On May 29, 1938, the New York Daily News presented a groundbreaking, and long since forgotten, outdoor music festival, featuring the biggest names in then contemporary Swing and jazz. Held at a municipal stadium on the east side of New York City, the show was billed as a “Carnival of Swing.” The phrase “swing,” of course, has always had two meanings in American music. The first is a verb used by jazz musicians to describe the particular approach to rhythm that evolved in the late 1920’s and 1930’s, and which still permeates jazz to this day. The second use of the word is the noun “Swing,” which describes the style of dance music popular in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The latter definition describes a genre influenced to varying degrees by jazz, but sometimes having almost nothing to do with real improvisational versions of the music. The whole Swing dance music fad had really just started in 1937, when Benny Goodman’s band burst onto the nation’s airwaves, and it was something of a nod to what most assumed was a passing fancy that this concert happened at all. This was a new concept for a new era: an outdoor concert for thousands of teenage and young adult fans of contemporary popular music, featuring dozens of the best, or least most popular, exponents of the style. The idea was one that would become common in the future, and begat everything from the Newport Jazz Festival to rock extravaganzas like Woodstock. That it is largely forgotten today is a shame, as it was in many ways groundbreaking. First, and perhaps most importantly, the City of New York decreed that it be racially integrated, which wasn’t always the case in that era. Second, it was the first time that young Americans had this sort of cultural influence, a full two decades before the dawn of rock and roll. It is so forgotten that there remain only some newspaper articles making brief mention of it, and four minutes of silent newsreel footage. Oh, to have the sound from those images! And what sound it must have been! The headliner, Benny Goodman, ended up cancelling, but the remaining acts included some of the best of the jazz-heavy Swing bands. Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Chick Webb, Bunny Berigan, Roy Eldridge, John Kirby, Stuff Smith and Hot Lips Page were joined by the more commercial, “sweet” sounds of Kay Kyser, Larry Clinton, Vincent Lopez, Sammy Kaye, the Andrews Sisters, Milt Herth and the Hudson-DeLange band. Almost 25,000 jitterbugs showed up on Randall’s Island for the show, and it seems crazy that it isn’t cited more often in histories of American music. The poster here is a present-day imagining of how a promotional flyer for the concert might have looked, as nothing from that era survives.