After 30 years, extinct Hawaii volcano hosts concert

Hawaii's most famous dormant volcano is in for a loud awakening.

Diamond Head crater, hidden within the famous mountain backdrop to Waikiki beach, will host a daylong concert Saturday with the Steve Miller Band, Linda Ronstadt, Yvonne Elliman, WAR, and the Honolulu Symphony the first show at the Oahu landmark in nearly 30 years.

The rugged volcano is popular among tourists and residents who enter the crater through a car tunnel and hike to a lookout for a panoramic view of Honolulu's skyline and the surrounding Pacific. But the crater, which includes a military installation and houses state Civil Defense offices in an underground bunker, closed as a musical arena in 1978 after wild fans set fires and vandalized the state monument.

It took promoter Ron Gibson years to lobby everyone from neighborhood boards to state and military officials, but he finally got approval for a six-hour April Fools Day festival and concert in the crater.

"I have this magical piece of paper," Gibson said of his state permit. "This is probably a one-time, never-happening-again thing."

Ticket prices range from $125 (Ђ104) to $175 (Ђ146).

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources put up a number of controls to ensure that the Diamond Head Crater Celebration won't turn the national landmark into a muddy Woodstock. When signing the permit, state parks administrator Dan Quinn wrote that the event "does not set a precedent," and that future permits would "be reviewed on a case by case basis."

The state is instructing organizers to brief the audience on the cultural and historic significance of the 300,000-year-old volcano, which is home to native Hawaiian plants and sacred temples.

While the 560-foot-(170-meter)-tall crater with its 350-acre (142 hectares) open field could hold hundreds of thousands of people, tickets are being limited to 7,500. Gibson would not say how many had been sold.

To comply with environmental and safety concerns, Gibson said he is spending millions of dollars on security, insurance and other measures. Organizers say the arena will be monitored and protected by at least 800 people, including 350 state, military and private police as well as firefighters. A medical team of 20 also will be present with an ambulance.

"Until you do one, you don't know if it's the right thing to do," said Gibson, noting the need for proper security and safeguards. "If I wanted to get the money and run, I would have invited everyone to come with their blankets so they could rock on and get loaded."

Some of the performers will be making second appearances at Diamond Head, reports AP.


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