the crowd come right up to the stage. The sports teams are happy for the extra revenue and ticket prices are reasonable; your favorite band probably tour; check with Google and you might be able to see a concert. There have been gates of almost 100,000, while outdoor pop concerts admit more, with several reaching 500,000 over 3 days.

Music festivals and concerts will always play a part in US culture, no matter which state you are from, you have probably seen a few yourself!