Garth: Live from Central Park

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Garth: Live from Central Park
Concert by Garth Brooks
Garth Live from Central Park.jpg
LocationCentral Park, New York City, New York, U.S.
Date(s)August 7, 1997
No. of shows1

Garth: Live from Central Park was a concert held by American country pop musician Garth Brooks on August 7, 1997 at Central Park in New York City. Dubbed "Garthstock" (paying homage to Woodstock), the concert was free of charge and became the largest concert ever held in the park, with an estimated audience of 980,000. It was filmed and broadcast live on HBO, as well as later included in Brooks' The Entertainer DVD collection, released in 2006.


Brooks announced a free concert in Central Park during his 1996–98 world tour, and the only stop in New York during its entire record-breaking duration. Initial reports of expected attendance from Brooks' promoter was 1 million, while New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's office estimated a modest 300,000.[1] Speculation about the area's acceptance of country music, as well as any cross-genre special guests, filled the media days prior to the concert.[2] At the concert, it was revealed that Billy Joel and Don McLean were the rumored special guests, joining Brooks separately onstage to perform a selection of their songs.[3]

Stage and setup[edit]

The stage was of unseen proportions for an outdoor concert, consisting of a circular array lighting rig spanning 100 feet (30 m) atop a stage spanning 360 feet (110 m).[1] Situated on the park's North Meadow, the stage allowed more optimal viewing for fans within the fenced barricade. Having never expected a concert of such attendance in the area, many additional police officers and park rangers were prompted to add more patrol to the site. As space was limited, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation required fans to bring blankets no larger than for a king-size bed, allowing more room for attendees.[1]

Records and legacy[edit]

Months following the concert, reports began showing total concert attendance being 750,000; however the New York City Fire Department's official attendance record shows an estimation of approximately 980,000.[4][5] Dubbed "Garthstock", the concert garnered comparison to the Woodstock concert festival due to its large, outdoor attendance.[6] It remains the largest concert ever held in the park, surpassing the previous record of approximately 600,000 (held by Paul Simon from his 1991 park concert).[3]

Broadcast and distribution[edit]

Garth: Live from Central Park was broadcast live on HBO. Directed by Marty Callner and produced by Brooks and Jon Small, it received 14.6 million viewers, the most of any concert special that year.[6] It later received six Emmy Award nominations, including for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special, and Brooks received the Academy of Country Music's Special Achievement Award for the special.[5] It was later edited and released on VHS, followed by its 2006 DVD release, retitled Live in Central Park, in Brooks' The Entertainer video collection.

Set list[edit]


  • Garth Brooks – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar on "Callin' Baton Rouge"
  • Stephanie Davis – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • David Gant – piano, synthesizers
  • James Garver – electric guitar, electric banjo on "Callin' Baton Rouge", backing vocals
  • Mark Greenwood – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Jim Horn – alto saxophone on "New York State of Mind" and "You May Be Right"
  • Billy Joel – co-lead vocals and piano on "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)", "New York State of Mind" and "You May Be Right"
  • Jimmy Mattingly – fiddle, acoustic guitar
  • Steve McClure – pedal steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar on "Callin' Baton Rouge"
  • Don McLean – co-lead vocals and acoustic guitar on "American Pie"
  • Debbie Nims – acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion, backing vocals
  • Mike Palmer – drums, percussion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Revkin, Andrew C. (6 August 1997). "New Land Rush: Garth Brooks in the Park". New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Garth Brooks' concert in Central Park: Catch the fever". CNN. 6 August 1997. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Garth Live In Central Park". Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  4. ^ Tramel, Berry (1 February 2014). "Billy Bob the new star of the city". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Garth Brooks: The Entertainer". Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2016.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  6. ^ a b Sickels, Robert C. (2013). 100 entertainers who changed America : an encyclopedia of pop culture luminaries. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. p. 83. ISBN 978-1598848304. Retrieved 30 March 2016.

External links[edit]