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Remembering The Tibetan Freedom Concert

from SPIN

Quarantine Classic Concerts: Tibetan Freedom Concert

This was peak ’90s 

by Sean Moltisanti

Rock ‘n roll and politics have a long, intertwined history — and it’s hard to find a better example than the Tibetan Freedom Concert. 

Beginning in 1996 at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the festival brought together many of the biggest artists of that time for one reason: liberating Tibet from decades of crippling control at the hands of China’s Communist regime. The festival was spearheaded by the Beastie Boys, and in particular, the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, who cared deeply about this mission. 

We’ll touch more on the genesis of the concert in a moment. But first, let’s get to the reason you probably clicked on this article to begin with — the music. 

These bills were loaded. The Tibetan Freedom Concert continued to run into the early ‘00s, but it’s biggest years were between 1996 to 1998. Here’s just a taste of the artists who performed during the festival’s late ‘90s prime: Rage Against the MachineRed Hot Chili PeppersSmashing PumpkinsSonic YouthBeckBjorkAlanis MorissettePatti Smith, No Doubt, KRS-One, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Pearl Jam U2, Foo Fighters, Wyclef Jean, Biz Markie, Radiohead, R.E.M., and, of course, the Beastie Boys. What more could you want?

And since they were the ringleaders, we’ve gotta start off with the Beasties.

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Posted on June 7, 2020 by Editor

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