Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Top 7 Best Fests

Posted in Concert Reviews, Music by Jacob Zinn on July 26, 2009

To go with the recent Woodstock ’99 post, here are my Top 7 Best Fests. Yeah, number one is cliché, but who’s going to argue with me about it? (Sorry Lollapalooza and South by Southwest, you just weren’t as awesome.)

Top 7 Best Fests

7. Toronto Rocks – July 30, 2003
The Line-Up: The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, The Guess Who
The Reason: Sometimes referred to as “SARSstock” or “SARSapalooza,” this one-day show featured a lot of great rock acts coming to Canada to help revive tourism after the Toronto SARS scare. At the time, AC/DC and The Rolling Stones were touring Europe together, but this was their only Canadian show. It set a record for the largest ticketed single day event in history with an audience of 490,000 fans. Plus, it’s the Stones.

6. Rock in Rio – January 11-20, 1985
The Line-Up: Queen, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Whitesnake
The Reason: Over the course of the 10-day festival, an estimated 1.4 million attended some of the heaviest metal on earth. Iron Maiden had just released Powerslave, Ozzy Osbourne was “going off the rails on Crazy Train” and Freddie Mercury was still the best frontman alive. Add AC/DC, Scorpions, an ’80s one hit wonder and 58,000 McDonalds hamburgers and you’ve got the best Rock in Rio to date. It’s hard to top the original.

5. Rock am Ring & Rock Im Park – June 6-8, 2008
The Line-Up: Metallica, Motörhead, The Offspring, Rage Against The Machine, Kid Rock, HIM
The Reason: Germans are known for their love of hard rock, and for many years, the Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals has a killer bill. They are two annual simultaneous shows featuring rock, metal and punk music on both stages. In other years, bands such as Iron Maiden, Linkin Park and 3 Doors Down have performed–always an amazing show.

4. Download ’07 – June 8-10 ’07
The Line-Up: Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Mötley Crüe, Megadeth, Velvet Revolver, Korn, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, 30 Seconds to Mars, Dream Theater, Evanescence
The Reason: Three days, three stages and about three-dozen bands playing each day. Like Rock Am Ring & Rock Im Park, the Download Festival always a big line-up and a huge crowd with something for every rock fan to enjoy.

3. Donington ’91 – August 17, 1991
The Line-Up: AC/DC, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, The Black Crowes
The Reason: AC/DC’s performance was recorded and released on DVD and Blu-Ray, and the music was put on the AC/DC Live, which later influenced the AC/DC Live: Rock Band video game. The 18-song set featured Angus Young in his schoolboy outfit, a giant inflatable Rosie and a row of cannons across the stage for the encore. With Metallica and Crüe as warm-up acts, AC/DC’s got them by the balls.

2. Woodstock ’99 – July 23-25, 1999
The Line-Up: Metallica, Megadeth, The Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, Our Lady Peace, Limp Bizkit, Creed
The Reason: Yes, the end of Woodstock ’99 was not pretty, but the performers were outstanding. To have so many groups on the same bill perform before a few hundred-thousand youth happens once in a lifetime. It was more commercial than peaceful, but that’s how the world was 30 years later.

1. Woodstock ’69 – August 15-18, 1969
The Line-Up: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly & The Family Stone, Santana, Janis Joplin, Mountain, Jefferson Airplane
The Reason: Roughly 200,000 hippies went to a dairy farm in rural New York to see some of the best rock n’ roll before the ’60s ended; that sounds like a party to me. One $18 ticket got you four days of Hendrix, Joplin, CCR, The Who and 28 other bands, performing at all hours of the day and night for the flower power generation. Peace, free love and LSD were had by all.


One Response

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  1. Chris said, on September 7, 2009 at 8:53 PM

    nice list…can’t argue with a one. i like festivals.


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