The Animal Concert is an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and EDM bands and artists, dance, Broadway, and comedy performances and craft booths, that takes place in Fort Devens, Massachusetts in early Summer. It is held at Moore Army Airfield, a former United States Army airfield.
The festival was founded in 1972 by a wealthy electrician named Bob McDowell, who used a loan of $6,424,112 to hold a large music festival. There were 3 stages, the main stage, at Hinchliffe Stadium, the secondary stage, at the Paterson Armory, and the "special performances stage", at the South Mountain Arena.
The 1980 lineup drew thousands of attendees, with acts such as Devo, Kraftwerk (who performed several songs from Computer World for the first time at the 1980 festival), The B-52's, The Ramones, The Clash, and others. AC/DC were originally booked, and were on the poster, but were held up at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport due to customs.
After Hinchliffe closed at the end of the the 1996-97 school year, the festival moved to Massachusetts, where it's held today.
On April 18, 2005, Apple Entertainment announced The Animal Concert would debut outside of Massachusetts, with a branch of the festival staged at Barrington Living History Farm in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas. On April 20, 2005, Costa Rican company RPM TV confirmed the Costa Rican branch of the festival, which now occurs every year at La Sabana Metropolitan Park. On April 25, 2005, Guatemala City was selected as the second Animal Concert in South America, which now occurs from August 5th to the 29th at Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores. On May 8, 2013, RPM TV announced a branch of the festival which now occurs in Panama at Estadio Nacional de Panamá. On April 10, 2015, a branch of the festival was announced, which now occurs at the Stillman Dairy farm in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.
In 1984, Wes McDowell (festival founder Bob McDowell's son), who was hired by Stu Sleppin & Bob Teeman to do the lighting for Nolan Thomas' set, was nearly killed after he fell off a temporary light catwalk above the main stage. Luckily, Wes landed on the mattresses that was used as barriers alongside the wooden fencing, but was knocked unconscious. A member of the audience, a medical student, rushed to Wes' aid and managed to revive him.
During the 1985 festival, two people died and one person was injured. Sound system technician Mick Vertices committed suicide by jumping from radio station WPAT's transmitter, shortly after Nolan Thomas & The Vid Kids' performance on the secondary stage. He was reported to be upset over injuries received by a fan after one of the Vid Kids' shoes flew off during a performance and hit the fan in the head. Pyrotechnics operator Tim Sung-Jyoo died after being burnt alive by a misfire of a firework.