About the Harrisburg Rock Festival
For most of the 1970s, students at the Capitol Campus (the original name of Penn State Harrisburg) organized a music festival every spring in May. This tradition, which initially took place on a Sunday in front of the Olmsted Building, is one of the most celebrated events in the school’s 50-year history. The student organizers, who called themselves “Good People Productions,” aimed to provide a day of free music and fun for the entire campus community. As student and co-chairman of the event, Howie Wietz, stated, “Music does bring people together.” The first festival planned for spring 1970 was, unfortunately, cancelled due to bad weather.
However, in 1971, “Good People Productions” put together a wildly successful day of music that drew a crowd of approximately 15,000 and featured singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, who was then in the early stages of her music career but went on to win 13 Grammy Awards. The rock festival held the following year, on May 21, 1972, would become the largest and most successful spring concert ever held on campus. Attendance at the 1972 event exceeded 25,000 people, some of whom pitched tents on the grounds of the Olmsted Building (as pictured on the left).
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Sunday, May 16, 1971 – 1st Harrisburg Rock Festival
Sunday, May 21, 1972 – 2nd Harrisburg Rock Festival
Sunday, May 20, 1973 – 3rd Annual Harrisburg Spring Music Festival
Saturday, May 18, 1974 – 4th Annual Capitol Campus Music Festival
Saturday, May 17, 1975 – 5th Annual Capitol Campus Music Festival
Saturday, May 22, 1976 – 6th Annual Capitol Campus Spring Music Festival
Saturday, May 21, 1977 – 7th Annual Capitol Campus Spring Concert
Saturday, May 20, 1978 – 8th and Final Capitol Campus Spring Concert