35th Anniversary of Who Concert Tragedy and Memorial Marker Announcement Wed 12/3 at 7 p.m




WHEN:   Wednesday, December 3 at 7 p.m.
WHERE:  Plaza between Great American Ballpark and US Bank Arena (formerly Riverfront Coliseum)
WHO:    Open to all who support efforts for permanent memorial and to honor the lives lost 35 years ago 

Beginning with the 30th anniversary on 12/3/09 of the tragic Who concert in Cincinnati on 12/3/79, The Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CMHF), led by Bootsy Collins, has worked with family members of the eleven who died that day, as well as survivors of the concert and local officials to establish a permanent remembrance on the riverfront, notably with the Who Concert Victims Memorial Committee. CMHF supports various efforts by the various “Who concert chapters” that exist and has interacted at times with all of them.Together, a task force formed to organize several anniversary vigils and efforts under the umbrella of CMHF. CMHF is a non-profit 501c3 established 12/3/07 that has worked with other groups to establish historic markers to King Records, Herzog Studios and Hank Williams, and have partnered with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, City of Cincinnati, CEAs, Bunbury and Buckle Up, School for Creative and Performing Arts, WCET/ThinkTV, Elementz and more.

CMHF has provided its headquarters at Historic Herzog as a meeting space for memorial activities, where 11 lanterns in the space honor those lost in the tragedy.  A local photographer and survivor of the concert Michael Kearns, is featured in a photo exhibit in Herzog, that was a part of the FOTOFOCUS regional festival and captures some of the vigil work the group has undertaken.   In addition to the vigils, the group has worked to raise awareness with media and has communicated to its members and the public for the cause and at local award shows like the CEAs among other efforts.

In 2012 and 2013 the group organized and drafted language to honor the 11 lives lost to permanently install a memorial on the riverfront next to the former Riverfront Coliseum, now US Bank Arena.  Working within the confines of City of Cincinnati marker guidelines, the group reached-out to Rick Bird, local music journalist, who was at the concert covering the tragedy that day, and offered direction to draft language for a memorial within guidelines.  The limitations of space and characters for the two-sided marker is set by the city and its marker program (no more than 3 caption lines, no more than 14 text lines, no more than 35 characters per line, including spaces, no more than 70 words) .  The task force, made up of survivors, a family member representative, music foundation members and supporters of the cause, approved an initial draft and has continued to refine the language to address feedback from family members and survivors and fit within the limitations.

Special thanks to the Ladd, Bowes and Burns families for their input, support and leadership.

This two-sided historic maker has been put together in an attempt to simply state what happened and honor those who died by name and acknowledge the many survivors and pay respects to the families who lost their loved ones.  Working with the past city administration, and with support from county representatives, the foundation was given positive feedback about using an area of the plaza outside the arena and has worked within the confines of the city’s marker program.As we approach the 35th anniversary, we are excited to announce that Mayor John Cranley is putting his full support behind this effort.

(Side 1)

In Memoriam
Walter Adams Jr. 22 Trotwood OH
Peter Bowes 18 Wyoming OH
Connie Sue Burns 21 Miamisburg OH
Jacqueline Eckerle 15 Finneytown OH
David Heck 19 Highland Heights KY
Teva Rae Ladd 27 Newtown OH
Karen Morrison 15 Finneytown OH
Stephan Preston 19 Finneytown OH
Phillip Snyder 20 Franklin OH
Bryan Wagner 17 Fort Thomas KY
James Warmoth 21 Franklin OH

Deepest respects to the families,
friends and many survivors.

(Side 2)
The Who Concert
12/3/79 Eleven concertgoers, trapped
in a crush of people, died
at the southwest plaza
entrance to Riverfront Coliseum
waiting to see The Who.
Many others were injured in
what was the deadliest concert
tragedy in United States history.
The tragedy spurred passage of a
crowd safety ordinance, which
became a model for the world.

For more on what happened, please check out Lee Hay’s incredible radio feature from the 30th anniversary:


Check out Pearl Jam’s acknowledgement as they recently played now US Bank arena, talking about how Pete and Roger reached out to them after their tragic 2000 concert and how important it was to play in the same building, proceeding to cover The Real Me – the last song from The Who 12/3/79 show: http://youtu.be/MmQBFMB-8W0