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Musical festivals are a big deal and so many people travel to go to the most renowned music festivals in the world. You’ve probably heard of some of the big ones from the past such as Woodstock and you might even be interested in attending modern festivals such as Wacken Open Air. Most people don’t know about the history of music festivals, though, and how far back the roots go. Keep reading to learn more about the history of music festivals. 

The Roots of Music Festivals

The roots of music festivals can probably be traced back to religious retreats in the 18th century. In the past, evangelists would travel to special camps to pray and sing hymns. You can also find music-based gatherings further back than that if you look at pagan rituals. People have been gathering to play and appreciate music in various ways for hundreds of years. 

When it comes to modern music festivals, the first one might be a jazz festival that was held in 1954 in Rhode Island. This was known as the Newport Jazz Festival and more than 11,000 people were there. Famous artists of the day such as Billie Holiday performed at the festival and it was a big hit. America’s first known jazz festival came and went, but music festivals would go through a boom in the 1960s. 

The 1960s

In the 1960s, the first major rock festival was held and it was known as the Monterey International Pop Festival. This is the famous event where Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire. The legendary Janis Joplin launched her career at this festival as well and The Who began their ascent in America by appearing there. This festival gave way to the Summer of Love and eventually, the legendary Woodstock event happened. 

Modern Music Festivals

Modern music festivals are incredibly popular and many people go to various festivals. There are festivals for specific musical genres and there are ones that have a variety of different artists from all genres. People love music and it’s a lot of fun being able to appreciate music along with a massive crowd of fellow music lovers. It seems like music festivals will be very much a part of pop culture for the foreseeable future.