Memorial Day weekend 1983 was the second coming of the US Festival in Southern California, the brainchild of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak who, after 1982’s test run, continued the mission of creating a community event combining technology with rock.
With a 4-day festival over 7 days, the format commenced on Friday with the “new wave” acts as a theme. Australia was highly represented with The Divinyls, Men at Work and our very own INXS. Saturday was “heavy metal day” with Van Halen and Ozzie Osbourne spearheading, and Sunday “rock day” with a young U2 and Stevie Nicks paving the way for the main act David Bowie. The following Sunday concluded the event with Country Day.
The importance of this event cannot be underestimated in inspiring future festivals such as Lollapalooza and Coachella, with over 1,100,000 fans attending these 1982/83 shows despite the collective apprehension after the infamous Altamont gig and Woodstock events some 15 years earlier.
Despite losing millions of dollars, the US Festival gigs of 1982 and 1983 represented a true zeitgeist moment in time and created fan and artist experiences that are still eulogized 40 years later. Importantly for INXS, the festival represented a pivotal confidence boost where they went from the pubs & club gigs of 1000 people to 180,000 at said Festival.
With Mark Opitz recently remastering INXS’ 9-song setlist performance, we urge you to check that out, plus sit back and dive deep into this nostalgic retrospective of an event that’s still admired 40 years later.
✌️ Love and Peace
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