Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience

Courtesy of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum / Robert Muller

Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience takes an immersive and engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience.

Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists – both old and new – or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe.

Some of the notable artifacts in this exhibition include:

* An acoustic guitar played by Muddy Waters at Newport Folk Festival in 1968

* Caftan worn by Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas at Monterey Pop

* Dave Matthews Band Handwritten Set List used at Bonnaroo in 2005

* Navy blue corduroy jacket worn by John Mellencamp at Farm Aid

* A synthesizer keyboard played by Trent Reynor of Nine Inch Nails

* An outfit worn by Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction at Lollapalooza in 2003

Exhibit snapshot

The exhibit surrounds visitors with the sights and sounds of a rock festival to evoke the experience in a visceral way, utilizing video of the iconic festivals of the past (Newport, Monterey, Woodstock, Wattstax and more) and the vibrant, constantly evolving events of the present (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and more), with an emphasis on establishing a “you are there” environment. Several floor to ceiling photographs of festival fans invite visitors to examine and interpret the fan experience and become a part of the crowd. Ambient sounds fill the space: weather, bands tuning up, people talking, radio ads and news reports. Visitors can connect with the intangible elements inherent in the festival experience – identifying with a community, participating in a social event and being part of the creative process.

The exhibit takes visitors through a fast-paced history of popular music festivals with large photographs, artifacts and three short documentary films. A longer film (approximately 20 minutes) represents 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.

For more information please contact Matt Seaman at [email protected] or by phone: 216-515-1209

Traveling schedule

Bullock Texas State History Museum, 3/10/2017 – 7/23/2017

Additional Traveling Exhibits

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