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Collecting Concert Posters: The Art of Rock

Updated on January 25, 2017

The Art of Rock

The Chambers Brothers Matrix Concert Poster NR-12 (Neon Rose, 1967) Art by Victor Moscoso
The Chambers Brothers Matrix Concert Poster NR-12 (Neon Rose, 1967) Art by Victor Moscoso | Source

Collecting Concert Posters

The concert poster is a great visual history of rock n' roll that centers on the posters which were created to advertise the musicians and concert venues. With over six decades of concert posters available, these event posters have become a wildly popular collectible that has taken on a life of their own, sometimes outshining the rock bands they were created to promote. The popular art of concert posters allow collectors to collect by music genre, by musician, by poster artist and even by venue or promoter. Concert promoters also created handbill versions of many of their posters and used them as sidewalk handouts and dashboard fliers to promote upcoming shows. Many of these handbills were double-sided, with poster art on one side and a calendar of upcoming shows on the other. These handbills represent an important element of rock concert history because they were hands on marketing tools that united promoter and concert fan. Concert poster are not only avidly collected today but have spawned collectors clubs, groups and annual conventions that celebrate the concert poster such as Flatstock or The Rock Poster Society (TRPS).

Big Brother & the Holding Company Avalon Ballroom 1966

Big Brother and the Holding Company Top Hat Avalon Concert Poster Family Dog 1966 Poster Design Illustration by Victor Moscoso
Big Brother and the Holding Company Top Hat Avalon Concert Poster Family Dog 1966 Poster Design Illustration by Victor Moscoso | Source

Janis Joplin "Ball And Chain"

Family Dog Poster 66'

This is a fantastic pre-concert first printing of this poster starring Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company which is from December 1966, Joining Janis and the boys on the bill that night were Oxford Circle along with keyboard wizard Lee Michaels. This poster features Chet Helm's infamous pot-smoking top-hatted Indian mascot and future logo art of Family Dog Productions the tripped-out poster graphics and design were provided by Victor Moscoso.

Great Society Fillmore Auditorium 1966

Grace Slick and the Great Society / 13th Floor Elevators Fillmore Auditorium Concert Poster Bill Graham 1966 Poster Art by Wes Wilson
Grace Slick and the Great Society / 13th Floor Elevators Fillmore Auditorium Concert Poster Bill Graham 1966 Poster Art by Wes Wilson | Source

"Somebody To Love"

Fillmore Poster BG-25

A very young Grace Slick seems to stare out from this hard to find Fillmore concert poster. At the time of this concert Grace was fronting her own band The Great Society, who had already penned the song "Someone to Love," which would become legend when Grace again records it with Jefferson Airplane. The groups featured on this poster include 13th Floor Elevators, The Great Society, and Sopwith Camel. This concert event poster is part of the Bill Graham numbered series and is designated BG-25 with the poster graphics provided by Wes Wilson, complete with his signature lettering style that is so recognizable today in contemporary print advertising. The overall size of this great first print pre-concert poster is 13 11/16″ x 21″.

The Rock Poster Society TRPS 2004

The Rock Poster Society presents Second Annual TRPS Festival of Rock Posters October 16, 2004 at the Hall Of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
The Rock Poster Society presents Second Annual TRPS Festival of Rock Posters October 16, 2004 at the Hall Of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco | Source

Visit the The Rock Poster Society website.

Quicksilver Messenger Service, Kaleidoscope 1968

Quicksilver Messenger Service, Kaleidoscope "Eternal Reservoir" Avalon Ballroom Concert Poster Family Dog FD-101 (1968).Rick Griffin Poster Art
Quicksilver Messenger Service, Kaleidoscope "Eternal Reservoir" Avalon Ballroom Concert Poster Family Dog FD-101 (1968).Rick Griffin Poster Art | Source

Blues Project Avalon Ballroom 1966

Blues Project Avalon Concert Poster FD-5-2 Family Dog 1966 Poster Art  and Graphic Design by Wes Wilson
Blues Project Avalon Concert Poster FD-5-2 Family Dog 1966 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Wes Wilson | Source

The Blues Project 1967

Family Dog FD-005

This is a great 1966 pre-concert first edition Avalon Ballroom concert poster by Family Dog Productions FD-005. This was the first Family Dog Production concert of many that were held at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom. The Family Dog's logo mascot, a joint-smoking, top-hatted Indian, made his first appearance on this poster for this show featuring the Blues Project and the Great Society. These great poster graphics and design were created by Wes Wilson.

