July 1, 1978: Texxas Jam Debuts

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Texxas Jam logoOfficially named the Texxas World Music Festival, the concert held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on what was reportedly the hottest day in a decade – 104 degrees; up to 120 degrees on the stadium field – drew 100,000 rock fans to see a line-up that had soon-to-be classic rock superstars Van Halen near the bottom of the bill and headliners Ted Nugent and Aerosmith atop it.

They were joined by the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Journey, Heart and Eddie Money, among others. Ticket price: a mere $13. The following day the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic drew a far-smaller crowd to the stadium.

It launched an annual festival that was one of the biggest ongoing rock music events in the nation for the next 11 years.  It would be held again at the Cotton Bowl on various dates from July through August for the next three years, and then move to the (thankfully air-conditioned) Astrodome in Houston in 1981. For the next two years the Jam was held in both Dallas and Houston.

Watch Aerosmith perform

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At the final Texxas Jam in 1988, also billed as “The Monsters of Rock,” Van Halen topped the bill for the second time. Among the other acts that played the fests were Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, Sammy Hagar, The Eagles, Cheap Trick, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Foghat, Triumph, Styx, Rush and Ozzy Osbourne (see a partial list of line-ups and set lists here). The first Texxas Jam spawned a documentary film, and a photo book was also published of the fests.

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