Greatest Music Festival Moments

To some people, music festivals are just a fun place to get together with friends and listen to music—a place where the normal rules of society are bent into unrecognizable shapes and inhibitions dissipate into the sky like a cloud of smoke. For true music lovers, there is something else about festivals—some big, overwhelming feeling that you’re in the middle of something special. At any moment, what you’re watching could go down in music history. The surprise guest appearances, unlikely collaborations, public meltdowns, and performances of a lifetime all happen on the biggest stages of the music world. If you’re lucky, you might just be able to look back in 20 years and say, “I was there.”

From epic sets to on-stage debauchery, we gathered some of the most memorable moments in festival history. Here’s our list of the 50 Greatest Music Festival Moments of all time.

Hit “next” or press shift+right to read on…

50. Phish’s Great Went Glowstick War

Festival: Great Went Festival
Year: 1997
Location: Limestone, Maine

At around midnight during the show, the lights went off and Phish began playing “Harry Hood” under the moonlight. Someone decided to throw a glowstick in the air. Someone else followed. Soon enough, the sky was lit up with flying glowing objects, and Phish decided to roll with it. They took in the spectacle while they watched, providing a soundtrack to the impromptu glowstick war. Make fun of Phish and their following for being dirty hippies all you want, but there is a very special feeling of community at a Phish festival. You can feel it in the air; it’s impossible to ignore; and as insignificant as it may sound, the Great Went Glowstick War was one of those moments that linked Phish and their fans in a way that very few bands of fans in music history will ever be able to relate to.

49. John Paul Jones, Ben Harper, and Questlove Link Up For A Jam

Festival: Bonnaroo
Year: 2007
Location: Tennessee

A classic rock legend, the coolest drummer out, and the soft-voiced Renaissance Man combined forces to jam as an unlikely supergroup. This might not have gone over as well at any other festival, but at Bonnaroo, it was perfect.

48. Lil B Declares “I’m Gay”

Festival: Coachella
Year: 2011
Location: Indio, California

A lot of people think Lil B’s whole career is basically one big attention-seeking scheme. If that’s the case, consider Lil B a success. No matter what you thought of B calling his album I’m Gay, it was very hard not to join in on the conversation. Here he is at Coachella, telling the crowd, “I’m gonna do the most controversial thing in hip-hop. I’m gonna show y’all that words don’t mean shit. I’m gonna make an album called I’m Gay.”

47. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Step In For The Beastie Boys

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2009
Location: Chicago

Losing a headlining act can be a devastating blow to a festival. In 2009 the Beastie Boys had to drop out due to Adam Yauch’s cancer diagnosis. Karen O. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stepped up to fill in, and they gave an electrifying show that ended up being one of the year’s highlights. They performed many of their crowd-favorite hits and also gave the Beastie Boys a little nod with a short riff from “So What’cha Want.”

46. Deervana Rocks Bonnaroo

Festival: Bonnaroo
Year: 2011
Location: Tennessee

Deer Tick played their regularly scheduled set, then came back at 1:30 a.m. for an 8-song set as “Deervana,” playing all Nirvana covers from “In Bloom” to “Scentless Apprentice.” There was crowd surfing, instrument smashing, and all the reckless energy that you’d expect from a Nirvana performance.

45. The Libertines Reunite

Festival: Reading Festival
Year: 2010
Location: Reading, England

The Libertines, led by the notorious Pete Doherty, have always had problems keeping their act together and staying focused on music. They built up an adoring fan base but let them down time and time again. Internal disputes and Pete’s rampant addictions to heroin and crack overpowered the music, and live performances were often let downs as Pete was too out of his mind to put on a show. In 2010, they finally came back together for a few live shows, one of them being Reading, and they didn’t disappoint. After the performance the members—who had long been disputing—embraced before walking off stage.

44. Deadmau5 Headlines Lollapalooza

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2011
Location: Chicago

The big headliners of 2011’s Lollapalooza were Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and…. Deadmau5? The festival has built a reputation for being open to all kinds of acts—and Deadmau5 isn’t some no-name struggling for fans—but to place the masked producer with names like Em and Coldplay was a sign that things were changing. EDM was no longer some weird subculture for nothing but runaway kids who take drugs and go to raves in dark warehouses. Since then, the rise of EDM into the mainstream has stayed on course, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

43. Sly and The Family Stone’s Late Night Funk

Festival: Woodstock
Year: 1969
Location: Bethel, New York

It was 3:30 a.m. and Sly wasn’t about to let the party die down. He and his crew of men and women brought the horns, the funk, the bombast. The Woodstock performance hit the crowd with a much-appreciated holt of energy, and it is considered to be one of Sly and The Family Stone’s best performances ever.