13th Floor Elevators Avalon Ballroom 1966

 13th Floor Elevators, Quicksilver Messenger Service at the Avalon Ballroom Family Dog Poster #28 by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse 1966
13th Floor Elevators, Quicksilver Messenger Service at the Avalon Ballroom Family Dog Poster #28 by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse 1966 | Source

Family Dog FD-28

This stunning Family Dog poster is by the graphic art team of Stanley Mouse & Anton Kelley. the poster design is the original zebra man image which was borrowed a month later Gary Grimshaw for a Grande Ballroom poster. The boldly colored poster was used to promote a September 1966 show by Quicksilver Messenger Service and the 13th floor elevators. FD-28

13th Floor Elevators "You're Gonna Miss Me"

Jimi Hendrix Experience Fillmore East Poster 1968

Jimi Hendrix Experience Fillmore East Concert Poster Bill Graham / Fantasy Unlimited 1968 Poster Art and Graphic Design by David Byrd
Jimi Hendrix Experience Fillmore East Concert Poster Bill Graham / Fantasy Unlimited 1968 Poster Art and Graphic Design by David Byrd | Source

Foxey Lady Miami Pop Fest 1968

Bill Graham Fillmore Poster

Jimi Hendrix was at the height of his career in 1968, when he played these two shows for this one-day-only concert. Sly & the Family Stone, who were not mentioned on this 1st printing Fantasy Unlimited poster was the opening band and at the time were just starting to get airplay so Sly was relatively unknown and was heckled by a crowd that was there to see Hendrix. The poster graphics and design are by David Byrd's who later designed a cover for a Hendrix press kit at Jimi's request.

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Avalon Ballroom 1966

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Avalon Concert Poster FD-13 Family Dog 1966 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Stanley Mouse
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band Avalon Concert Poster FD-13 Family Dog 1966 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Stanley Mouse | Source

Captain Beefheart Documentary

Family Dog FD-13

This is a fantastic concert poster featuring Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at the Avalon Ballroom Family Dog FD-13 1966. The Dada-Rock star best known at that time for his cover version of "Diddy Wah Diddy" who was the headliner for this early Family Dog show, with opening act Oxford Circle. This is a great first printing poster designed by Stanley "Mouse" Miller and Alton Kelley which measures approximately 14 3/16" x 20". A truly nice example of this poster is hard to find as the 1st printing posters vary in quality some are sharp and others muddy because of printing problems in the original run. The irregularities mostly consist of with the red ink which had a tendency of smearing and extending outside the black border into the lettering or the bull image, this fantastic poster exhibits none of those problems.

Video Collage of Psychedelic Concert Poster Art

The Grateful Dead, The Fugs, "Acid Test" Poster Muir Beach 1965

The Fugs, The Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, Can You Pass the Acid Test ? Paul Foster "Acid Test" Concert Poster for Muir Beach Dec. 11, 1965
The Fugs, The Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, Can You Pass the Acid Test ? Paul Foster "Acid Test" Concert Poster for Muir Beach Dec. 11, 1965 | Source

The Grateful Dead Muir Beach Concert Poster 1965

This is a great event poster designed by Paul Foster for the Muir Beach "Acid Tests" December 11, 1965. The happeners are likely to include: The Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, The Merry Pranksters, Neal Cassady, The Grateful Dead and Roy's Audioptics, movies and more. This poster was made in three colors blue, goldenrod and white

The Gratefuld Dead Youth Opportunities Center Watts 1966

The Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters "Acid Test" Youth Opportunities Center Watts CA February 12, 1966
The Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters "Acid Test" Youth Opportunities Center Watts CA February 12, 1966 | Source

Youth Opportunities Center Watts Acid Test Concert Poster

In early February of 1966, the Dead followed the Merry Pranksters down to the Los Angeles area to continue and expand the "Acid Tests". The acid test itself was conducted at the Youth Opportunities Center in Watts, CA.

