When Steve Wozniak put together a US Music Festival

Mon, Dec 21, 2009

Apple History, Featured, News

Check out this photo of Steve Wozniak hangin’ out with Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth at the 1983 US Festival in California, a badass music festival which attracted hundreds of thousands of music fans and was sponsored and funded by Woz himself.  Yep, you read that correctly – Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak actually put together a world famous three-day music festival called the US Festival simply because he wanted to and had the money to fund it. Twice.

True to form, the festival didn’t center exclusively on music, and also featured tents housing what was then cutting edge technology, software, and music devices from exhibitors like Apple and Atari.  Woz has said that the US Festivals (held in 1982 and 1983) didn’t make him any money, and in fact, he ended up losing an estimated $20 million over the course of 2 years. The budget for the 1983 festival alone cost upwards of $18 million, in large part due to exorbitant booking fees charged by many of the big name artists at the time. But in classic Woz fashion, he’s stated that he had no regrets and enjoyed every single minute of the experience.

Originally, Woz wanted to launch a festival focusing on progressive country music, but was well-advised that if he wanted anyone to actually show up, it’d be better to stack the lineup with some of the more well-known new wave and rock acts of the time. Some of the more notable acts who performed at the ’82 and ’83 US Festivals included Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, U2, Alabama, David Bowie, The Ramones, and The Police.  As a point of interest, a 3-day ticket for the 1982 festival ran for 37.50 while a one day pass would set you back $17.50.

Below, check out some rare footage we compiled of Steve Wozniak from the 1983 US Festival.

And here’s a US Festival pic of Woz pre-Segway.  Looks like he’s always had a thing for mobile transportation!

Any idea what these guys are up to today?

And another shot of a smiling Woz hanging out with a dishevled and creepy looking David Lee Roth.

You can check out a comprehensive history of the entire US Festival experience over here.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Fred Says:

    Roth’s outfit? Are you kidding me!?

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