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A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters

Today, there are thousands of music festivals around the world that include every possible kind of music. Here we look back on some of the biggest festivals, from the mid 50’s to the present day, focusing on an indispensable part of their culture: festival posters.

In fact, graphic design and (especially) festival posters have always been an essential way to shape the unique brand of a festival and to reflect its creative spirit. It is fascinating to look back and see how modern festival posters have evolved from contemporary predecessors. Let’s jump in. ,

Newport Jazz Festival

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Newport Jazz Festival poster from 1956 (via )

Starting in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival was not only the first annual jazz concert, but probably the prototype for all well-known music festivals to date. Over the years, it has attracted outstanding artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. ,

Milton Glaser für die Show von 1978. His graphic design remained the same, at least through the ’70s, with the unforgettable design of Milton Glaser for the 1978 show.

Newport Folk Festival

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Newport Folk Festival

This festival was started by George Wein, the same person who started his jazz cousin just a few years later. At the 1964 show Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Peter Paul and Mary and Pete Seeger were there, but the crucial moment was in 1965, when Dylan played electric strengthened.

In recent years, the festival’s graphic design has emphasized Newport’s maritime identity, but that has not always been the case.

Monterey International Pop Festival

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Monterey International Pop Festival poster (via

Considered the first true rock festival, the Monterey Pop Festival was scheduled in just 6 weeks and took place in 1967 over three days. It was played by bands like The Beach Boys, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix, who never forgot to set his guitar on fire when he played “Wild Thing”.

The festival posters for the show exemplify the ” psychedelic ” style developed by artists such as Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.

Woodstock

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Woodstock Festival

The 1969 concert, held on the grounds of a dairy farm in Upstate New York, is by far the most famous festival of all time. It was played by artists like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Woodstock Festival revivals took place in 1979, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2009, but none of them matched the original. desaströs . The 1999 concert, featuring bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was particularly disastrous . His poster design lacked originality and did not have the folksy feel and vivid colors of the 1969 original.

Isle of Wight Festival

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Isle of Wight Festival poster from 1970 (via

The festival, which takes place on a small island off the English coast, was first held in 1968 and continued until 1970, with bands such as The Who, The Doors and Joni Mitchell.

The 1970s version allegedly attracted 600,000 people, which was enough to stop it all. However, in 2002, it was reissued and has been held every year since then. The new posters are a tribute to the originals and retain the same color palette and super-detailed improvised imagery.

Glastonbury

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Glastonbury Festival Posters from 1970 (via

Andrew Kerr went to the Isle of Wight Festival and in 1970 decided to start his own festival. Originally it was called Pilton, after the city in which it first took place. In 1971, David Bowie performed on the now infamous Pyramid Stage.

Starting in 1981, it took place almost every year (every sixth year is skipped to allow the organizers and the country a break). The posters have always placed a strong emphasis on text and color.

Pinkpop

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Pinkpop Festival posters from 1979 (via

First hosted in 1970 and hosted every year since then, Pinkpop is the longest running music festival in the Netherlands. His beginnings were humble – it first took place on a Whit Monday and advertised with a suckling pig roast to attract spectators – but it has risen to one of the biggest festivals, with artists by Elvis Costello about Muse. The graphic design has really gone through the whole spectrum at this time, but an underlying commonality has remained: the color pink.

Pukkelpop

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Pukkelpop festival posters from 1991 (via

The first repeat of this festival, which took place in 1985 in Belgium, attracted only 3,000 visitors. It remained quite small throughout the ’80s until it gained momentum in 1991, with major alto rock bands such as Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and The Ramones.

Older posters have a punkish briskness, while newer posters are more restrained and take a calmer approach. Of course, between the above posters from 1994 and 2014 are a good 20 years.

There has been a lot happening in time, not just in graphic design (such as better-developed digital tools), but also in music played at festivals. The older posters are in keeping with the old rock, while the newer ones adapt to the mix of rock, electronic and the seamlessly produced pop played on the pukkelpop these days.

Lollapalooza

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
Lollapalooza festival

First hosted in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band, Lollapalooza soon became a full-blown festival that took place until 1997 and was re-launched in 2004.

Since 2005, the American reissue has always taken place in Chicago, but international offshoots have gained a foothold worldwide. The poster design of 1991 was very, let’s say, improvised, but that does not apply to the most recent versions. These are clearly the work of experts; they contain impressive illustration, color and font.

Coachella

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters
A collection of Coachella festival

The roots of the Coachella Festival date back to 1993, when Pearl Jam played on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club in the Californian desert, following a dispute with Ticketmaster that prevented them from performing in Los Angeles. Four years later, while attending the Glastonbury Festival, Paul Tollett, whose company Goldenvoice had booked Pearl Jam, thought back to the Polo grounds and found that this was also feasible for a Glastonbury-like festival.

At the 1999 Opening Festival, bands like Beck, Morrissey and Rage Against the Machine played. It returned in 2001 and has been hosted every year since then. Coachella is unique among the music festivals as it has stayed with a poster template over all the years and just varied the color scheme a bit.

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A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters

A retrospective of 60 years of iconic music festival posters

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