42. Sex On The Hill

Festival: Sasquatch Festival
Year: 2000
Location: Washington

Music festivals inspire all kinds of indulgent behavior. Anywhere else, public displays of sex are frowned upon (by prudes), but during the Sasquatch Festival in Washington, a couple’s display of affection became one of the most memorable moments. While the Decemberists performed, a couple climbed onto the top of a hill—in plain view of thousands of people—and proceeded to have sex until security could finally climb up and have them removed. The crowd cheered, the Decemberists kept playing, and no fucks were given. Well, one fuck was given.

41. Odd Future Brings Chaos To SXSW

Festival: SXSW
Year: 2011
Location: Austin, Texas

By 2011’s SXSW, people were beginning to understand what Odd Future was all about, and a big part of that was the punk rock energy they brought to the live show. Mosh-pits, stage diving, broken bones, and blood spilling were all common occurrences. But the group was still pretty new, and with all this attention and all these eyes on them at their SXSW debut, it seemed like they might tone things down and go for something a little more acceptable for the masses. They did not. Noses were broken, on-stage tantrums were thrown, and Tyler, The Creator and his crew solidified their own very unique spot in the world of hip-hop.

40. Jay-Z Brings Out MJ

Festival: Summer Jam
Year: 2001
Location: Uniondale, Long Island

To famous rappers, flexing has always been a vital part of building an image. Cars, jewels, money, and girls are cool, but Jay-Z pulled off what might have been the ultimate stunt in 2001 at Nassau Coliseum. Jay announced that Michael Jackson was present, but as he waited on stage after the announcement, MJ didn’t appear. “You want me to go back and get him myself? OK, I’m ‘a go get him.” And then there he was, Michael fucking Jackson, standing on stage at a rap festival next to Jay-Z. Pow. He didn’t perform, but he didn’t really need to. Jay brought out the King Of Pop, and suddenly other rappers’ jewelry wasn’t so impressive.

39. Bob Dylan’s Return To The Stage

Festival: Isle Of Wight Festival
Year: 1969
Location: Isle Of Wight, England

In 1969, it had been three years since Bob Dylan’s motorcycle accident. It wasn’t known whether or not he’d ever perform again. Weeks earlier, there was speculation that Dylan would appear at the Woodstock Festival, since at the time Dylan was living in Woodstock, New York. He didn’t show up, and it seemed unlikely that if he missed that, he’d be showing up at any other stages. It turns out that the day Woodstock began, Dylan took off for the Isle Of Wight. The festival brought in hundreds of thousands of fans, and Dylan made his return to the stage 11 days after Woodstock closed.

38. Kanye West & Swizz Beats Bring Out The Hits

Festival: Summer Jam
Year: 2007
Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey

The term “superproducer” gets tossed around a lot, but Kanye and Swizzy showed Giants Stadium why they earned that title. The two went back and forth and played hit after hit after hit in what’s become known as their “battle of the beats.” Who won? They both did, clearly.

37. Eminem Comes Back Strong

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2011
Location: Chicago

By 2011, Eminem had been through a lot. As one of the biggest stars in hip-hop, we watched him rise and we saw him fall. After disappearing from the spotlight for a while and heading into rehab, it wasn’t clear if one of the masters of the genre still had it in him. On the Lollapalooza stage, he proved that he did. In a moment of honesty and vulnerability, Em thanked fans for sticking with him. His was the standout performance of the day, and the encore of “Lose Yourself” was the icing on the cake.

36. Phish’s Tower Jam

Festival: It
Year: 2003
Location: Limestone, Maine

“It” was a three-day festival on a secluded air force base in Maine. With everyone there camping out and a small village set up to serve the fans, it was more like a small, temporary community than a festival. Phish played for hours every day, with no other acts taking the stage. Late one night, word started to spread around the festival grounds that something special was going down at the control tower. It wasn’t scheduled, and concert-goers only heard about it through word of mouth. Fans made their way to the tower, and sure enough Phish had set up and began to jam out. Acrobatic dancers added to the dramatic nature of the session, and it turned out to be one of the most epic impromptu sets Phish ever pulled off.

