Sunday Break (1976, Austin, Texas)
The event was first scheduled for Saturday, May 1, but was then moved to the morrow Sunday to avoid a conflict with an election. The chosen 130-acre (53 ha) site was located near the northeast corner of the intersection of Interstate Highway 35 and U.S. Highway 290.
The festival featured major acts of the time, such as America, Peter Frampton, Santana, and Gary Wright. The promoters had hoped to have The Band, The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Starship, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, but their schedules did not allow those to come participate. Also hoped were Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen, who both declined.
The gross income tallied $532,000, against expenses of $425,000, with an attendance of 56,000 spectators. The concert went well, with traffic flowing easily and medical assistance provided by the Austin YWCA’s Middle Earth program. Police forces were not invited inside the gates.
Sunday Break II
Local cartoonist Jaxon was hired to draw a map of the area for a following edition, named Sunday Break II, which took place on 5 September of the same year, under a severe summer heat, at a location outside of town known as Steiner Ranch (now a residential community) off RM 620 near Lake Austin, below Mansfield dam of Lake Travis. The event featured artists such as The Band, Chicago, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton again, and the Steve Miller Band. The crowd was estimated at 45,000 (for an expected attendance of 100,000); access to the area was seriously limited, unlike at the previous location, with only one road leading in, which got heavily congested, delaying the arrival of spectators. The performers were flown in by helicopter. The event gathered about $350,000 whereas it had allotted $800,000, forcing Mayday Productions in bankruptcy.
- Photographs of concert announcement posters
- Barnes, Ken (October 1976). "Fleetwood Mac: Universal Amphitheatre, L.A./Sunday Break II, Austin, Texas". Phonograph Record. Rock's Backpages.
- "Sunday Break II: Steiner's First Summer Concert". The Steiner Ranch Post. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "Fleetwood Mac - Say you love me Live 1977". YouTube. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- "Fleetwood Mac - You make loving fun 1977 LIVE Full version". YouTube. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- West, Richard, ed. (June 1976). "Rock Economics". Texas Monthly. Austin: Mediatex Communications Corp. 4 (6): 17–18. ISSN 0148-7736. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "Regular meeting: Minutes: appearance to discuss "The Sunday Break"" (PDF). Austin City Council. April 29, 1976. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- Lowry, Steve (28 August 2010). "America Concerts 1971-1979". America Fans. AccessBackstage.com. 1976. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "Brief History of the YWCA Greater Austin". YWCA Greater Austin. 2005. 1970–1980s. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- Moser, Margaret (11 August 2006). "Arts: General Jackson". The Austin Chronicle. 25 (50). Retrieved 2010-10-05.
- "Heat's On". Cactus Yearbook. Austin: University of Texas. 1977. p. 99. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
The best part of the show was the music. But two babies being born, 2030 sunburned spectators being treated and almost 75,000 ticket holders hiking to the concert provided some pretty good sideshow entertainment. The area surrounding Steiner Ranch on Lake Austin was the main amusement. Cars inched toward the ranch with constant nudging by state troopers. Parking lot overflow stretched down the road for 15 miles, and the drivers lined the street on foot, armed with ice chests and blankets as they migrated toward the music in 95 degree-plus heat (35 °C) on the Sunday before Labor Day, September 5. Inside the concert area, Middle Earth health authorities distributed water, while it lasted, and salt tablets to control the epidemic of heat stroke. England Dan/John Ford Coley, the Steve Miller Band, The Band, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac and some Austin locals provided music for 12 hours longer than most of the spectators remained at the concert. Relief from the roasting sun finally came, just in time for the appearance of Fleetwood Mac and the wind-up of the day-long festival. The biggest surprise of all came the next day when the concert’s promoter, Mayday Productions, claimed that they were the victims of the concert tragedy. Gate receipts showed a $700,000 shortage and Mayday’s president, Win Anderson, blamed the loss on a massive ticket fraud. Suddenly Austin’s "goodbye to summer" celebration turned into a major issue. Mayday was faced with four lawsuits, including one from angry ticket holders who were denied entrance due to traffic congestion. Unpaid Mayday employees also filed suit as did Steiner Ranch area residents who claimed their security had been threatened by the concert crowd. The court responded with a temporary restraining order against future concerts at Steiner Ranch. So the long, hot summer drew to a close with the heated issue of Sunday Break II. Whether on the head or in the mouth, water helped soothe listeners during the all-day outdoor event.
- West, Richard, ed. (November 1976). "Rock on the Rocks". Texas Monthly. Austin: Mediatex Communications Corp. 4 (11): 86, 88. ISSN 0148-7736. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- Casey, Watt M., Jr (2011). "The Band & Steve Miller Band". Music Portfolios. Watt Casey Photography. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- "The White Album Tour". The Fleetwood Mac Legacy. Archived from the original on 2012-01-08. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- "1976". Fly The Zoo. Dallas: KZEW. May, August, September. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
What else can anybody say about Sunday Break II, other than it broke the financiers and seriously shrouded any future attempts at luring people to an outdoor festival.
- Zakaras, Paul (Oct 2, 1976). Nat Freedland, ed. "Mayday yelling ‘May Day’: Phony Ducats Kill Profits at Austin Sunday Break Event". Billboard. New York, N.Y.: Billboard Publications, inc. 88 (40): 66. Retrieved 2011-10-07.