A Short History of Winterland

Winterland Ballroom (also known as Winterland Arena) began as an ice skating rink in San Francisco that opened in 1928 at the corner of Post Street and Steiner Street. In 1966, rock promoter Bill Graham took over the arena when his shows began to outgrow nearby Filmore West. Winterland would go on to host some of the most legendary shows over the next 12 years.


The most influential artists of their generation played at Winterland such as Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Queen, KISS, Boston, Cream, Yes, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd,The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, The Band, Big Brother & The Holding Company With Janis Joplin, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Rush, Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, Jefferson Airplane, Traffic, Styx, Grand Funk Railroad, Humble Pie, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Deep Purple, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Elvis Costello and many more. Led Zeppelin first performed their song “Whole Lotta Love” there.

Bill Graham just before closing Winterland in 1978 photo: Michael Zagaris.

About Winterland Lodge and Taproom Nozawa Onsen

Winterland Lodge & Taproom was conceived by music and mountains. Two friends—Chris Hinds and Gardner Robinson—had each been living in Japan for more than twenty years and skiing/snowboarding in Nozawa Onsen since before the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998. Growing up, both had followed the Grateful Dead—Gardner on the West Coast and Chris on the East Coast. In 2015, Chris had an extra ticket to Fare Thee Well—the final show the Grateful Dead would ever play together—in Chicago. Gardner had just landed in Portland, Oregon, with his family, yet less than twenty-four hours later they were in Soldier Field on the 4th of July with fireworks over head as the band played on. The seed for Winterland Nozawa Onsen was planted there.