The Doors Fillmore West Concert Poster 1967

The Doors Fillmore West Concert Poster Bill Graham 1967 BG-67 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Bonnie MacLean Vintage Pop Art
The Doors Fillmore West Concert Poster Bill Graham 1967 BG-67 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Bonnie MacLean Vintage Pop Art | Source

Fillmore Poster BG-67'

The Doors are top-billed for the first time on this numbered poster from the Bill Graham presents series and is designated BG-67. This is a fantastic Fillmore poster which comes complete with a crazy design by Bill Graham's wife Bonnie MacLean which measures approximately 14" x 23 1/16". The Doors share the bill on this pre-concert first printing poster with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and a light show by Dan Bruhns' Fillmore Lights.


The Doors "The End"

Dave Van Ronk Berkeley Concert Poster 1967

Dave Van Ronk, Mimi Farina, Fred Neil Hear the Seers in Concert Berkeley Concert Poster 1967 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Greg Irons Vintage Pop Art
Dave Van Ronk, Mimi Farina, Fred Neil Hear the Seers in Concert Berkeley Concert Poster 1967 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Greg Irons Vintage Pop Art | Source

Dave Van Ronk "House Of The Rising Sun"

Dave Van Ronk 67'

"Hear the Seers in Concert" Pronounced by this 1967 Berkeley Concert Poster which featured some of the best names in mid-sixties folk music such as the headliner Dave Van Ronk, who shared the bill with Mimi Farina and Fred Neil. The posters great fortune-teller graphics and design were created by underground comix artist Greg Irons. This Greg Irons poster measures approximately 14" x 20".


Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Buffalo Springfield Kaleidoscope Club 1968

Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat  and Buffalo Springfield The Kaleidoscope Club Concert Poster 1968 Vintage Round Concert Poster Pop Art
Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat and Buffalo Springfield The Kaleidoscope Club Concert Poster 1968 Vintage Round Concert Poster Pop Art | Source

Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit

The Kaleidoscope 68'

Have you ever seen a round concert poster ?? The Kaleidoscope, a fancy Los Angeles club featured round concert posters. What a great triple bill Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Buffalo Springfield. on this Kaleidoscope Concert Poster.The club was housed in the former television studio which filmed the old "Queen For a Day" show, back in the 1950s This poster measures approximately 18.75" across.

The Rex Foundation Poster

The Rex Foundation Poster Art by Stanley Mouse
The Rex Foundation Poster Art by Stanley Mouse | Source

The Rex Foundation

In the fall of 1983, members of the Grateful Dead established the non-profit charity known as the Rex Foundation, named after deceased road manager Rex Jackson. The Dead were playing more benefits than almost any other band, and this organization enabled them to contribute more money to more recipients. Guided by the philanthropic principles of Jerry Garcia and other members of the Grateful Dead, the Foundation supports creative endeavors in the arts, sciences and education, with a focus on grassroots efforts. Since the fist benefit held in 1984, millions of dollars and thousands of people have been impacted by the Rex Foundation. The Poster Art and design are by Stanley Mouse

Visit The Rex Foundation Website

The Rex Foundation Poster

The Rex Foundation Poster, 2001 show at the Warfield Theater presented Micky Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir along with Merl Saunders, Peter Rowan and other friends of the band in a benefit for the Rex Foundation.
The Rex Foundation Poster, 2001 show at the Warfield Theater presented Micky Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir along with Merl Saunders, Peter Rowan and other friends of the band in a benefit for the Rex Foundation. | Source

Nirvana Palaghiaccio Marino Rome Italy 1994

Nirvana Palaghiaccio Marino Rome Italy Concert Poster 1994 Graphic Design and Art by Alessandro Locchi
Nirvana Palaghiaccio Marino Rome Italy Concert Poster 1994 Graphic Design and Art by Alessandro Locchi | Source

Nirvana Concert Poster Rome 1994

Palaghiaccio Marino Rome Italy concert from the ill-fated last tour would be one of the band's last shows. The poster features a haunting, In Utero-inspired design by Italian artist Alessandro Locchi which measures approximately 19.5" x 27.75". This is a Limited Edition Nirvana poster of 1000 pieces.

