On a blistering hot, Labor Day weekend in 1982, about an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, The Ramones, B52’s, Talking Heads, and The Police all took the stage in front of over 100,000 fans. The Police were in mid-tour for Ghosts in the Machine and as Stewart Copeland recollects: “we were whip-cracking hot – and we scorched Southern California”. The next day, Eddie Money, Santana, The Cars, The Kinks, Pat Benatar, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers rocked to an even larger crowd. Sunday morning, The Grateful Dead took the stage bright and early – billed as “Breakfast in Bed with the Grateful Dead“, and they were followed by a lineup that included Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band and Jackson Browne. Fleetwood Mac closed the show. This was The 1982 US Festival.
“The US Festival was financed by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple,” says Glenn Aveni, of Icon Music TV, an indie filmmaker who has produced and directed music documentaries on John Entwistle, The Clash, and Les Paul. “It was produced by Bill Graham. The 350,000 fans that were there still consider it a highlight of their concert-going lives. Yet for all its talent, and for all its influence and innovation, the US Festival is not so readily remembered, because there never was a film about it… Until now.”
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