Never mind that last year's $10 million-plus US Festival ''lost a ton'' of money, says computer-whiz cum multimillionaire Steve Wozniak. It was fun, and he says he's going to do it again.
Outdoor rock music festivals - styled after the Woodstock festival in 1969 - are a form of entertainment that has become almost a rite of passage for American youth. And with the US Festival, Mr. Wozniak has developed a benign but slickly marketed event where jampacked bodies are electrified by 400,000 watts of amplified music.
But people also get to wander through several circus-size tents housing a high-tech career fair where Wozniak, cofounder of the Apple Computer empire, says he believes youths can be introduced in a comfortable way to their future.
This year's US Festival, announced recently at an elaborate, $28,000 Hollywood press conference, will include 30 top rock and country acts over a four-day period (May 28, 29, 30, and June 4). Perhaps most telling of the coming extravaganza was the signing of British rock and film star David Bowie, who reportedly had turned down an initial offer of $1 million to perform at the festival.
Each day of the festival, an expected 300,000 participants will pay $20 apiece for each day's ticket to roam the 500-acre San Bernardino festival site.
The traditional problems associated with rock events - arrests for drugs and violence, traffic problems, and the like - were kept to a minimum in last year's operation (37 arrests in three days).
But, in an effort to make this year's event more of a financial success, Wozniak himself surveyed students on high school and college campuses to get a handle on the the best acts to sign.
The music and high-tech festival concept also happens to accomplish a major marketing coup by bringing thousands of people to one spot for targeting by computer sales representatives.