35. Josh Homme Threatens To Buttfuck A Fan During Fever-Fueled Rant

Festival: Norwegian Wood Festival
Year: 2008
Location: Norway

Josh Homme, the lead singer of Queens Of Stone Age, was performing despite having a fever. Some kid chose the wrong day to fuck with Josh Homme. The kid threw a shoe at Josh, and Josh called the kid out. Not only did he call the kid out, he verbally assaulted him, called him a dickless turd, and threatened to buttfuck him in front of all his friends. After thoroughly embarrassing the young fan, Josh had him pulled out of the crowd and dragged out. During the dickless terd’s exit, Hommes threw the shoe back at the kid. It was a little over-the-top, and we can’t condone the use of Hommes’ offensive language, or the idea of speaking to children that way, but we also can’t stop watching the video and laughing.

34. The Shins Revive Classic Rock

Festival: DeLuna Fest
Year: 2011
Location: Pensacola Beach, FL

The Shins are best known for their easy going indie rock sound, but after a solid set, James Mercer and company took the crowd back with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” They followed that up by going straight into a take on David Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes.” It wasn’t something you’d expect from The Shins, but it was an unexpected moment that ended up being one of the most memorable.

33. Sarah McLachlan Births The Lilith Fair

Festival: Lilith Fair
Year: 1996
Location: Mansfield, Massachusetts

In 1996, Sarah McLachlan was pissed that radio stations and concert promoters were refusing to book two female acts in a row. To counter this, she and Paula Cole started to tour. One of their first performances together went down in Mclachlan’s hometown under the name “Lilith Fair.” By 1997, Lilith Fair’s all-female lineup was bringing in $16 million.

32. Iggy Pop Gets Friendly With His Fans

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2007
Location: Chicago, Illinois

While festivals have a lot of advantages, they’ve also got a downside: with such huge crowds present, any type of intimacy and connection with fans can be lost in the ocean of bodies. After bringing the energy to 2007’s Lollapalooza with The Stooges, Iggy Pop made sure that connection was made. He invited fans up on the stage to join in on the celebration, and suddenly that gap between rock star and random fan seemed to be non-existent.

31. 50 Cent Gets Bottled

Festival: Reading Festival
Year: 2004
Location: Reading, England

In 2004, not everyone was ready to embrace the rise of mainstream, radio-centric hip-hop. As 50 Cent took the stage at England’s Reading Festival, he was greeted with a barrage of bottles thrown at him. He lasted 20 minutes before tossing his microphone into the crowd and walking off. If you look at the videos, it was clear that he didn’t have much of a choice. In just a few years, hip-hop acts headlining traditionally rock/pop music festivals would be the norm, but the crowd at 2004’s Reading Festival wasn’t having it. While this might not seem like a “great” music festival moment, it’s hard to deny that it was a powerful reflection of the times and the point before a huge cultural shift would come.

30. Courtney Love Shows Her Tits

Festival: Big Day Out
Year: 1999
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Courtney Love’s erratic behavior shouldn’t surprise anyone. During her performance with Hole bandmates, she decided to share with the crowd both her music and her mammary glands. No official apologies were made to the crowd for having had to experience such a sight.

29. Big Boi Reps Outkast

Festival: DeLuna Fest
Year: 2011
Location: Pensacola Beach, Florida

Big Boi’s performance at mid-day gathered one of the largest crowds of the festival with some of Outkast’s biggest hits, turning the beach-side set into a nostalgia overload of a party. The undeniable genius that is ‘Kast earned one of the few encore performances at the festival.

28. The Strokes & White Stripes Unite

Festival: Reading Festival
Year: 2002
Location: Reading, London

As far as rock music went in 2002, the Strokes were emerging as one of the biggest out, even after only one album. Jack White was right there with them. Both seemed to be a new version of rock stars that somehow, despite all the pressures of “selling out,” managed to maintain the cutting-edge cool that rock had been—and still is—far too often missing.

27. Stevie Wonder Wishes Glastonbury a Happy 40th

Festival: Glastonbury
Year: 2010
Location: Somerset, England

The Glastonbury Festival has been around for a long time, and at the mark of its 40th birthday, Stevie Wonder—who was headlining that year—invited Michael Eavis, the founder of the festival, on stage. The two sang happy birthday for an emotional and touching finale.

