TribLIVE

| AandE


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Music festivals become cultural common ground

Anna and Matt Cardy, Courtesy of Glastonbury - A scene from the Glastonbury Festival in England, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Anna and Matt Cardy, Courtesy of Glastonbury</em></div>A scene from the Glastonbury Festival in England, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rukes.com - Hardwell at the Electric Daisy Carnival, 2013, part of the photos at the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rukes.com</em></div>Hardwell at the Electric Daisy Carnival, 2013, part of the photos at the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Courtesy of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music - Memphis, TN. - A photo of the Wattstax, 1972 festival in Los Angeles, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Courtesy of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music - Memphis, TN.</em></div>A photo of the Wattstax, 1972 festival in Los Angeles, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Carl Fowler - Hand painted 50-gallon bin from Glastonbury Festival, 2013 in England, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Carl Fowler</em></div>Hand painted 50-gallon bin from Glastonbury Festival, 2013  in England, part of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - A 20-minute film representing a fast moving day at a festival told through a cinematic mash-up of performances, sights, sounds, words and communal energy of iconic music festivals from the past seven decades
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame</em></div> A 20-minute film representing a fast moving day at a festival told through a cinematic mash-up of performances, sights, sounds, words and communal energy of iconic music festivals from the past seven decades
Carl Fowler - Caftan worn by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Carl Fowler</em></div>Caftan worn by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Carl Fowler - Jimi Hendrix guitar strap used at Woodstock, 1969, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Carl Fowler</em></div>Jimi Hendrix guitar strap used at Woodstock, 1969, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. - Typed list of running order for Live Aid Festival, JFK Stadium, 1985, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.</em></div>Typed list of running order for Live Aid Festival, JFK Stadium, 1985, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Carl Fowler - Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction outfit worn at Lollapalooza Festival, 2003, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Carl Fowler</em></div>Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction outfit worn at Lollapalooza Festival, 2003, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lollapalooza/Jack Edinger - A photo of Deadmau5 at Lollapalooza, 2011, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Lollapalooza/Jack Edinger</em></div>A photo of Deadmau5 at Lollapalooza, 2011, part of the 'Common Ground' exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - General view of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit on the 5th floor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame</em></div>General view of the “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit on the 5th floor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - The centerpiece of the “Common Ground” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the top floor, which features a giant scaffolding that rises to the ceiling, reminiscent of the scaffoldings that festivalgoers climbed to watch the stage at Woodstock surrounded by screens showing scenes from various festivals.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame</em></div>The centerpiece of the “Common Ground” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the top floor, which features a giant scaffolding that rises to the ceiling, reminiscent of the scaffoldings that festivalgoers climbed to watch the stage at Woodstock surrounded by screens showing scenes from various festivals.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Artifacts from Electronic Dance Music festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, Creamfields), including the battered laptop and customized black-and-gold Nike high-tops used by Pittsburgh native Girl Talk at Lollapalooza 2008, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame</em></div>Artifacts from Electronic Dance Music festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, Creamfields), including the battered laptop and customized black-and-gold Nike high-tops used by Pittsburgh native Girl Talk at Lollapalooza 2008, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. - Artifacts from Electronic Dance Music festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, Creamfields), including the battered laptop and customized black-and-gold Nike high-tops used by Pittsburgh native Girl Talk at Lollapalooza 2008, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.</em></div>Artifacts from Electronic Dance Music festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, Creamfields), including the battered laptop and customized black-and-gold Nike high-tops used by Pittsburgh native Girl Talk at Lollapalooza 2008, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” exhibit.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

‘Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience'

When: Through Jan. 31, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily, until 9 p.m. Wednesdays, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day, open until 9 p.m. Saturdays

Admission: $22, $17 for age 65 and older, $13 for ages 9-12; free for ages 8 and younger (with adult admission)

Where: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, 1100 E 9th St., Cleveland

Details: www.rockhall.com or 216-781-7625

Saturday, May 3, 2014, 8:21 p.m.
 

