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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

AXS is one of my favorite channels.  That channel takes up a lot of DVR space.  My favorites on that channel are the Top Ten Revealed and Year In Review series’. I was watching a documentary the other day on something many people might not know about.  It was called US Festival.  It was a three-day festival held for the first time in 1982.  They also held one in 1983.  US was an acronym for Unite us in Song.  US is sometimes referred to as the “Woodstock of the ‘80’s”.  Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak spent $20,000.000 of his own money to put on the US Festivals.  Steve Jobs reportedly thought Woz was “crazy” for doing the US Festivals.

If you run across this documentary on tv, I suggest you watch.  Here are the acts who played the US Festival in 1982.  Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, the Grateful Dead, Eddie Money, The Cars, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Ramones, Talking Heads and The Police were a handful of acts that performed over the course of Labor Day Weekend in 1982 at the US Festival.  Another act that performed at that inaugural festival were Santana. The Festival ran the entirety of the 3-day Labor Day weekend.

The 1983 US Festival took place just outside of San Bernadino, California.  The bands that played were Van Halen, The Pretenders, U2, The Clash, INXS, Stevie Nicks, David Bowie, Joe Walsh, Motley Crue, The Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Triumph, John Cougar and metal band Judas Priest. 

Here are the suggested questions about the US Festival on Google.  I can’t believe this second question is real but I’m looking right at it.  After “what bands played the first US festival” was the inquiry “how many babies conceived at Woodstock”? Researchers said while many were conceived at Woodstock, none actually gave birth.  Anyway, back to the US Festival…

Take a look at the setlist.  Some you’ll recognize and some you won’t.  Friday September 3, 1982: Gangs of Four, Oingo Boingo, Ramones, Talking Heads, The B-52’s, The Beat and The Police.  Saturday saw Dave Edmunds, Eddie Money, Pat Benatar, Santana, The Cars, The Kinks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Sunday saw Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne, Jerry Jeff Walker and Jimmy Buffett take the stage.  The 1983 US Festival, also held in San Bernadino, California, was held May 28, 29, 30 and June 4.  Flock of Seagulls, Divinyls, INXS, Men At Work, Oingo Boingo, Stray Cats, The Beat, The Clash and Wall of Vodoo played day one.  Day 2 saw Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Triumph and Van Halen.  May 30 saw Berlin, David Bowie, Joe Walsh, Little Steven & The Disciples(yes, the Little Steven of Little Steven’s Underground Garage), Los Lobos, Missing Persons, Pretenders, Quarterflash, Stevie Nicks and U2.  Saturday June 4 was Country day with Alabama, Emmylou Harris, Hank, Jr, Ricky Skaggs, Riders in the Sky, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.  I’ve seen the ’82 festival.  I’ve got to find and watch 1983’s festival.  There were 36 arrests, a reported 12 drug overdoses, one associated murder of a hitchhiker occurred the day after the event.  The festival lost a reported $12 million.  Those reasons likely attributed to the dissolution of the festival.  Total attendance for the 3 days was about 400,000.  Go online and check these out for yourself! I definitely will!





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