As civilization evolved, so did music. Music saw many changes in the decades to follow — the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras saw a shift from the musical focus on the human voice to large instrumental pieces. The Romantic Period embraced the expansion of the size of the orchestra and concerts as a part of modern society.
As technology expanded into the 20th and 21st centuries, a musical revolution took place. The radio, the ability to record and distribute music on various forms of media, as well as the development of the music video all played a tremendous role. Listeners could now gather as social groups around a radio in their homes to listen to their favorite music. Live music concerts became increasingly visual.
In 1948, the Philadelphia Orchestra made broadcasting history as the first American orchestra to perform on network television. In 1967, the “Our World” TV special aired a concert featuring headliners the Beatles, with opera singer Maria Callas. On Jan. 14, 1973, “Aloha from Hawaii,” headlined by Elvis Presley, was broadcast via live satellite. NBC aired an edited version of the concert in the United States on April 4, 1973.
“American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, was launched in 1956 and brought performances by Top 40 musicians into homes on a weekly basis. Also in the 1950s, American musicians began experimenting with combining musical forms, fusing country, blues and swing to create “rock ‘n’ roll” music. The rock concert quickly became an industry standard around the world. The 1960s and ‘70s saw the evolution of the pop music concert and live music becomes a major influence on popular culture.
In 1969, more than 400,000 people attended live music festival Woodstock in upstate New York. In the 1970s, British rockers Pink Floyd became visual pioneers, incorporating huge screens, strobe lights and pyrotechnics into their concerts.
Attendance at concerts quickly soared in the ‘80s with popular touring artists such as Michael Jackson and Madonna selling out venues such as Madison Square Garden in a matter of hours. The 1990s saw the rise of outdoor music festivals such as Lollapalooza in 1991, H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992 and Woodstock ’94 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock.
As we transitioned into the new millennium, concert-goers are seeking out a different type of experience. Baby boomers, Gen-Xers and millennials alike are looking for interaction, open spaces and a more intimate experience. Listening room-style venues that allow an attendee to truly embrace the musical experience are becoming increasingly popular. Millennials especially are looking to create an experience — from the music to the food and drink offerings.
While large-scale concerts and festivals are still widely attended, on a more local level in nearly every community you can find live music on a regular basis. Access has become key. Music streaming sites, online ticketing capabilities, social media and smaller venues have allowed today’s music lover to listen to, attend events and communicate with their favorite artists on their terms.
In 2014, the Tri-Cities Historical Museum formed a partnership with Red House Concert Series to bring live music to downtown Grand Haven. Now in our fourth year, the Music at the Museum concert series has become increasingly popular and all shows of all seasons have sold out, bringing more than 1,200 people into the museum each year. We continually strive to meet the needs of both our performers and those who attend.
Bringing in local, regional and even nationally touring acts, our artists are welcome to interact with concert-goers from both the stage and from their merchandise tables. We offer a wide selection of craft beer and wine with support from local breweries and wine venues. We focus on the experience that we feel our community wants from a live music encounter.
Our 2018-19 lineup is as follows:
• Dec. 14: Jake Kershaw, with special guests The Whiskey Charmers
• Jan. 11, 2019: The Way Down Wanderers, with special guests Charlie Millard Band
• Feb. 8, 2019: Red Tail Ring and Seth Bernard/Mark Lavengood Duo
• March 1, 2019: May Erlewine, with special guests Olivia Millerschin
• April 20, 2019: Crystal Bowersox, with special guests Abigail Stauffer/Dave Haughey Duo
Ticket prices vary and museum members save $5 per individual ticket. Series music passes and sponsorships are also available. Learn more on our website at www.tri-citiesmuseum.org.
For centuries, live music has always been a powerful way to create communities. Throughout history, music is often the tie that unites individuals from different religions, political parties, socioeconomic backgrounds and geographic locations. “Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono
About the writer: Abbei Monroe is the membership coordinator for the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven.