Before Woodstock and Coachella, the earliest recorded festivals date back to ancient Greece. The Greeks honored the gods by holding competitions in drama, poetry, music, and athletics. To honor Dionysus, the God of wine and ecstasy, the Greeks would hold the festival of Dionysus, which consisted of tragedy and comedy performances. Well-known Greek playwrights, such as Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, participated in these festivals.
Fast-forward to modern-day, and festivals have survived the test of time to evolve into a mainstream business. Since music is practically free with a minimal subscription-based fee through streaming services, artists can have a hard time making money in record sales. Instead, they financially depend on ticket sales for live performances. This also works in the fan’s favor as more people are looking to spend their money on experiences, such as travel and festivals instead of material goods.
Perhaps the most sought-after music festival experience was Woodstock in 1969. To this day, festival producers and organizers attempt to recreate the peaceful atmosphere of love and music. That event directly shaped the way we experience music: Attending a music festival has become a cultural phenomenon and right of passage that serves as a timestamp of popular music of the moment.
Stacker compiled a gallery of 50 historic music festivals, linking to video coverage of the shows when available. Read on to see if any of the music festivals you attended (or wish you had) made the list.
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