Trivia Tuesday: No more paid concerts at 'Overton Park' shell - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Trivia Tuesday: No more paid concerts at 'Overton Park' shell

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Currently, the outdoor venue provides more than 50 free concerts each year to thousands of Memphians. Currently, the outdoor venue provides more than 50 free concerts each year to thousands of Memphians.
Historians say the first-ever rock and roll performance (deliverer by no one other than Elvis Presley) happening at the shell in 1954. Historians say the first-ever rock and roll performance (deliverer by no one other than Elvis Presley) happening at the shell in 1954.
The shell was nearly demolished in 1972 to make room for a parking garage. The shell was nearly demolished in 1972 to make room for a parking garage.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Dozens of music lovers will flood the Levitt Shell lawn with picnic blankets and folding chairs this weekend, but the Memphis Park Commission banned commercial rock concerts at Overton Park's now thriving outdoor venue 40 years ago this week.

A board voted to remove a fence surrounding the shell June 4, 1973 following complaints that concert goers participated in criminal activities—taking drugs and drinking in the park—while listening to music, according to G. Wayne Dowdy's compilation "On this Day in Memphis History."

Free events continued as venue supporters fought for its existence in the early '70s; it was nearly demolished in 1972 to make room for a parking garage.

After numerous efforts by organizations, like Save our Shell, and other individuals who fought for the venue for more than 20 years, the Shell finally had a breakthrough.

Renovations were made in 2007, which helped the venue become one of the few band shells remaining from the 27 that were built by the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Historians say the first-ever rock and roll performance (delivered by no one other than Elvis Presley) happening at the shell in 1954. According to the venue's website, Elvis took the stage before headliner Slim Whitman, and he stole the show.

Currently, the outdoor venue provides more than 50 free concerts each year to thousands of Memphians.


WMC Action News 5 brings you a week of history every week with Memphis Trivia Tuesday. Join the conversation with #MemphisTriviaTuesday on Twitter or Facebook. Learn more about Memphis history here: http://bit.ly/1h5D51M.


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