Anniversary of the US Festival

05/29/2011
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Back in 1983, The four-day US Festival '83 took place in San Bernardino, California, featuring The Clash, U2, David Bowie, The Pretenders, Van Halen, Stray Cats, Men at Work, Judas Priest, Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, INXS, Joe Walsh, Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. Over 750,000 fans attended the festival. Gibson takes a look back:

Giant music festivals have a way of being remembered for a lot of things besides music. Woodstock was about the hippies, Altamont was about the Hell's Angels and the US Festival became known for losing a ton of money for Apple Computer founder Steve Wozniak. In 1982, Wozniak had paid to bulldoze a site and then construct an open-air music venue near Devore in southern California. His idea was to hold a three-day festival that would feature top music acts on the big stage, but also the latest in computers and technology in an air-conditioned tent. The first US Festival took place on Labor Day weekend of 1982, but it wasn't a big success. Despite landing top acts like Fleetwood Mac, The Police and Tom Petty, 110-degree heat and other factors kept many people away and the enterprise lost Wozniak an estimated $12 million.

Undeterred, Wozniak planned to have a second US Festival the following Memorial Day, which began on this day in 1983. This time, it was a four-day fest (with the last day taking place the following Saturday) and each day revolved around a loose theme. So, Saturday was "New Wave Day" with The Clash, Men at Work and the Stray Cats; Sunday was "Heavy Metal Day" with Van Halen, Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne; Monday was "Rock Day" with David Bowie, The Pretenders and U2 and the following Saturday was "Country Day" with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. But what about that David Lee Roth's clash with Joe Strummer... read on

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