Friday, October 21, 2011

Moondog Coronation Ball

As I mentioned in my first post, the Moondog Coronation Ball on March 21, 1952 is generally accepted as the first rock n' roll concert.  It was unique in that the performers were racially mixed and performed before an integrated audience.  Remember, this was 1952 and most of society was segregated and would remain that way for years to come.  Cleveland DJ Alan Freed promoted this show and he is credited by many to have coined the expression "rock and roll."  He had no trouble filling the 10,000-seat Cleveland Arena for this show at $1.75 a ticket.  Tickets sold out the day they went on sale.  Freed would have a troubled career and die way too early.  But in the formative years of rock, Freed was a solid promoter of the genre. 
     As for the show itself, it proved to be a disappointment.  An additional 6,000 fans showed up hoping to get in. When they were refused admission they began pounding on the doors.  At 9:30 pm, they managed to enter the Arena by overrunning police and knocking down four doors.  With 16,000 crammed into the venue, the police and fire marshall called a halt to the show without the opening act finishing their set.  Ah...rock n' roll.

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