Sunburn. Sweat. Mosquitoes. Beyond-capacity crowds. Trash. Primitive sanitation. Rain. Erratic sound. Mud.

File those under “Things nobody remembers and/or cares about” at summer music festivals.

Instead, we remember Jimi Hendrix' eloquent, feedback-ravaged deconstruction of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969, Bob Dylan's blasphemous plugging-in of electric guitars at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 (inspiring boos and shouts of “Judas!” from the crowd), and Jesse Jackson leading the crowd in a demand for respect and dignity — “I am ... somebody!” — at Wattstax in 1973.

The names themselves seem to wield a certain memory-summoning, Zeitgeist-shaping power — Woodstock, Wattstax, Newport, Monterey Pop, Altamont, Live Aid, Glastonbury, Isle of Wight — becoming a kind of shorthand for a musical-cultural moment in time never to be forgotten.

At the moment, the summer music-festival circuit seems to only be getting bigger, more diverse and easier to access, spreading to virtually every corner of North America, Europe and beyond. Clearly, the proliferation of massive musical gatherings seems to have some significance, not just musically, but as broader indicators of culture, consumption, fashion and protest.

“In the festival experience, it's as much about the fans as the music — whether you were at Newport in '58 or Coachella last week,” says Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

The Rock Hall has a new exhibit called “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience” that chronicles the history of the music festival. It attempts to tell the story of this cultural phenomenon through a collection of film clips, artifacts, posters, memorabilia and even live feeds from current festivals throughout the summer.

“The modern (music) festival started in 1938 with the ‘Spirituals to Swing' festival,” Onkey says. “There's, like, 1,200 festivals a year now.

“At Woodstock, hippies got to find out that they weren't the only freaks. Festivals pretty much died out in the U.S. in the '80s, but took off in Europe. EDM (electronic dance music) has really found a mass audience through festivals.”

Though the music is only tangentially related to rock and roll, the many hues of electronic dance music have ridden a wave of festival-generated momentum, taking the rave experience out of abandoned warehouses and into the mainstream.

Still, it's a little amazing to see artifacts from Pittsburgh's own electronic mash-up champion Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis) in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yet, his battered laptop and customized black-and-gold Nike high-tops are there, in a display from Lollapalooza 2008.

“The vast majority of the festivals were happy to collaborate with the exhibit,” says Todd Mesek, the Rock Hall's vice president of communications.

As a result, there are some really unique and unusual items on display.

There's Jimi Hendrix' guitar strap from Woodstock, Keith Emerson's battered 200-pound Hammond organ from the Isle of Wight Festival in 1971, Muddy Waters' acoustic guitar from the Newport Jazz Festival in 1968, Grace Slick's kaftan from the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

The centerpiece of “Common Ground” is the top floor, which features a giant scaffolding that rises to the ceiling, reminiscent of the scaffoldings that festivalgoers climbed to watch the stage at Woodstock. The room is surrounded by four giant screens, showing a 20-minute film cut together from many music festivals, depicting the festival experience “from dawn to dawn.”

Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mmachosky@tribweb.com or 412-320-7901.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Music

  1. Synod Hall concert mixes basic bluegrass with benefit
  2. Kanny: Country and western rocks the PSO
  3. Texas Tenors view chance to perform as a gift
  4. Van Halen tickets on sale Friday for Burgettstown show
  5. Roy Ayers closes Pittsburgh’s Jazz Appreciation Month with R&B feel
  6. Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra shifts to Mozart to accommodate injured pianist
  7. Mavericks step out ahead by going old-school ‘Mono’
  8. Etheridge, Smashing Pumpkins tickets on sale soon for Munhall shows
  9. Parrotheads rejoice: Jimmy Buffett coming to First Niagara on Aug. 13
  10. Music legends Dick Dale and Merle Haggard plan W.Pa. shows