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Sweaty and loud, familiar yet exotic, muddy and exuberant–an organized chaos of discovery and adventure. That is the music festival experience. But why do we gather in fields to hear music?

Discover why this spring when the Long Island Museum, in cooperation with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, present Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.

Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists – both old and new – or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe.

Music festivals didn’t start with Coachella, or Woodstock, or even Newport. People have been coming together for music festivals since ancient Greece. Festivals draw us out into the open air, surrounded by fellow fans. They inspire us to believe that we can break through barriers of age, geography, race and class—that we can create common ground. In this exhibition, visitors will connect with the intangible elements inherent in the festival experience – identifying with a community, participating in a social event and being part of the creative process.

Some highlights of the exhibition that visitors can expect are a 1970s era organ owned by Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake and Palmer, a guitar from Cold Play’s Chris Martin, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar strap from Woodstock and a silk caftan that Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas wore at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967.  A 20-minute film includes footage of some of the greatest musical performances in rock and roll history.

Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience is sponsored by Astoria Bank; New York Community Bank; FulfillmentPlus, Inc.; and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.