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Spring 2024 Edition
Alumni & Friends Magazine

Rock On, Athens

The last 60 years has brought a treasure trove of talent to campus. From doo-wop to pop, reggae to rap, big band to blues, country to classic rock, Ohio Today explores just a fraction of the talent that have bopped on our bricks.

Emma Henterly, BSJ '10 | April 11, 2024


Last year, former OHIO student and lifelong Athens resident Paul Eschenbacher reached out with an unusual question: Would we be interested in research he’d compiled documenting musical acts that graced Athens from 1960 through 1999? That generous offer kicked off a deep dive into the physical and digital resources at the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, where we found decades’ worth of posters from those performances.

When asked why he started such an ambitious project, Eschenbacher cited fond memories of shows he’d attended … and a desire to settle disagreements with friends about who performed where and when. (Relatable, right?)

Ohio Today worked with Andrew Holzaepfel, executive director of the OHIO Performing Arts & Concert Series, to cover shows from the 2000s to present day.

“We hear this from artists’ managers a lot: We’re not a major market, but we have great audiences at Memorial Auditorium,” Holzaepfel says. “There’s an intimacy there that artists notice.” Singer-songwriter Noah Kahan was among the many artists to comment on this phenomenon, which brings repeat shows from the likes of Wilco, The Avett Brothers and Indigo Girls—who most recently performed with the OHIO Symphony Orchestra in March.

While a comprehensive review would be impossible, we’ve compiled an assortment of notable acts. See if you can find your favorites, then share your own concert memories on the Ohio University Alumni Association’s Facebook page and the Bobcat Network

Ohio Today performance posters

1 Pop quartet The Four Preps at Memorial Auditorium, Jan. 19, 1963. 2 Folk revival group Dave Guard and the Whiskeyhill Singers at Memorial Auditorium, May 11, 1962. 3 Regional act Six-Shooter at the old Baker Center Ballroom, Oct. 20, 1977. 4 Ohio-based Law at the old Baker Center Ballroom, Feb. 19, 1977 

OT Performance posters 2

5 Jazz and gospel singer Della Reese at Memorial Auditorium, June 22, 1965. 6 Rock band Jethro Tull at the Convocation Center, Dec. 7, 1972. 7 The Ohio University Music Festival feat. Blood, Sweat, and Tears; The Eagles; Bruce Springsteen and more at the Convocation Center, Apr. 27-28, 1973. 8 “An Evening of Blues” feat. Mr. Stress and His Blues Band at the old Baker Center Ballroom, May 12, 1983 

OT Performance posters 3

9 Folk singer John Bassette at The Cavern in the old Baker Center, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 1973. 10 Ohio University Folk Festival feat. Arlo Guthrie, Eric Anderson, Mary Travers and more at the Convocation Center, May 12-13, 1972. 11 Folk-rock bands The Kingston Trio and The Mamas & The Papas at Memorial Auditorium, Oct. 15, 1994. 12 Reggaefest feat. First Light, Tuff, and Roots Vibes Reggae at Bird Arena, Apr. 14, 1989 

OT poster performance 4

13 Alt-rock band They Might Be Giants at Memorial Auditorium, Oct. 8, 1992. 14 Alt-indie bands The Psychedelic Furs and Pale Divine at Memorial Auditorium, March 3, 1992. 15 R&B/funk band George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic at Memorial Auditorium, Oct. 20, 2001. 16 Folk rock acts Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals with Jack Johnson at Memorial Auditorium, Feb. 16, 2001 

OT Performance poster 5

17 Founding member of The Supremes Mary Wilson with the Ohio University Symphony Orchestra at Memorial Auditorium, Oct. 14, 1995. 18 Country acts Dierks Bentley and the Travelin’ McCourys with Hayes Carll at Memorial Auditorium, May 4, 2010. 19 Country artist Miranda Lambert at Memorial Auditorium, Sept. 20, 2006. 20 Alt-indie band Fitz and the Tantrums with pop duo Capital Cities at Memorial Auditorium, Nov. 13, 2013

OT Performance posters 1

21 Folk artist Ani DiFranco with alt-folk singer Hamell on Trial at Memorial Auditorium, Apr. 9, 2001. 22 Campus Consciousness Tour feat. Janelle Monáe with fun. on College Green and at Memorial Auditorium, Oct. 18, 2011. 23 Rappers Wiz Khalifa and Sean Kingston at the Convocation Center, May 18, 2012. 24 Music Industry Summit feat. CAAMP at Memorial Auditorium, Apr. 6, 2022.