Kent’s Rock History is Revealed in New Book by Alumnus

Jason Prufer, '03, a lifelong resident of Kent and Kent State University alumnus, has compiled “Small Town, Big Music: The Outsized Influence of Kent, Ohio, on the History of Rock and Roll,” a book that covers the college town’s impressive – and previously unappreciated – rock history.

Mr. Prufer, a senior library associate who has worked at the Kent State library for 20 years, began his research nine years ago by tracking down and interviewing folks who were part of the scene. Once he scratched the surface, the stories poured out, and Mr. Prufer lets these eyewitnesses share their memories in their own words. His work was recently featured in the Youngstown Vindicator.

“When people think about Kent, it’s all about May 4,” Mr. Prufer told The Vindicator. “There have been 30 books written about it, and it blacked out all of this rock history. All of the stories, that I grew up hearing, were on the cusp of being completely erased or forgotten because the people who were there are now over 70 years old. I wanted to make sure that what happened remains preserved.”

While he knew of the major concerts that played at Kent State, the full scope of the scene surprised the author.

To read more about the book and Mr. Prufer’s story, visit this article in The Vindicator, at

The book was published by Kent State University Press:


POSTED: Monday, February 18, 2019 08:41 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 06:42 AM
Francesca Barrett