Live music events attract hundreds of thousands of people. It can be the only opportunity for music fans to witness the hottest and most talked about artists of their time all in one roof. And the gathering of like-minded spectators add to the air of social harmony – like a big party with strangers who feel the same way as they do. Indeed, live events such as music festivals have a world of their own – fostering lifetime memories and social moments that have the possibility of defining an era.
Five of The Best Live Music Events of Modern Times
5. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Held every year at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, it’s the largest bohemian-inspired music festival in the world. Over 500,000 spectators make up the crowd, with most of them setting up camp on location for the 2-weekend and 3-day event. It’s a gathering of the world’s hottest acts of rock, indie, hip hop and electronic artists, with notable performances from Madonna, the late Amy Winehouse, Dr. Dre, Prince, Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Kanye West, and Jay-Z from the recent years.
Aside from the concert stages, Coachella is also an arts festival with art installations and sculptures showcased around the field. Young people from all over the world travel to Indio each year, wearing their best renditions of hippie and bohemian-inspired outfits that reminisce the 60’s. It is also one of the largest and most profitable live events in the US, with the 2013 event grossing $18.3 Million.
Originally a concert tour series, Lollapalooza is now held annually in the summer at Grant Park, Chicago. The best gathering of international acts of alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and hip hop, the event also features dance and comedy acts, craft booths, and serves as a platform for non-profit and political groups.
Attracting an average of 160,000 spectators each year, performers have included the top rock bands in the world, such as Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, The Smashing Pumpkins, Imagine Dragons, Tool, The Strokes, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, and Muse. Pop acts like Lady Gaga performed at one of the events before she got famous, and electronic pop acts have also recently made the list, with Calvin Harris the most recent addition.
A touring live event, international venues have included Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Poland.
3. SXSW (South by Southwest)
The biggest festival of its kind, SXSW is more than just a music event – its a gathering of all types of mostly independent acts and the creative arts. There’s an independent film festival, conferences ,and an interactive festival of innovative and the latest creative technologies. Since its inception in 1987, SXSW has evolved into a full cultural event that attracts the best up and coming artists in many fields.
The music event plays host to over 2,200 live acts over 100 venues, attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators. One of the highest revenue-producing event in Austin, Texas, it grossed $218 million in 2013 alone.
2. The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts
Created as a hippie-inspired event, the Glastonbury Festival has evolved into one of the world’s most popular live events. Considered to be the largest greenfield festival in the world, it attracts an average of 175,000 spectators in Pilton, Somerset, England, and celebrated over 5 days.
Notable performances include David Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Cure, and Coldplay. Staff are made of mostly volunteers, with the event’s main goal of raising millions of Pounds for different causes. Like Coachella, attendees can camp on site, with built tepees a favorite place to stay for many spectators. The UK’s largest musical event, performances and exhibitions of art, dance, comedy, theater, circus, and cabaret are sprawled all over the 1,200 acres in a beautiful valley.
1. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair
Undoubtedly the best and most revered musical festival of all time is the Woodstock Music and Art Fair of 1969. Regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, Woodstock was the first ever music festival to attracted over a half a million spectators. The recorded number of people who attended the festival was 400,000 but it would’ve reached well into a million people if cars weren’t forced to turn around by the police due to the uncontrollable traffic.
Held in a farm in Bethel, New York, the expected number of spectators were meant to be just 50,000 but the influx of people swelled beyond the intended number, forcing organizers to make it a free event- attracting even more people.
Notable acts included Janis Joplin, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix, whose rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” made music history. Check the video below for a great panoramic of this fantastic live concert!