Rock’s Sad Anniversaries

December 2009 marks anniversaries of two of the darkest events in pop music history.

For many, the ’60s ended Dec. 6, 1969, with the deaths of four – including one murdered – at Altamont Speedway in Northern California. Three days shy of a decade later, 11 young fans of The Who were trampled to death and scores more were injured in a crush to enter Cincinnati’s then-Riverfront Coliseum Dec. 3, 1979.

The latter event brought the end to venue-wide festival seating and made ingress and egress safety considerations.

While there is no public lament for what Altamont has come to symbolize, Cincinnati marked the 11 deaths at Riverfront with a first-time commemorative vigil on the U.S. Bank Arena’s plaza and walk to a memorial service Dec. 3.

“There’s no marker there, no nothing there to remind people of what happened. I think that’s long overdue,” organizer Kasey Ladd said. He was 2 years old when his mother, then 27, died at the concert.

The city lifted the festival seating ban in 2002 for Bruce Springsteen, who was touring with a limited GA section near the stage.