26. Blur Reunites to Headline Glastonbury

Festival: Glastonbury
Year: 2010
Location: Somerset, England

Anyone who lived through the ’90s has a spot in their heart for Blur. Even years after the band’s prime, respect and a nostalgic lust for the band still flames on. Maybe part of it is that Damon Albarn has managed to remain a creative force throughout the years. Whatever the reason, motherfuckers still love Blur, and their 2010 reunion proved it.

25. Shannon Hoon’s LSD Induced Cross-Dressing

Festival: Woodstock
Year: 1994
Location: Saugerties, New York

There are plenty of different ways to be professional. When you’re a fucking rock star, there is nothing much more professional than wearing your girlfriend’s dress and tripping on LSD during one of your biggest performances of the year. Shannon Hoon. Blind Melon.

24. My Morning Jacket Performs with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2007
Location: Chicago

In August 2007, the Symphony Orchestra hit the stage with My Morning Jacket, becoming the first ever classical music ensemble to perform at the legendary rock music festival. In August 2010, members of the Symphony Orchestra returned to Lollapalooza to perform with Dane Zanes and in August 2011 will perform with My Brightest Diamond at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavillion.

23. Kanye West Delivers An Epic Rant

Festival: Big Chill
Year: 2011
Location: Ledbury, Herefordshire, England

Kanye West went on for almost 11 minutes, proving once again that he’s mastered the art of the epic freestyle rant. He’s done it time and time again, and for most serious Kanye fans it’s the promised spontaneity and honesty that makes every single Kanye show worth going to, even if it’s two nights in a row. His rant at Big Chill was a special one, and a perfect example of his rambling set-enders. It wasn’t easy to follow, but if there’s one thing about Kanye, it’s that he’s got passion, and he’s got a lot to say. He might catch a lot of shit for his monologues and his unfiltered mouth, but those things probably stem from what also makes him a great artist. Keep ranting, ‘Ye.

22. The Foo Fighters and Cee-Lo Green Take the Stage Together

Festival: Hangout Festival
Year: 2011
Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama

When Cee-Lo Green inexplicably didn’t show for his set, the Foo Fighters stepped up to save the day, good guys that they are. Originally, they were scheduled to go on after Cee-Lo, but decided to do an extra, consecutive set, with Grohl promising a fun time. Then as unexpected as his absence, after about 4 songs later Cee-Lo appeared out of nowhere, grabbed the mic and performed a cover of Prince’s “Darling Nikki” along with the Fighters.

21. Jay-Z Brings Beyonce on Stage for “Young Forever”

Festival: Coachella
Year: 2010
Location: Indio, California

As one of the headliners for the 2010 Coachella weekend, Jay-Z put on one hell of a set. But to really up the ante, and instead of enlisting Mr. Hudson for a performance of “Young Forever,” he invites his lady love, Beyonce, on stage. Talk about a major “aww” moment. This power couple’s taking over.

20. Arcade Fire Stuns Crowd With Balls That Light Up

Festival: Coachella
Year: 2011
Location: Indio, California

Saturday night headliner Arcade Fire began to close off the night with a stunning performance of the powerful “Wake Up” when a giant waterfall of white balloons caped the audience and turned fluorescent colors, creating a beautiful balloon spectacular to take that performance to the next level. “Wake Up” is a singular great festival moment in and of itself that’s been repeated over and over since Arcade Fire burst onto the scene with the overpowering single. This was just them upping the ante and making it a whole new experience.

19. M.I.A. “Retires”

Festival: Bonnaroo Music Festival
Year: 2008
Location: Manchester, Tennessee

Out of nowhere, during a Bonnaroo set in 2008, M.I.A. announced her retirement. “Thanks for coming to my last gig!” she stated, on several occasions to a probably stunned crowd. Given her enigmatic persona, it was definitely a possibility that she was telling the truth. Of course, we know now that she was lying through her teeth, but to think you’re hearing “Paper Planes” for the last time live? Had to be an experience at the time.

18. Nirvana Plays The First Big Day Out

Festival: Big Day Out
Year: 1992
Location: Sydney, Australia

Big Day Out had picked Violent Femmes to headline the festival and a slew of alternative bands were booked as support. One of those bands was the young Seattle crew known as Nirvana. Luckily for the organizers,a little album called Nevermind  was released before the festival and became an enormous hit in the months leading up to the event. It was no surprised that Big Day Out was a hit.

