Top 10 Music Festivals of All Time
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
In the 1960s and '70s, there was nothing quite like attending a music festival. They were a chance to see your favorite performers live, party with friends, and maybe even experiment with various mind-altering substances. Some of these festivals are still going strong today—Coachella being one of the most famous examples. But if you're looking for an opportunity to experience something new this summer, consider visiting one of these historic events.
Woodstock was the first major rock festival of the 1960s. Held on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York from August 15 to August 18, 1969 (it was originally scheduled for three days but ended up going six), Woodstock kicked off a decade that would see hundreds of festivals around the world and gave birth to many of today's most popular artists.
Woodstock featured performances by some of music's biggest names at the time: Jimi Hendrix, Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, Janis Joplin and many others.
Live Aid (1985)
Live Aid was a dual-venue benefit concert held on Saturday, July 13, 1985. It was organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Billed as the "Global Jukebox", the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, England and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in the United States).
The original idea was to hold a single concert but it soon evolved into a two-venue international event with simultaneous concerts broadcast live via satellite around the world. The original idea for this type of charity concert came from Midge Ure who saw that Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' had raised millions for famine relief and then suggested to Geldof that they hold another similar event.
Monterey Pop Festival (1967)
Monterey Pop Festival
Date: June 16–18, 1967
Location: Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California
Who was there? Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who headlining. Traffic, Simon & Garfunkel and Otis Redding also performed at the festival.
What happened? It was the first major rock festival in America to gain national attention and is considered one of the first major festivals for music fans to attend. There were over 25 acts on three stages for three days straight with artists playing back-to-back sets all day long so you could see every band without having to worry about missing any performances due to scheduling conflicts or exhaustion from being out all night partying before hand!
The first Glastonbury Festival was held in June 1970 and took place at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. It was organised by Michael Eavis and his wife Jean along with help from their daughter Emily Eavis, who is still the festival's organiser today. The event was a free festival and attracted around 1,500 people but since then it has grown into one of Europe's biggest music festivals with around 175,000 attending each year. By 1994 it had become so popular that Michael decided to charge £25 per ticket to keep up with increasing demand for tickets.
Since then Glastonbury has featured many famous artists including Jay Z, Beyoncé Knowles and Kanye West who performed together at Glastonbury 2017 with a performance of "Niggas In Paris". To celebrate this momentous occasion I have put together 10 reasons why I think Glastonbury is one of the best music festivals ever,
Newport Jazz Festival (1959)
The Newport Jazz Festival was the first large-scale jazz festival. It took place in 1959 and was attended by many famous jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. The festival helped to establish the idea of a music festival as a way to celebrate the culture surrounding a certain genre, which has inspired hundreds of other festivals since then.
Reading Festival (1992)
Reading Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the UK, held annually since 1971. The festival was only held from 1992 to 1996 and then again from 2001 to 2007; in 2016 it was announced that Reading would be returning for its 41st year!
The headliners for the first year were Nirvana, Suede and Paul Weller. The Cranberries were also on the bill as well as PJ Harvey who performed solo after her band had broken up earlier that year.
Isle of Wight festival (1969)
The Isle of Wight festival is the most famous music festival in British history. The festival was held on a farm near Newport on the Isle of Wight over 3 days, with many big name acts performing at the event.
The festival was founded by local businessman Jim Hickey and his companion Ronan O'Rahilly and originally scheduled to be held in 1968. However, this had to be postponed because of bad weather conditions during that year’s summer season (the “summer of love”).
It went ahead as an open-air concert on 29 August 1969 with headline performances from Rod Stewart and Procol Harum at Seaclose Park in Waterford, Ireland before returning home to its roots on 17 June 1970 where it became one of the biggest events ever staged with an estimated 600 million viewers worldwide tuning into watch The Rolling Stones perform plus other bands such as Blind Faith who had split up just 2 months earlier but agreed to reform for this one gig only!
Reading festival (1973)
The Reading Festival was a three-day music festival, which was held at Richfield Avenue between the 18th and 20th August in 1973 in Reading, Berkshire. The festival featured the likes of Thin Lizzy, T. Rex and Pink Floyd. It’s often been referred to as one of the best festivals to ever be held in England, mainly because it brought together so many artists from different genres under one roof; rock, pop and heavy metal bands all played together for people who loved every type of music. Since then it has been known as "the place where punk met metal", as well as being credited with kickstarting new wave music too!
The Reading Festival took place on August 18–20th 1973 at Richfield Avenue near Bridge Valley Road (now called Rivermead Leisure Complex). Although there were some technical problems during early performances on 19th August 1973 due to bad weather conditions it didn't stop anyone from having fun! The real highlight of this gig was when David Bowie performed his new single Starman live on stage - this was recorded by radio presenter John Peel who wanted everyone listening back home in UK radio stations across country so they could enjoy listening too!
Isle of Wight Festival (1970)
The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival held annually at the Seaclose Park in Newport on the Isle of Wight, England. It was created by two brothers, who wanted to put on a free concert for their local community. Their vision was so successful that it would become one of the most iconic events in rock history.
The festival first took place in 1970 and was headlined by Jimi Hendrix, with other acts including The Doors and Marc Bolan & T. Rex. It attracted 150,000 people—a huge number considering it took place on an island off the coast of England!
This was just one example of how festivals can bring together people from all walks of life and help them celebrate common interests like music or artistry—making them truly special experiences worth repeating year after year!
Monterey Pop Festival (1966)
The Monterey Pop Festival, held in June of 1967, was the first major rock festival. The festival was organized by Lou Adler and John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas. It featured some of the most famous artists in music history such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Simon & Garfunkel and The Who.
The event took place at several locations in the city including Monterey County Fairgrounds Golden Gate Park and Pacific High School Stadium which has since been renamed Jackie Robinson Stadium after baseball legend Jackie Robinson who played for one year with our Cleveland Indians!
There are a lot of music festivals out there, but the ones on this list are the ones that have stood the test of time. They’re still talked about today and they still influence how we think about music festivals. And who knows? Maybe one day some new festival will rock our world in a similar way.
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