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Schaefer Music Festival

Schaefer Music Festival

Poster for the Shaefer Music Festival, August 3, 1974
Genre Rock and folk, including blues rock, folk rock, jazz-rock, Latin rock and reggae.
Dates June–September

United States

Years active 1967-1976
Founded by Hilly Kristal, Ron Delsener

The Schaefer Music Festival was a music festival held in summer between 1968 and 1976 at the Wollman Skating Rink in New York City's Central Park. 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.' " [1]

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." [2]

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 through 1988.


  • Festival lineups 1
    • 1967 1.1
    • 1968 1.2
    • 1969 1.3
    • 1970 1.4
    • 1971 1.5
    • 1972 1.6
    • 1973 1.7
    • 1974 1.8
    • 1975 1.9
    • 1976 1.10
  • References 2
  • External links 3

Festival lineups












  1. ^ "Schaefer Rescues Park Jazz Series; Rheingold is Out,". New York Times,. May 29, 1968. 
  2. ^ "6,000 in Park Rock to West Coast Sound," (May 6, 1968). New York Times,. 

External links

  • - List of Schaefer Music Festival performers
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