History’s First Rock Concert

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

March 21

Moondog_poster1952: History’s first rock concert is held on a Friday night in Cleveland. The Moondog Coronation Ball, featuring hugely popular DJ Alan “Moondog” Freed, is massively promoted and 25,000 people show up to jam a hall with a capacity of 10,000. On the bill are Paul Williams, Tiny Grimes and the Dominoes. When the crowd begins to break down barriers, police move in and the concert is canceled before it even starts. On the radio the next evening, Freed apologizes. The he adds: “If anyone  . . .  had told us that some 20 or 25,000 people would try to get into a dance—I suppose you would have been just like me. You would have laughed and said they were crazy.”

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