The birth, death and revival of Frost Music Festival

By Josie Hodson Joan Baez. The Grateful Dead. Creedence Clearwater Revival. Eric Clapton. These are just a few names that have performed at Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater. But Frost has not consistently hosted greats like these throughout its existence — indeed, the venue has had quite the roller coaster of a history. Before the era of rock ‘n’ roll, Frost was simply an event venue for speakers and commencement was often held in its grassy arena. Occasional jazz and classical musicians would play there. However, beginning in the late 1960s, Frost Amphitheater, situated between the Main Quad and Stanford Stadium, became the grassy stomping grounds for some of the biggest acts of the rock ‘n’ roll era. In the fall of 1972, reports of robbery, violence and extreme drug and alcohol abuse during these events led the University to ban on all concerts on campus. Not one amplifier was heard until an ASSU affiliate organization (now-defunct) called Special Events re-emerged in the mid 1970s and revived the concert scene. Special Events was an entirely student-run organization, and while it shared many similarities to Stanford Concert Network (SCN), the University’s current student-run concert promotion organization, Special Events had some particularly special qualities. The group was responsible for booking all concerts on campus and organizing with different venues to bring the most popular bands to the student body. Although the group was run by undergraduate students, it operated on an entirely professional level. “People from all over the Bay Area came,” said Lenny Lieberman ’80, one of the student organizers of Special Events. “You would not distinguish between a Stanford concert and a concert anywhere else.” Read the full article here:

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