17. A Young U2 Arrives

Festival: Live Aid
Year: 1985
Location: London

Bono & Co. (mostly Bono) are well known as philanthropists. Their dedication to the parts of the world less fortunate than them is a part of the band now, a vital part of the persona and aura. However, back in 1985, no one knew any of that. The Irish titans made their mission statement at Live Aid, the Wembley stadium festival set up for Ethiopian famine relief. The performance only 20 minutes long, but it was one of the big moments that put the young group on the map, and they haven’t left the spotlight since. U2 had officially arrived.

16. Jimi Hendrix’s National Anthem

Festival: Woodstock
Year: 1969
Location: Bethel, New York

Jimi Hendrix is a legend. It’s undeniable. He was a virtuouso on that electric guitar and cut a larger-than-life figure with that instrument in his hands. His reconstruction of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock was one of his most iconic performances, taking a piece of our national consciousness and reinterpreting it completely into a song of such blown-out proportions that it was undeniably Hendrix. It doesn’t get much more legendary than taking a national anthem and making it your own song.

15. Impromptu Fireworks During Radiohead Set

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 2008
Location: Chicago

Radiohead don’t need much help crafting amazing live performances. Honestly, with the cult following that they have, they really don’t have to do too much to captivate an audience, but that doesn’t stop them from perfecting a live set that is often pointed to as one of the best in modern rock music. As if their 2008 Lolla set wasn’t dramatic enough, during their performance of  “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Fake Plastic Trees” a random, unplanned, unprofessional fireworks show lit up the sky, bringing the level of epic-ness to an all-time high.

14. Flaming Lips Put On A Spectacle

Festival: SXSW
Year: 2006
Location: Austin, Texas

With a small venue and a broken AC, the Lips still managed to wow the crowd. The short surprise performance was astounding. Strobe lights flared, giant colorful rubber balls bounced thorough the audience, and confetti was sprayed. An audience member’s marriage proposal was even conducted on stage.

13. Led Zep’s Legendary Set

Festival: The Bath Festival
Year: 1970
Location: Somerset, England

Three hours of performing. Five encores. Loads of new material. This was widely regarded as one of Led Zep’s best and most important performances ever. It was the first time an audience ever got to hear the now-classic “Immigrant Song.”

12. Jay-Z Brings Hip-Hop To Glastonbury

Festival: Glastonbury Festival
Year: 2008
Location: Somerset, England

Noel Gallagher of Oasis thought Glastonbury’s tradition of “guitar music” should be kept alive. He wasn’t too fond of the idea of Jay-Z headlining. He thought it was just a stunt to pull heads into the show. “No way,” he said. Jay-Z’s reaction? Opening with a cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” With a guitar strapped around his neck—a guitar that he didn’t even try to play—Jay pulled of the best reactionary festival moment ever. It was a reflection of the present state of music. Things have changed, and it was clear that the audience was completely okay with that.

11. Rage Against The Machine Goes Balls Out

Festival: Lollapalooza
Year: 1993
Location: Philadelphia

Instead of performing, Rage Against The Machine took the stage butt-naked with their mouths duct tapped and bodies painted with acronym, PMRC. This was in protest to Rage tired of their lyrics getting slammed by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC).

10. Queen Dominates Live Aid

Festival: Live Aid
Year: 1985
Location: London

If it wasn’t clear before this point, it was obvious after Queen’s set in front of over 70,000 fans at Live Aid: Freddie Mercury was made for the stage. On that day, during that period of time, he owned those tens of thousands of people, commanding their attention. At Wembley Stadium that year, the stars came out. Elton John, Phil Collins, Sting, David Bowie, The Who, Dire Straights, and Elvis Costello all came out. Afterwards, there wasn’t much doubt that Queen had stolen the show. Some consider it to be the best live set of all time.

9. Kanye West Headlines at Coachella

Festival: Coachella
Year: 2011
Location: Indio, California

Kanye West had a big year with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With one of the most elaborate stage sets ever, Kanye West closed off the weekend at Coachella alongside a few dozen ballerinas for both a visually arresting and and technically sound performance. West finished off his set with “Hey Mama” as a tribute to the late Donda West. The whole thing was broadcast live on YouTube, and Kanye’s set confirmed it: hip-hop has earned its position as a commanding force in the festival world, and it was about more than just partying and singing along with your favorite radio hits.

