About Rock Medicine


In 1972, Bill Graham asked the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics to staff a medical care tent at his Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin outdoor concerts. That was the start of a vision that was formalized in 1973 by Dr. George "Skip" Gay. More than 40 years later, Rock Med is still providing free, non-judgmental care and setting the standard in event medicine.

Today, Rock Medicine provides all medical coverage at many classic Bay Area venues such as Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, Shoreline Amphitheater, Toyota Amphitheatre, and many other venues.

Rock Med is the official medical provider of Levi’s Stadium, including all 49ers home games and concerts. You can find us on-site at California's best music festivals including Outside Lands, Bottlerock, Aftershock, and Snowglobe, as well as at major events such as the SF Pride Parade and Bay to Breakers.

No matter the event, the doctors, nurses, EMT's, and students who make up Rock Medicine provide the same high standard of care and follow our founder's philosophy in everything we do. Over the last four decades Rock Medicine's technology, uniforms, people, and equipment have grown and changed substantially. What has never changed is our focus: to provide top-notch, free medical care without judgement to those who need it - when they need it, where they need it.

Learn about joining Rock Med!
Levi's Stadium - Home of the 49ers
Rock Medicine at Grandoozy
Rock Medicine Treatment Room at Levi's Stadium
Rock Medicine UTV at BottleRock

What We Do


Rock Medicine set the standard in event medicine and continues to lead the industry in non-judgmental care. We take pride in ensuring that our staff is better equipped and better trained to provide your patrons and staff high-quality care on-site and we always do our best to get them back to the event instead of the hospital.

While other standby companies may promise on-site care, very few are capable of providing an on-site clinic staffed with doctors, nurses, and mid-level practitioners at your event. Our ALS clinics allows us to provide not only life saving emergency medical care but also routine services such as sobering and suturing on-site at many events. By making these services available at the venue, Rock Medicine dramatically reduces EMS transports from your event while providing your patrons non-judgmental compassionate care.

Unlike ambulance companies who have a financial incentive to send patients to the hospital, we only transport patients when medically necessary and we never charge patients for our care at the event.

Rock Medicine has experience covering events with as few as 20 and with as many as 2 million attendees. Our staffing and operational plans are flexible from EMTs with basic life-saving equipment all the way to a mobile hospital complete with doctors and nurses. At major events, our plans can also include the operation of a medical dispatch center, bike and vehicle-based EMT teams, and multiple first aid stations. In addition to providing medical staff for your event, we can also write your EMS/Event Medical Plans, contract ambulance transport, or provide consulting services.

Our EMTs come equipped with basic bandaging supplies, oxygen and airway supplies, an automated external defibrillator, and more. With higher levels of care, we can supply additional over-the-counter and emergency medications, IV supplies, suture kits, cardiac monitors, as well as wheelchairs, gurneys, and equipment for sobering. Depending on the county, we also can provide earplugs, sunscreen, selected over the counter medications, and water/Gatorade to your patrons via first aid stations at no charge to them.

Every event is different and we look forward to discussing the specific type of medical coverage and care we can provide to your patrons. Please reach out to us to learn more.

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History


The history of Rock Medicine is interwoven with the history of The Summer of Love and the formation of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic - the first of what would become a nationwide free clinic movement. That summer and movement would leave a lasting impact on San Francisco as well as the nation and result in the creation of HAFMC and later, Rock Medicine.

As hippies flowed into San Francisco throughout the summer of 1967, the local healthcare system was quickly overwhelmed. City officials were reluctant to act, fearing it would encourage more hippies to flock to San Francisco - a population they saw as undesirable. Dr. David Smith, at the time directing the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Screening Unit at San Francisco General Hospital, saw a population in need of help, not judgment.

Haight Ashbury had quickly become the focal point for this movement and the logical place to start a clinic. Without the support (in fact with the disapproval) of the city and health officials, Dr. Smith started the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic at 558 Clayton St. The clinic first opened on June 7, 1967, and treated 250 people in its first day. From day one it and Dr. Smith's ethos was summed up with the phrase "Healthcare is a right, not a privilege".

In 1972, famed concert promoter Bill Graham - already an early supporter of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic - asked Dr. Smith to put together a treatment tent for outdoor concerts by the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. In 1973, this concept was formalized and became 'Rock Medicine' - a branch of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics.

In the last 45 years Rock Medicine's technology, uniforms, people, and equipment have grown and changed substantially. We now provide health care for the largest and greatest concerts, public events and venues throughout California and into Nevada. We treat thousands of patients a year - for free - and provide comfort and safety for concert and event-goers all over the state. What has never changed is our focus - to provide top-notch, free medical care without judgment to those who need it - when they need it, where they need it.

"Take care of the individual right now. Return him or her to their friends or family and do away with the necessity of either hospitalizing the individual or getting involved with the law."

George R. "Skip" Gay, M.D., Founder & Former Director

Rock Medicine has been operating under the same guiding principles for 45 years. Even in this documentary from 1981, we're able to see that despite different uniforms and technology our mission has always been the same! Interested in joining Rock Medicine's team of volunteers? Learn more about joining Rock Medicine!

For more information about the formation of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, we recommend this great article from UCSF as well as the video below.