UPDATE 3/23: The Kent State University benefit concert has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. A virtual commemoration will take place instead; details will be announced shortly.
David Crosby and Joe Walsh will headline a benefit concert at Kent State University to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the massacre. The performance will be held on May 2nd at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on campus.
The concert will honor May 4th, 1970, when 28 National Guard soldiers fired rounds at students protesting the extension of the Vietnam War, brutally killing four and wounding nine. Neil Young wrote the protest anthem “Ohio” for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young after seeing photos of the tragedy in Life. Crosby sings the “How many more?” call-and-response at the end of the track.
Walsh, an English major and music minor, was present at Kent State during the shootings. “After that, I didn’t look at college the same,” he told the San Diego Tribune. “Being at the shootings really affected me profoundly. I decided that maybe I don’t need a degree that bad.”
He’ll perform with Barnstorm, a trio he formed with drummer Joe Vitale and bassist Kenny Passarelli following his departure from the James Gang in 1972. Vitale also attended Kent State and was present during the massacre.
Walsh is currently on tour with the Eagles, playing their classic album Hotel California in its entirety. They just wrapped up three nights at Madison Square Garden and will head to Dallas and Denver before wrapping up in Inglewood, California, on April 24th.
Crosby is currently Rolling Stone’s advice columnist. He’s also on a podcast called Freak Flag Flying, hosted by author Steve Silberman. In May, Crosby will embark on a solo tour, kicking off on May 14th in Santa Barbara, California, and wrapping in Westhampton, New York, on June 21st. He’s currently working on a follow-up to 2018’s Here If You Listen.
Proceeds for the Kent State event will go toward the May 4 Legacy Scholarships, which will give four scholarships to students majoring in the Peace and Conflict Studies program. Each scholarship is named after the four students who were killed: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Schroeder.
“We wanted to make sure the artists we brought in for the concert had a strong understanding of the history of May 4, 1970, and a commitment to helping raise funds for the scholarships,” project manager Rod Flauhaus said in a statement. “Artists like Joe Walsh and David Crosby provided the soundtrack for both those that went to fight in the Vietnam War and for those who were against it. Their music was the common thread that helped to raise national awareness, inspire activism, and helped us to heal as a nation.”
General tickets for Kent State will go on sale Friday, March 6th, at 10 a.m.