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Music Posters: The Rise and Fall

One of my favorite things to see when I have the pleasure of walking through a larger city’s downtown area are the band show posters that cover light posts and the bulletins and windows of cafes and record shops. The art work that is canvased across the posters tells me that someone is really looking forward to hearing those specific bands. They put a good deal of effort into catching the glances of the public, in hopes that someone else will join them for a few hours of rhythmic and lyrical escape and support the artists.

A long time ago, before the printing press was invented, posters advertising music performances were made the old fashioned way: with a pen, paper and a creative hand. Once the printing press came into play, advertising became a lot easier, but it limited the artistic aspect of the music poster. The arrival of lithography swooped in and saved the day. Now it was possible to transfer works of art onto paper and mass produce them. This especially became popular in the Victorian Era, when musical entertainment posters became the most popular in the world of advertising. When the art deco era pushed its way in with the movies and television, the music poster took a fall. Musical advertising was reduced to bills and handouts which were not durable enough to preserve. Then the glory of the 60’s and all of it’s musical rebirth brought life back to the music poster. Unfortunately it took a dive once again in the 70’s, when broadcasting music on television became mainstream. The music poster has fought ever since to get back on top, but it has yet reach such heights as it had in the Victorian era.

Here are some of the most visually pleasing posters I’ve found, both vintage and recent. I don’t know ALL of the bands on these posters, but if I saw these on the street I would definitely check them out!