David Lee Roth Shares Doc About Van Halen At The 1983 US Festival
Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has shared a 24-minute documentary, The Road To The US Festival, about the band’s appearance at the second and final US Festival, which was held over Memorial Day Weekend 1983 at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, California. You can watch it here.
Sponsored by Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple computer, the US Festival (US is an acronym for “Unite Us In Song”),held on Memorial Day of 1983, was a massive three-day celebration of technology and culture, with a temporary stage and open-air venue paid for by Wozniak himself just for the purposes of the festival.
The event featured “Heavy Metal Day” on 29 May 1983 which included stellar talents such as Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Triumph, Judas Priest and Scorpions as well as Van Halen. The US Festival co-headliners that year were David Bowie and Van Halen.
The innovative festivals included large air-conditioned tents featuring the US Festival Technology Exposition, a dazzling display of then-cutting-edge computers, software, and electronic music devices. Also making a debut were installations of “outdoor rain,” perforated PVC nozzles that sprayed water to fight the fierce hundred-degree heat.
Historical interest in the The US Festival remains strong 40 years later in pop culture with mentions in The Simpsons, Malcom In The Middle, Dharma & Greg and other popular TV shows.
Guitarist Eddie Van Halen played his final concert with Van Halen on October 4, 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. It was the last show of the band’s summer 2015 tour, which marked Van Halen’s third time hitting the road since Roth rejoined the group in 2007.
Eddie Van Halen died in October 2020 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, following a lengthy battle with throat cancer. Breaking the news, his son Wolfgang wrote, ““He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.”