Rock festival

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A rock festival is considered to be a large-scale rock music concert, featuring multiple acts performing an often diverse range of popular music including rock, pop, folk, and related genres. As originally conceived in the mid to late 1960s, rock festivals were held outdoors, often in open rural areas or open-air sports arenas, fairgrounds and parks, typically lasted two or more days, featured long rosters of musical performers, and attracted very large crowds - sometimes numbering several hundred thousand people.

Initially, some of the earliest rock festivals were built on the foundation of pre-existing jazz and blues festivals, but quickly evolved to reflect the rapidly changing musical tastes of the time. For example, the United Kingdom’s National Jazz Festival was launched in Richmond from August 26–27, 1961. The first three of these annual outdoor festivals featured only jazz music, but by the fourth “Jazz & Blues Festival” in 1964, a shift had begun that incorporated some blues and pop artists into the lineup. In 1965, for the first time the event included more blues, pop and rock acts than jazz, and by 1966, when the event moved to the town of Windsor, the rock and pop acts clearly dominated the jazz artists.[1]

A similar, though more rapid, evolution occurred with Jazz Bilzen, a solely jazz festival that was inaugurated in 1965 in the Belgian city of Bilzen. The 1966 festival still featured mostly jazz acts. However, by the time of the third festival from August 25–27, 1967, rock and pop acts had edged out most of the jazz bands and become the main attraction.[2]

In the United States, rock festivals seemed to spring up with a more self-defined musical identity. Preceded by several precursor events in the San Francisco area, the first two rock festivals in the US were staged in northern California on consecutive weekends in the summer of 1967: the KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival on Mount Tamalpais (June 10–11) and the Monterey International Pop Festival (June 16–17).[3][4][5]

The concept caught fire and spread quickly as rock festivals took on a unique identity and attracted significant media attention around the world. By 1969, promoters were staging dozens of them. According to Bill Mankin, in their dawning age rock festivals were important socio-cultural milestones: “… it would not be an exaggeration to say that, over a few short years, rock festivals played a unique, significant – and underappreciated – role in fueling the countercultural shift that swept not only America but many other countries [during the 1960s]. It seems fitting… that one of the most enduring labels for the entire generation of that era was derived from a rock festival: the ‘Woodstock Generation’.”[6]

Reflecting their musical diversity and the then-common term ‘pop music’, for the first few years, particularly in the US, many rock festivals were called ‘pop festivals’. This also served to distinguish them among the ticket-buying public from other, pre-existing types of music festivals such as jazz and folk festivals. By the end of 1972, the term ‘pop festival’ had virtually disappeared as festival promoters adopted more creative, unique and location-specific names to identify and advertise their events. While it was still in vogue, however, over-zealous promoters eager to capitalize on the festival concept made the most of it, with some using the term “Pop Festival” or “Rock Festival” to advertise events held on a single day or evening, often indoors, and featuring only a handful of acts.[7]

Today, rock festivals are still usually open air concerts spread out over several days. Many are annual events sponsored by the same organization, and many feature a single type or closely related genres of music such as dance, electronic, and heavy metal.

Historic festivals[edit]

The Nambassa Festival in New Zealand

The following is a sample of rock festivals of historical significance, with an emphasis on multiple-day, outdoor events.

Travelling festivals[edit]

A recent innovation is the travelling rock festival where many musical acts perform at multiple locations during a tour. Successful festivals are often held in subsequent years.

Current festivals[edit]

The following is a list of some notable rock festivals that take place on a regular basis. Most are held at the same location on an annual basis. Some, like Farm Aid are held at different venues with each incarnation. For a full list of festivals, see the external links at the bottom of the page.

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

United States[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Argentina[edit]

Brazil[edit]

Chile[edit]

Colombia[edit]

Dominican Republic[edit]

Mexico[edit]

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Finland[edit]

France[edit]

Germany[edit]

The Netherlands[edit]

Norway[edit]

Romania[edit]

Sweden[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Rest of Europe[edit]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

Australia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

Asia[edit]

Middle East[edit]

Africa[edit]

No fixed location[edit]

Most famous and biggest festivals[edit]

North America:

Latin America:

United Kingdom:

Europe:

Asia:

Australia:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ UKRockFestivals.com Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  2. ^ Jazz Bilzen history Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Santelli, Robert. ‘’Aquarius Rising – The Rock Festival Years’’. Pg. 16.
  4. ^ Browne, David. (2014-06-05). “The Birth of the Rock Fest”. Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ Kubernik, Harvey and Kubernik, Kenneth. A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival. 2011. Santa Monica Press LLC. Pg. 54.
  6. ^ Mankin, Bill. We Can All Join In: How Rock Festivals Helped Change America. Like the Dew. 2012.
  7. ^ Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Pg. 259.
  8. ^ http://www.procolharum.com/99/ph_69_palmsprings.htm
  9. ^ http://www.palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/Desert-Guide/April-2014/Explore-Palm-Springs-1969-Pop-Festival/
  10. ^ www.rockinroma.com

External links[edit]