8. The Who Takes Down A War Protester

Festival: Woodstock
Year: 1969
Location: Bethel, New York

War protester Abbie Hoffman rushes stage and demands microphone during The Who’s performance of “Pinball Wizard.” The angry Peter Townshed wacks Hoffman with his guitar and knocks him offstage and continues to rock. It’s known as Townshend’s epic guitar smashing moment.

7. Kurt Cobain Rolls Into Reading

Festival: Reading Festival
Year: 1992
Location: Reading, London

1992 was one of the most famous in the festival’s history, thanks to Nirvana. After speculation about Kurt being out of his mind, he got music journalist Everett Truman to push him out to the stage in a wheelchair. With Kurt smoking and wearing a wig, most people didn’t really understand what was going on. Then he rose and played one of the best sets in the festival’s history. It would end up being Nirvana’s last set ever in the UK.

6. Rolling Stones Get Some Help From Hells Angels

Festival: Altamont
Year: 1969
Location: Altamont Speedway, California

Stories on this one are shaky, but what it came down to was this: the Hells Angels were apparently acting as security for the show, which was supposed to be headlined by the Grateful Dead. Allegedly, the agreement was that the biker gang would get paid in beer. Things got rowdy, and the Hell’s Angels—known for their extreme violence—flexed their muscles. One methed up fan pulled out a gun, and a Hell’s Angels member took him on with a knife. The armed fan ended up dead. The Grateful Dead never played.

5. Daft Punk Throws A Party

Festival: Coachella
Year: 2006
Location: Indio, California

It was their first performance in the United States since 1997, and they didn’t disappoint. Along with Daft Punk’s epic electronic sounds, a light show spectacular took it to a new level. A towering LED pyramid brought insane visuals during the 60-minute performance. Calling the set a “life-changing experience” was not uncommon among people who were there. It’s since become a seminal performance for a generation of electronic music fans, especially for those too young to attend. It’s the kind of thing talked about in hushed tones, and grainy YouTube clips examined over and over again have solidified the reputation of the French duo as the progenitors of the mainstream electronic scene.

4. “Mudstock”

Festival: Woodstock
Year: 1994
Location: Saugerties, New York

You can’t recreate something as epic as Woodstock. Still, they tried. The times had changed, the culture had changed. But a funny thing happened: as the rain poured and the people got drunk, the wet and muddy situation turned into the environment that would come to define the festival. During Green Day’s set, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong shoved mud into his mouth, the crowd embraced the mess, and although Woodstock ’94 will never go down as a point in music as important as the original Woodstock, the muddy mess will forever live in infamy.

3. Bob Dylan Picks Up An Electric Guitar

Festival: Newport Folk Festival
Year: 1965
Location: Newport, Rhode Island

Bob Dylan made a career and a movement out of his refusal to be pinned down. Many fans in the mid-60s hated that. His urgent, poetic protest songs were being lost as Bob Dylan began to “sell out.” To fans who wanted the quintessential, politically-charged Dylan of “The Times They Are A Changin’,” his emergence at folk festival with an electric guitar was his point of no return. Looking back, it’s a little easier to see the fact that he was just moving on to enact change in different arenas, and that this was a moment of progress and a bold, abrasive move to deliberately upset his core fanbase. Bob Dylan was a straight thug.

2. Bob Marley Performs Two Days After Being Shot

Festival: Smile Jamaica
Year: 1976
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Days before “Smile Jamaica,” a free concert organized by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley to ease political tension, Bob Marley was shot inside his home by gunman. The assassination attempt was thought to be for political reasons, but Bob didn’t let an attempted murder prevent him from doing his job and spreading the positivity. Two days later, Marley performed as scheduled at Smile Jamaica. When asked why, Marley explained, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”

1. Jimi Burns His Guitar

Festival: Monterey Pop Festival
Year: 1967
Location: Monterey, California

Going into this festival, there was a long-standing dispute over who was the reigning king of rock music. Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix both refused to perform after each other. It came down to a fucking coin toss. Jimi won. The Who went first, and killed their set. After the performance, drummer Keith Moon kicked over his set. Jimi was next. He ripped through a blistering show that once again redefined the standards of what could be done on an electric guitar, and afterwards Jimi kneeled in front of his guitar and he set it ablaze like some kind of ceremonial celebration of enormous gravity. It was pretty clear who emerged victorious from this rock showdown, but Hendrix’s flaming guitar symbolizes far more than this, and it still stands as the most iconic moment ever to go down in music festival history.