Concerts Wiki

The Schaefer Music Festival was a recurring music festival held in the summer between 1967 and 1976 at Wollman Rink in New York City's Central Park. It featured a number of notable performances.

Beginning life in 1966 as the 'Rheingold Central Park Music Festival', the series was sponsored by F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company, brewer of Schaefer Beer.

The F. and M. Schaefer Brewing Company took over sponsorship of the Central Park Music Festival in 1968, from Rheingold beer. The cost of the annual music festival was about $500,000, and admissions, at $1 per person in 1968, were expected to bring in $250,000 to $270,000 for the summer program, leaving a deficit, picked up by Schaefer, of more than $200,000. "Until Schaefer decided to assume sponsorship, the prospect was that the ticket price [from 1967] would have to be doubled. The $2, [Commissioner of Parks August Heckscher] said, would have been 'too expensive for a lot of New Yorkers.'

In the 1960s, before the rise of corporate concert organizers and ticket agents, top rated bands would often play for free (especially in San Francisco) or for amounts that resulted in reasonable concert ticket prices. Just before the Schaefer Music Festival kicked off in the summer of 1968 a free concert was given in Central Park featuring the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, three of the top acts at that time. 6,000 people "jammed into the bandstand near the [Central Park] Mall while thousands more sprawled out on the grass and under the trees."

Club owner and musician Hilly Kristal co-founded the series with producer and concert promoter Ron Delsener. Over the years a veritable Who's Who of superstars of the popular music scene performed there. Inexpensive tickets, which started at $1 in 1967 and rose to only $3 by 1976, further contributed to the event's popularity. While the capacity of the Wollman Rink was usually limited to about 6,000 to 7,000 people, it is reported that Bob Marley's performance in 1975 had attracted about 15,000 people.

In 1976, Dr. Pepper assumed sponsorship of a Central Park concert series, renamed the 'Dr. Pepper Central Park Music Festival'. Due to residential noise complaints, this series was moved to Pier 84 on the West Side in 1981. In 1983 Miller Beer took over sponsorship, continuing it as the 'Miller Time Concert on The Pier' until 1988.

Rheingold Central Park Music Festival 1966

Rheingold Central Park Music Festival 1967

The Schaefer Music Festival 1968

The Schaefer Music Festival 1969

The Schaefer Music Festival 1970

The Schaefer Music Festival 1971

The Schaefer Music Festival 1972

The Schaefer Music Festival 1973

The Schaefer Music Festival 1974

The Schaefer Music Festival 1975

The Schaefer Music Festival 1976

Dr. Pepper Music Festival 1978

Dr. Pepper Music Festival 1982