For over half a century it was a magnet for rock and pop greats, from ABBA to ZZ Top, legendary jazz idols such as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, opera singers such as Placido Domingo, and the was show stage for world stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Josephine Baker, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, David Bowie, Liza Minelli, B.B.King, Al Jarreau, and Tina Turner.
The inventor of the Twist dance style, Chubby Checker, also performed here, as did calypso king Harry Belafonte, rock and roll pioneer Bill Haley and rock super-bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Who, Genesis, and Santana. Chansonniers like Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Reinhardt Mey, as well as current pop and comedy stars.
The Essen Song Days Festival which took place at the Grugahalle in September 1968 is considered the birth of the rock and pop festival. The hall later became famous beyond Germany for another music festival, the Rockpalast (1977 to 1986). Entertainers like Udo Jürgens, Howard Carpendale, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Herbert Grönemeyer and Eros Ramazotti became perennial favourites among audiences. The list goes on and on.
And comedians - the pop stars of the modern era - should not go unmentioned. Starting with Otto Waalkes, who first hopped on the Grugahalle stage in 1978, to local celebrities like Helge Schneider and Dr. Stratmann, who triggered a veritable comedy mania in the mid-90s, to the giants" in the industry like Mario Bart and Atze Schröder. All all of them return regularly to perform in the concrete butterfly.
It was also an international sporting venue for tennis, gymnastics, handball, football, and functioned as a circus ring and ice rink. It was incorporated in the exhibition operations of MESSE ESSEN, and was and is a meeting point for economics, politics and religion as well as for hobbies and leisure. A hall for all, as stipulated in the opening speech.