The Festival of Rock Posters 2003

The Festival of Rock Posters Nov 15, 2003 Hall Of Flowers San Francisco County Fair Building, Golden Gate
The Festival of Rock Posters Nov 15, 2003 Hall Of Flowers San Francisco County Fair Building, Golden Gate | Source

The Doors Avalon Ballroom 1967

The Doors Avalon Ballroom Concert Poster FD-57 Family Dog 1967 Art and Graphic Design by Victor Moscoso
The Doors Avalon Ballroom Concert Poster FD-57 Family Dog 1967 Art and Graphic Design by Victor Moscoso | Source

The Doors 67'

This is a great psychedelic Family Dog concert poster for The Doors at the Avalon Ballroom Concert Poster FD-57 1967.. Any fan of 1960s Psychedelic art has to love this Doors poster which was designed by Zap Comix artist Victor Moscoso for the legendary Avalon Ballroom, it's as trippy as they get! This first printing poster measures 13 15/16" x 20".


Video Collage of Poster Art

Jefferson Airplane "Benefit For The Grateful Dead" 1970

Vintage Jefferson Airplane A Benefit For The Grateful Dead Concert Poster BG-222 Bill Graham Presents 1970 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Randy Tuten
Vintage Jefferson Airplane A Benefit For The Grateful Dead Concert Poster BG-222 Bill Graham Presents 1970 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Randy Tuten | Source

Jefferson Airplane 70'

Throughout their career, the Grateful Dead frequently performed at benefits for a wide variety of causes including the Rex Foundation founded by the Grateful Dead. When the Dead got busted in New Orleans on drug possession charges, several San Francisco acts felt compelled to play a benefit for them. This is the Bill Graham series poster from that special event, a note of interest -- this is the only poster in the Bill Grahams series that does not read "Bill Graham Presents" at the top, but instead, it reads "A Benefit For The Grateful Dead." Bands performing at the benefit were Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, It's A Beautiful Day, and Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. Light show by Glenn McKay's Head Lights. The great design and graphics on this poster by Randy Tuten with the overall size of this poster being 13 7/8" x 20 15/16".

The Grateful Dead Fillmore West 1968

Vintage Grateful Dead Fillmore West Concert Poster BG-144 Bill Graham 1968 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Lee Conklin
Vintage Grateful Dead Fillmore West Concert Poster BG-144 Bill Graham 1968 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Lee Conklin | Source

The Grateful Dead 68'

This is a fantastic Bill Graham presents Grateful Dead Fillmore West concert poster with the designation BG-144 from 1968 which measures 14 1/16" x 20 3/8". On this evening the Dead shared the stage with Quicksilver Messenger Service and Linn County. The psychedelic art and design on this Fillmore poster are by Lee Conklin.

The Grateful Dead & Blue Cheer Shrine Auditorium 1968

Vintage Grateful Dead with Blue Cheer poster Psychedelic Solutions Poster Art and Graphic Design by Rick Griffin Pop Art
Vintage Grateful Dead with Blue Cheer poster Psychedelic Solutions Poster Art and Graphic Design by Rick Griffin Pop Art | Source

The Grateful Dead 68'

This is a Great Black and White Poster for the Grateful Dead and Blue Cheer measuring 15" x 22.5" printed on off-white textured stock. The poster art and design is by Rick Griffin who has been closely identified with the Grateful Dead over the years and this image is a macabre variation on the Dead's lightning logo. This 2nd printing poster was printed by Rick Griffin in collaboration with Psychedelic Solution in the 1980s. It was printed on four different paper colors: white, blue, red, and purple. It is slightly larger than the original, measuring 15" x 22 3/4".

Crosby Stills Nash & Young Winterland Ballroom 1969

Vintage Crosby Stills Nash and Young Winterland Concert Poster BG-200 Bill Graham 1969  Poster Art and Graphic Design by Randy Tuten
Vintage Crosby Stills Nash and Young Winterland Concert Poster BG-200 Bill Graham 1969 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Randy Tuten | Source

CSNY & Tom Jones 1969

Bill Graham Poster BG-200

Randy Tuten designed this stylish 1969 Winterland poster of the Folk Rock foursome Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. This concert poster was part of the Bill Graham numbered series designated as BG-200. This concert poster only had single printing which was a milestone for Bill Graham as it was his 200th concert. Joining CSN&Y at these shows were Cold Blood, Joy of Cooking, and Lamb. This concert poster measures 14" x 21 7/16".

