Cleveland is an inland port city founded in 1796, blending middle American culture with maritime influences. In the late 19th century, Station Hope connected people on the run to Canada. In the 1930s, the Great Lakes Exposition drew four million visitors. In the 2010s, the city saw growth again, and is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In the 1940s and 1950s, music was segregated, with Black artists playing rhythm and blues and White groups playing mainstream hits. DJ Alan Freed's radio show opened Pandora's Box, introducing audiences to the original versions of rock and roll. In 1983, Cleveland opened the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a place more connected to the genre's history.
Alan Freed started his radio show in 1951 to explore Black artists' work and tore open the undercurrent of racism in the industry. He brought together performers in 1952 for the first rock concert in the world, but the world heard the call and Cleveland's rock scene grew.