The First Rock Concert

The Moondog Coronation Ball was held on March 21, 1952 at Cleveland Arena. Tickets were sold out in one day, teenagers waited in line hours before, and the concert was ultimately shut down due to chaotic circumstances. It doesn’t sound like much has changed since then. Cleveland disk jockey, Alan Freed, organized the Moondog Coronation Ball which would be considered the first rock concert in history. The concert showcased talents such as Paul Williams, Tiny Grimes, the Dominoes, Varetta Dillard, and Danny Cobb. Freed’s plan was to sell tickets for a $1.50 and completely fill the 10,000-seat venue. The event’s ┬ápopularity was growing and promoters continued to print tickets beyond the arena’s capacity. 20,000 – 25,000 fans showed up to the venue’s gates the day of the concert. Shortly after the opening act, Paul Williams completed his first song, the Cleveland police disbanded the show out of fear that a riot might break out. After only one song, the world’s first rock show was over.

first rock concert

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