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Music History

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the Tibetan Freedom Concert in New York City

The festival included performances by Radiohead, U2, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys and many more

tibetan freedom concert

Poster by Jim "T.A.Z." Evans

Some festival lineups are just insane. New York City’s Tibetan Freedom Concert (which took place on June 7 & 8, 1997) included some of the major music acts of the last half century, including Radiohead, U2, Foo Fighters, Alanis Morrissette, Blur, and Beastie Boys. Radiohead had released OK Computer on May 21 – less than a month prior to the concert. I was a teenager at the time, and I snuck out of my house to go to New York for the weekend with friends. The show was unforgettable.

The Tibetan Freedom Concerts were originally organized by the Beastie Boys and the Milarepa Fund. In addition to the New York City event, concerts were held in San Francisco, Washington D.C., and at multiple international venues. The New York City concert was held at Downing Stadium on Randall’s Island. The event raised over $250,000 for Tibetan independence. The Beastie Boys had taken a major interest in Tibetan independence; Adam Yauch was a cofounder of the Milarepa Fund as well as a practitioner of Buddhism and nonviolence.

Here are some notable performances and clips from the legendary festival:

Foo Fighters: ‘I’ll Stick Around’ Live at the Tibetan Freedom Concert, 1997

Beastie Boys: Tibetan Freedom Concert News Clip

Blur: Interview and Performance at Tibetan Freedom Concert

U2: ‘One’ at Tibetan Freedom Concert, 1997

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