Jefferson Airplane Fillmore West 1966

Vintage Jefferson Airplane Fillmore West Concert Poster BG-04 Bill Graham 1966 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Wes Wilson
Vintage Jefferson Airplane Fillmore West Concert Poster BG-04 Bill Graham 1966 Poster Art and Graphic Design by Wes Wilson | Source

"It's No Secret" 1966

Bill Graham Poster BG-04

This is one of the first Fillmore posters to utilize the soon-to-be-standard psychedelic lettering style invented by artist Wes Wilson. This is an early Bill Graham numbered series poster designated BG-04. Jefferson Airplane share this bill with Quicksilver Messanger Service and Lightning Hopkins on this pre-concert 1st printing poster which has green and purple ink printed on a plain un-coated white stock that measures 14" x 20 1/16".

P.S.

Documentary -- The Art of Rock

Jefferson Airplane "Somebody To Love" 1967

The Doors "Riders Of the Storm" 1967

Johnny Winter, Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper "It's My Own Fault"

Copyright Disclaimer

I make no copyright claims on the video content or images of drawings, paintings, prints, or other two-dimensional works of art contained with-in this article, the copyright for these items are most likely owned by either the artist who produced the image, or the person who commissioned the work and or their heirs. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Keep It In the Groove -- Let Us Know You Were Here Too !!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You have put together an excellent collection of rock concert memories here, well done and hours of work well spent!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      Outstanding! Love rock posters from back in the day, and this is a great source of information about them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You've a wonderful collection of rock concert posters here. I love it. 5 rock concert lovers stars for you :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow... quite the visual and informative rock concert posters!

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 6 years ago

      Love this stuff! Thanks for making this lens!

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Amazing how much some of the originals are. Nice lens.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 6 years ago

      An awesome lens. Lensrolling to my vintage posters page.

    • CHalloran LM profile image

      CHalloran LM 6 years ago

      I love Grace Slick!

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      I really like your lens, so much musical history here!! :) Love these posters, they are so cool. Thanks for creating this lens.

    • FrankChapman LM profile image

      FrankChapman LM 6 years ago

      Cream! Wish I had that poster. Oh well!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Great collection you have here! I've always loved old school psychedelic posters.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I met Hamersveld in Chicago at Tower Records in 2005. He and his wife were very nice folks and were there selling copies of these posters and another set he created of Jimi Hendrix. I only bought the CD design set they had there also, had him sign two copies and chatted with both of them for a bit. Very cool moment, very cool people.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      Wow, what a great collection. I really like the Grateful Dead one.

    • betty-tailor profile image

      betty-tailor 5 years ago

      Really cool and retro collection!!

    • EEWorkouts profile image

      EEWorkouts 4 years ago

      Great lens. I would love to stumble across some of the 60s posters.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      Really a great collection.

    • Jukebox LM profile image

      Jukebox LM 4 years ago

      Amazing collection here. My pick is the Hendrix/Experience poster.

    • profile image

      John_I 4 years ago

      Great collection!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      Some great posters!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Amazing concert posters collection!

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      Some awesome posters. Love them.

    • profile image

      ErickMiller 3 years ago

      What a great collection of concert posters, i did realize some of them can cost a lot of money

    • profile image

      jpmny999 3 years ago

      very interesting! I love concert posters.

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 3 years ago

      Love the Jimi Hendrix poster. Great lens!!

    • profile image

      niblock 3 years ago

      Fabulous content. Love it all!

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 3 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      TZNelson 2 years ago

      Fantastic Hub-Page About Collecting Concert Posters - The Art of Rock

    • Fox Music profile image
      Author

      Fox Music 2 years ago

      Thanks - Concert Poster Are Such Great Pop Art

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 22 months ago from Earth

      Great hub. Fox Music.

      Brought back a lot of memories.

      Best concert I ever went to - Savoy Brown, Joe Cocker and then the Who when the were touring for the first rock opera, Tommy.

      Best time for rock and roll - never to be seen again.

      Thanks for the flash back.

      Enjoyed it!

      Cheers

    • Fox Music profile image
      Author

      Fox Music 22 months ago

      Thanks claptona - I Never Did Get the Chance To See Joe Cocker but I Did See Savoy Brown and the Who as Well and I agree with You That It Is a Time Passed Never To Be Seen Again.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 22 months ago

      Awesome collection of cool posters. Voted up.

    • Fox Music profile image
      Author

      Fox Music 22 months ago

      Thank You poetryman6969

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