Disco Demolition Night

  • disco demolition night
    datejuly 12, 1979
    time6 pm cdt and following
    locationcomiskey park,
    chicago, illinois, u.s.
    causepromotional event admitted those with a disco record
    for 98¢
    participantssteve dahl, mike veeck, and several thousand attendees
    outcomegame 2 of tigers/white sox doubleheader forfeited to detroit
    deathsnone
    non-fatal injuriesbetween 0 and 30
    property damagedamage to the field of comiskey park
    suspectsapprox. 39
    chargesdisorderly conduct

    disco demolition night was a baseball promotion on thursday, july 12, 1979, at comiskey park in chicago, illinois that ended in a riot. at the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the chicago white sox and the detroit tigers. many of those in attendance had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. the playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the fans that the white sox were required to forfeit the second game to the tigers.

    in the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco was the most popular music genre in the united states, particularly after being featured in hit films such as saturday night fever (1977). however, disco sparked a major backlash from rock music fans—an opposition prominent enough that the white sox, seeking to fill seats at comiskey park during a lackluster season, engaged chicago shock jock and anti-disco campaigner steve dahl for the promotion at the july 12 doubleheader. dahl's sponsoring radio station was 97.9 wlup, so admission was discounted to 98 cents for attendees who turned in a disco record; between games, dahl was to destroy the collected vinyl in an explosion.

    white sox officials had hoped for a crowd of 20,000, about 5,000 more than usual. instead, at least 50,000—including tens of thousands of dahl's adherents—packed the stadium, and thousands more continued to sneak in after gates were closed. many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. after dahl blew up the collected records, thousands of fans stormed the field and remained there until dispersed by riot police.

    the second game was initially postponed, but forfeited by the white sox the next day by order of american league president lee macphail. disco demolition night preceded, and may have helped precipitate, the decline of disco in late 1979; some scholars and disco artists have described the event as expressive of racism and homophobia. disco demolition night remains well known as one of the most extreme promotions in major league history.

  • background
  • event
  • explosion
  • reaction and aftermath
  • game results
  • see also
  • references
  • further reading
  • external links

Disco Demolition Night
DateJuly 12, 1979
Time6 pm CDT and following
LocationComiskey Park,
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
CausePromotional event admitted those with a disco record
for 98¢
ParticipantsSteve Dahl, Mike Veeck, and several thousand attendees
OutcomeGame 2 of Tigers/White Sox doubleheader forfeited to Detroit
DeathsNone
Non-fatal injuriesBetween 0 and 30
Property damageDamage to the field of Comiskey Park
SuspectsApprox. 39
ChargesDisorderly conduct

Disco Demolition Night was a baseball promotion on Thursday, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois that ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Many of those in attendance had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. The playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the fans that the White Sox were required to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.

In the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco was the most popular music genre in the United States, particularly after being featured in hit films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977). However, disco sparked a major backlash from rock music fans—an opposition prominent enough that the White Sox, seeking to fill seats at Comiskey Park during a lackluster season, engaged Chicago shock jock and anti-disco campaigner Steve Dahl for the promotion at the July 12 doubleheader. Dahl's sponsoring radio station was 97.9 WLUP, so admission was discounted to 98 cents for attendees who turned in a disco record; between games, Dahl was to destroy the collected vinyl in an explosion.

White Sox officials had hoped for a crowd of 20,000, about 5,000 more than usual. Instead, at least 50,000—including tens of thousands of Dahl's adherents—packed the stadium, and thousands more continued to sneak in after gates were closed. Many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. After Dahl blew up the collected records, thousands of fans stormed the field and remained there until dispersed by riot police.

The second game was initially postponed, but forfeited by the White Sox the next day by order of American League president Lee MacPhail. Disco Demolition Night preceded, and may have helped precipitate, the decline of disco in late 1979; some scholars and disco artists have described the event as expressive of racism and homophobia. Disco Demolition Night remains well known as one of the most extreme promotions in Major League history.