Mayfest at SUNY Albany, SUNYA, Albany State or whatever else they had students call the school in those days, was one of the best college events on the campus. Prior to uptight university administrators and faculty taking "learning how to have fun responsibly" out of the college curriculum, events like Mayfest and Fountain Day put that campus, sandwiched between Washington and Western Avenues, on the map.

photo credit C. Voelker
photo credit C. Voelker
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Years before the massive Science Library was built behind the Campus Center, there was a huge field. That's where, when the weather was nice, students hung out, played frisbee, soaked in the sun. That field is where Mayfest took place at the University at Albany. Beer trucks would park on the grass and if you were 19, you got a wrist band and free beer for the day, plus awesome music. Bands, like Squeeze, Todd Rundgren and the Tubes and David Bromberg Band graced those grassy fields in the early 1980s.

photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
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According to the UAlbany website, 18,000 people showed up for the event in 1980, so the university tried to scale it back and by 1983 attendance was limited to 10,000. Yes, the beer was still free for those of age. There were no weapons. There were no fights. There were limited self-inflicted alcohol induced injuries. In general, people just hung out, listened to music, laughed and had fun.

photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
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On May 7, 1983, the Mayfest headliner was a band that was not just moving up the charts, they were blasting into rock-n-roll history. The little band from Ireland was U2, which that week had its first top 20 album in the United States with "War."

photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
photo credit Rick Bedrosian U2 at SUNY Albany
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As described by the the UAlbany website the "crowd of about 10,000 realized quickly, if they had not known beforehand, that this group was special, and particularly so its dynamic lead singer, Paul David Hewson. Known simply as Bono, he was then three days short of his 23rd birthday." Certainly, U2 at Albany is something people should celebrate like a birthday.

photo credit Rick Bedrosian
photo credit Rick Bedrosian
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A big thanks thanks to rock star and photographer, the multi-talented Rick Bedrosian for all of the cool photographs from May 7, 1983 at Albany. Rick took those photos and talked with Bono that day. Bedrosian has been rocking the Capital Region, and the world for that matter, for many years. Plenty of you have seen Rick perform, especially with the area's number one Irish band "Hair of the Dog." Rick is going to join The Drive with Charlie & Dan on Friday afternoon to talk about U2 at Albany and music in general. Be sure to tune in. Rick is a huge sports fan. It will definitely be fun.

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