A concert T-shirt is a T-shirt that is associated with a concert or a concert tour, often for a rock or metal band. Bands and musical groups often promote themselves by creating and selling or giving away T-shirts at their shows, tours, and events. A concert T-shirt typically contains silk screened graphics of the name, logo, or image of a musical performer or group. One popular choice of graphics on the rear of the T-shirts is a listing of information about the band's current tour, including tour cities (sometimes specifying venues) and corresponding dates. In the 1960s, printed T-shirts gained popularity for self-expression as well for advertisements, protests, and souvenirs. In 1968, rock producer Bill Graham co-founded Winterland Productions, credited as "the first concert T-shirt manufacturing company".
Wearing a concert T-shirt is a cultural signifier, with commentators identifying various reasons behind the choice to wear a particular one. For example, attending a band's concert while wearing a T-shirt from one of the band's tours long ago can give the wearer a certain prestige amongst other fans, it being indicative of the longevity of their support for the group.
Screen printing or silk screening is the method of printing designs on T-shirts. The process begins by stretching a fine mesh around a rigid frame. Afterwards, a template is attached to the screen. The template covers the portions not to be printed. The completed screen is placed over a T-shirt, and ink is then pressed through the screen, leaving a print. Multiple templates can be used on the same shirt to create a multicolored screen print. Screen printing is one of the most commonly used techniques for putting a design on a T-shirt.
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- "Touring bands soaked up the cost of their lights and lasers with extensive merchandising, like tour programs, scarves, and the ever-present official black concert T-shirts with tour dates printed on the back," Ian Christe, Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal (Harper Collins, 2003), p71.The black concert T-shirt is a fashion trend of rock concert attendees originating in the 1970s and continuing today.
- Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture, (Da Capo Press, 2000) p. 139.
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