The following concerts represent the biggest names that almost played the Cole Field House. The concerts could have changed the course of history for the campus, music, and students. The stories behind the cancellations explore what could have been and provide a glimpse into a past where the University was able to attract big names without having to compete with many other venues in the region.
No Concert, No Cry
Bob Marley was scheduled to play at the Cole Field House on September 25, 1980. The concert date before in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania turned out to be his last concert ever. Marley collapsed while jogging a few days before the Pittsburgh show and cancelled the Maryland date due to illness. Marley passed away the following spring. More than 10,000 tickets were sold and the student concert board, Student Entertainment Enterprises (SEE) thought it had financial success in its sight. After the concert was cancelled, the chairman of the SEE at the time commented, “Cole field house – there’s just something about that place that won’t let us win.”
Campus Drive Freeze-Out
The October 4, 1975, Bruce Springsteen concert at Cole Field House was going to be the biggest venue the musician had played in his career thus far. Tickets sold briskly for The Boss after they went on sale. A series of “sound folds were installed in the ceiling of the field house to help cut echoes” to improve the sound for the show. Unfortunately, just six days before the show, Bruce cancelled. A caption next to a photo of Springsteen (which was spelled, “Springstein”) from the 1974 yearbook notes, “This campus has had a lot of problems attracting popular groups.”
In 1970, a fraternity on campus invested $7,000USD to bring Led Zeppelin to the Cole Field House. It would have been the band’s final United States appearance that year. The concert was cancelled after university officials said it violated university rules of only five major concert programs being held in Cole Field House per year. A Diamondback article also cited concerns over the logistics of the concert.
- Gainen, Susan. (1970, September 22). Led Zeppelin nixed; Officials cite violations of rules. The Diamondback.
- Sullivan, D. (1980, September 25). Marley show cancelled; 10,000 awaiting refunds. The Diamondback, p. 1.
- Springsteen sales soar. The Diamondback.