Traditional holidays are awfully dull. These, though, sound a lot more fun: special days of celebration, merriment and more dedicated to some of the biggest music artists in the world. From Kurt Cobain and David Bowie to Biggie Smalls and Bruce Springsteen, here are 20 artists who’ve got their own special day-long celebrations.
David Bowie and Foo Fighters were recently awarded their very own ‘days’. A slot in the annual calendar where they’re always celebrated. There are two towns that have honoured Kurt Cobain with dedicated days: both Aberdeen and Hoquiam, in Washington, hold 24-hour celebrations of the late Nirvana frontman. Aberdeen’s is on February 20, while Hoquiam’s is on April 10.
Reggae legend Bob Marley‘s birthday is remembered each year in Toronto, when citizens gather on February 6. Toronto’s Controversial Mayor Rob Ford said of the annual shindig: “Bob Marley became one of the greatest ambassadors of peace the world has seen. He used music to tear down the walls of apartheid and promoted African unity, culture and world peace both at home and internationally.”
It isn’t just the dearly departed who have their own special days, though: in 2012, Las Vegas declared that January 2 would be Deadmau5 Day to mark the DJ’s residency at Vegas’s XS Nightclub.
Milwaukee doffed their collective caps to favourite son Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, back in 2011. Announcing that July 22 would be Bon Iver day, Mayor Tom Barrett said: “Bon Iver’s music embraces Justin Vernon’s Wisconsin heritage. He has become an international ambassador for both Milwaukee and Wisconsin, while they travel across the world playing music and interact with national media.”
“It’s cool to be cool in other places, but when your hometown embraces you, it makes you feel really good,” said Wiz Khalifa after learning that his native Pittsburgh dedicated December 12 to the rapper back in 2012.
Heaven knows how they celebrate this one: on February 3, 2012, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman declared that the day would be given over to honouring rock’n’roll hellraisers Motley Crue. The group played a residency in Vegas that month, at the legendary Hard Rock Hotel venue.
In Lowell, MA, October 25 is known as Sammy Hagar Day. And this was or a good cause, too: the Hagar Family Foundation made a contribution of $5,000 to the local food bank, The Merrimack Valley Food Bank.
Now here’s a novel way to garner electoral favour: NYC mayoral candidate Scott Stringer tried to get on voters’ good sides by holding Justin Bieber Day in June 2012. “Let’s just say I’m looking forward to ‘Believe’,” quipped Stringer after Bieber launched the album in Manhattan – he also got a nice shiny plaque for his efforts.
Given his stupendously lengthy back catalogue, one day wouldn’t suffice for Bob Dylan, would it? Which is why his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota hold the annual Dylan Days shindig: a weekend which includes bus tours, public talks and photo exhibitions.
But anything Dylan can do, The Beatles can do more flashily: Liverpool’s Cavern Club honours its favourite sons each year with International Beatleweek in August. So, for The Beatles‘ obsessives, you can spend seven days going to conventions, parties, exhibitions and other Fab Four-themed events.
In 2010, Baltimore announced that September 19 would henceforth be known as Frank Zappa Day. The singer’s children and widow were invited to join in the inaugural event, and a bronze bust of Zappa’s head was also unveiled.
In 2010, Puff Daddy began a campaign to stage Biggie Smalls Day in Brooklyn. Later plans to have a corner in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood renamed ‘Christopher Wallace Way’ were shelved, however, with one member of the voting committe – Lucy Koteen – taking umbrage with his weight. “Physically, the man is not exactly a role model for youth,” she said.
Now here’s a day we can all get behind: in Chicago, September 23 is David Bowie Day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed Bowie for having “impacted and inspired millions of fans across the globe for more than 50 years” and described him as an “undisputed global icon”.
A good cause, this one: Freddie For A Day, in honour of flamboyant Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, was set up by Liz Swanton, the web editor of AIDS charity Mercury Phoenix Trust, the AIDS charity set up in Freddie’s name in 1992. A London banker, she raised over £1,200 by dressing up as Mercury for the day; in 2010, it was turned into an annual fundraising event.
Connecticut staged Bruce Springsteen Day on October 2, 2007. The event coincided with the Boss and the E Street Band kicking off their tour in the town of Hartford shortly before releasing Springsteen’s ‘Magic’ album.
Forget the best-selling albums, huge stadium tours and the like – this is the real sign you’ve made it, Dave Grohl. The US city of Richmond, Virginia officially declared September 17 as Foo Fighters Day, to mark the rock’n’roll band playing their first show there since 1998.
Not content with already having a whole week devoted to The Beatles, Paul McCartney was also honoured by Dayton, Minnesota with his own special day on August 2 this year. The occasion marked both his show at Minneapolis’s Target Field and the 50th anniversary of the only ever Beatles concert in the area.
If you happen to be in Houston on June 10, then you’ll be able to take part in Drake Day. The holiday was introduced as a way of showing how the city “commends and appreciates Drake for dedicating his time to Houston through his passion and enthusiasm for music and our city”.
On May 4 each year since 2012, New York joins together for MCA Day: a celebration of the life of Beastie Boys legend Adam Yauch. This year’s event saw a superb performance from men dressed as Buddhist monks breakdancing to a Beasties track…
And finally, the citizens of Stoke-On-Trent resolved to pay some love to Robbie Williams earlier this year with Robbie Day. Williams, who turned 40 on February 13, had a blue plaque unveiled near his old home and roads in a housing estate were named Angels Way, Candy Lane and Supreme Street in his honour.