A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

From Dolly Parton to Megadeth: A Flickering Tribute to Mason’s Musical Scene

By Lindsay Bernhards, BA '18 on March 9, 2018

Over the past 30+ years, Mason’s 10,000-seat arena has been a big part of campus life and the Northern Virginia community. Since its 1985 opening, the Patriot Center (now EagleBank Arena) has been visited by more than 12 million patrons for more than 3,600 events that have ranged from ultimate fighting to the Harlem Globetrotters.

In 2010, Billboard magazine ranked the Patriot Center No. 8 nationwide and No. 18 worldwide among top-grossing venues with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000.

Mason Day Performance inside the Patriot Center. Photo by Craig Bisacre/Creative Services/George Mason University

As the venue for both Disney On Ice and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the arena has been the place where many area children saw their first circus or their favorite animated movie come to life. Many have graduated from high school and college there.

Adults also have fond memories of their concerts. We recently asked a Fairfax, Virginia, group on Facebook to tell us about their favorite Patriot Center concert, and received 82 responses. The list of performers is long and diverse, running the gamut from Dolly Parton to Megadeth.

Warning: Reading this list might make you want to raise your lighter in memory. Facebook mentions talked about Poison, Chicago, Tears for Fears, Green Day, The Cult, Lenny Kravitz, Ronnie Milsap, Sarah McLachlan, Duran Duran, The Killers, the Moody Blues, The Wiggles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Prince, among others.

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