US Festival

Coordinates: 34°12′14″N 117°24′07″W / 34.204°N 117.402°W / 34.204; -117.402
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

US Festival
GenreRock music, pop music, etc.
DatesSeptember 1982, May 1983
Location(s)Glen Helen Regional Park[1]
San Bernardino, California
Coordinates34°12′14″N 117°24′07″W / 34.204°N 117.402°W / 34.204; -117.402
Years active2
Founded bySteve Wozniak, Bill Graham
San Bernardino is located in the United States
San Bernardino
San Bernardino
San Bernardino is located in California
San Bernardino
San Bernardino

The US Festival (US pronounced like the pronoun, not as initials) was the name of two early 1980s music and culture festivals in southern California, held sixty miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles, near San Bernardino.[2][3][4][5]


Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple and creator of the Apple I and Apple II personal computers, believed that the 1970s were the "Me" generation.[6] He intended the US Festivals, with Bill Graham's participation, to encourage the 1980s to be more community-oriented and combine technology with rock music.[7] The first was held Labor Day weekend in September 1982,[3] and the second was less than nine months later, over Memorial Day weekend in May 1983.[4][8]

Wozniak paid for the bulldozing and construction[9] of a new open-air field venue as well as the construction of an enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage at Glen Helen Regional Park near Devore, San Bernardino, California, just south of the junction of Interstates 15 and 215.[10] (This site was later to become home to Blockbuster Pavilion—now Glen Helen Amphitheater—the largest amphitheatre in the United States as of 2007.)[citation needed] The festival stage has resided at Disneyland in Anaheim since 1985, and has operated under various names and functions as the Videopolis dance club, the Videopolis Theatre, and the Fantasyland Theater.[citation needed]

Labor Day Weekend, 1982[edit]

The festival ran for three days in early September in 110 °F (43 °C) weather;[2][11] there were 36 arrests,[12] and a reported twelve drug overdoses.[12] One "associated" murder of a hitchhiker occurred the day after the event.[citation needed] The festival lost a reported $12 million,[13] and total attendance for the three days was about 400,000.[4] The price for a three-day ticket was $37.50 [3] (approximately $100 in 2021 money).

The US festival featured the first implementation of the U.S.-Soviet Space Bridge, a two-way satellite hookup between the United States and the Soviet Union.[14] Organizers had planned to have the US Festival and Soviet rock fans interact as a way to promote goodwill between the Cold War rivals, but it was too dark in California for cameras to pick up the festivalgoers when the link went live.

(Bands are listed below in the order they appeared.[citation needed])

Memorial Day Weekend, 1983[edit]

The reprise festival ran for three days and the festival still lost $12 million.[15] This time at the helm was Colorado-based promoter Barry Fey, who with Wozniak added a fourth Country Day[16] a week later.[17] In late May, first day weather was slightly cooler at 95 °F (35 °C), but air quality conditions in the region were the worst in four years.[4][18] The total attendance was reported at 670,000.[citation needed] Van Halen was reportedly paid $1.5 million to perform.[19] There were two reported deaths.[20][21][22]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 1984, "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the US Festival (and its heavy financial losses) on an episode of Al TV, claiming that there would be a third edition of the festival, but without any live bands; the entire show would be released only on a cassette tape.[33]

Home video releases[edit]

In 2003, the band Triumph released a DVD of their US Festival performance, Live at the US Festival. In 2011 Shout! Factory announced plans to release a series of live concert DVDs from the US Festival. The first two of these releases, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, were released on November 15, 2011. The third DVD release from Shout! Factory was Quiet Riot, released on March 27, 2012.[citation needed]

On September 18, 2012, Shout! Factory released The English Beat: Live At The US Festival, ’82 & ’83 on CD/DVD.[34]

On November 19, 2013, Icon Television Music released The US Festival 1983 Days 1-3 on iTunes. This is the only US Festival release authorized by Steve Wozniak and the Unuson Corporation.

Judas Priest's 30-year anniversary release of Screaming for Vengeance included a DVD with footage of their set from their 1983 appearance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "US Festival may be the last". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. May 28, 1983. p. 13.
  2. ^ a b "Fans firing up for US Festival". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. September 4, 1982. p. 6A.
  3. ^ a b c "Rock fans head for home". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. September 6, 1982. p. 3A.
  4. ^ a b c d "US Festival opens to 140,000 fans". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. May 29, 1983. p. 9A.
  5. ^ "US festival crowd wild; guards fight each other". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. May 31, 1983. p. 3.
  6. ^ Remembering US '82 and '83 as Steve Wozniak's dream bash turns 30 - Soundcheck Blog: Orange County Register
  7. ^ Devlin, Hugh (June 1983). "Experiencing Us". Electronic Games (letter). pp. 23, 121. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "Rock fans flock to US Festival by the thousands". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. May 28, 1983. p. 1.
  9. ^ Us Festival Took A Year Of Planning (AP) - The Telegraph - Sep 1, 1982 - Nashua, NH
  10. ^ "300,000 people, drugs and rock 'n' roll". UPI. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Festival fans brave heat to hear bands". Lodi News-Sentinel. California. UPI. September 4, 1982. p. 14.
  12. ^ a b Crichton, Maddie (June 28, 2017). "The Music Festival That Time Forgot: Inside Steve Wozniak's US Fest Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  13. ^ iWoz - Computer Geek to Cult Icon: Getting to the Core of Apple's Inventor; Steve Wozniak with Gina Smith; Headline Review, London, 2006; p. 255
  14. ^ "The US Festival successfully managed a satellite link with..." UPI. September 5, 1982. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  15. ^ iWoz - Computer Geek to Cult Icon: Getting to the Core of Apple's Inventor; Steve Wozniak with Gina Smith; Headline Review, London, 2006; p. 256
  16. ^ Metzler, Stan W. (May 30, 1983). "145 arrested at festival". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. p. A3.
  17. ^ "Waylon and Willie fans peaceful". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 5, 1983. p. A3.
  18. ^ "Smog conditions in S. California worst since '79". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. May 29, 1983. p. 9A.
  19. ^ "Van Halen's 'US Festival' Concert Revisited". May 29, 2014.
  20. ^ "Bludgeon death mars US Festival". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. May 30, 1983. p. 1A.
  21. ^ "Man Beaten to Death at Second US Festival". The New York Times. May 30, 1983.
  22. ^ "Second Person Found Dead at US Festival". The New York Times. June 1, 1983.
  23. ^ "October 19,1983 -Bloom County".
  24. ^ "October 20,1983 -Bloom County".
  25. ^ "Bloom County / Funny".
  26. ^ "October 29,1983 -Bloom County".
  27. ^ "October 31,1983 -Bloom County".
  28. ^ "October 24,1983 -Bloom County".
  29. ^ "October 25,1983 -Bloom County".
  30. ^ "November 3,1983 -Bloom County".
  31. ^ "November 2,1983 -Bloom County".
  32. ^ "November 3,1983 -Bloom County".
  33. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: ""Weird Al" Yankovic AL TV #1 - 4/1/1984 1/3". YouTube.
  34. ^ "The English Beat". The English Beat. September 18, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]