Woz’s wacky music festival is the focus of new documentary

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Steve Wozniak wax sculpture fake eyes
Remember that time Woz was a concert promoter?
Photo: Madame Tussauds

Before there was the Apple Music Festival, there was the US Festival: a sprawling, Woodstock-style music event hosted by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Boasting performances ranging from the Grateful Dead and the Ramones to The Kinks and Fleetwood Mac, the story behind the epic, money-losing concert is set to be told in a new documentary called The US Generation.

Apple Music before Apple Music was a thing

Part documentary, part concert movie, The US Generation will feature vintage footage of the event, along with new interviews with many of the folks involved — including Woz.

It’s a great story, and one that certainly deserves immortalizing on film. The movie’s producers are currently raising money on Kickstarter, so if you want to see it, chip in a few bucks.

The event took place in September 1982 on a 500-acre stretch of undeveloped land in Devore, California. Everything about it was grandiose, from the amazing lineup of artists to the $10 million amphitheater Woz commissioned for a stage.

The US Festival represented an ahead-of-its-time combination of music and technology. Robert Moog was in attendance to give a demonstration of his famous synthesizer, while jazz legend Herbie Hancock led a discussion about the Apple II/Alpha Syntauri music system — and wowed the crowd with a few impromptu riffs.

The Macintosh team was also present, and at least one got accidentally ejected after going backstage.

Tons went wrong, of course, but a lot went right. Woz lost millions, although he’s always said he had so much fun that it was worth the expenditure. “If I do this for another 55 years, I’m in trouble,” he said at the time.

If you’d like to get involved with funding the documentary, head over to its Kickstarter page, where a pledge of $15 will secure you a preorder screening of the movie. Bigger pledges come with other rewards.

Forget about hip-hop documentaries — why can’t this be the kind of exclusive documentary Apple puts out?