Rock Gods and Their Rugs

Rock musicians tend to surround themselves with the best of everything -instruments, sound systems, lighting, so it is no surprise that many rock legends have implemented the use of Persian rugs on their stages as they perform. Musicians have long understood that the setting for enjoying their biggest hits should be a relaxed, inviting environment for their fans. A Persian rug does just that. It allows the performer to create a more intimate, personal experience for the listener in an otherwise cold, commercial venue.

Led Zeppelin

The one-of-a-kind, vegetable dyed, handmade trademarks of a Persian rug make them as uniquely superior as the rock stars who love them. From Eric Clapton to the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Nirvana…the list goes on and on. Incorporating rugs onstage dates to the late 1960’s, where it is believed (and debated) that the Grateful Dead were the first to do so.

These rugs have always been cherished for their unique designs and motifs, like the paisley, a design widely associated with the fashion and pop culture of the 1960’s. Fabled stories exist about musicians and their rugs, from the Eagles fighting over each musician’s rug placement on stage, to Eric Clapton’s beloved rug traveling with its own special carrying tube from venue to venue. Jerry Garcia liked having rugs underfoot, so when he looked down at his feet, he could get lost in all their intricate patterns.

The Grateful Dead performing

The fact that they also have a very practical application to any music performance makes the Persian rug a staple on many musician’s stage set-ups throughout the years. The more technical reasons for placing a rug onstage are numerous:

  • Provide insulation and absorb sound; quite often they are used as a way of lessening the overpowering sound of the drums, which allows a band to better keep time and rhythm
  • Reduces muscle fatigue musicians might experience, making the stage floor more comfortable to stand on
  • Hides cords, or any other potential tripping hazards

Kurt Cobain from Nirvana

Musicians love these rugs for the same reasons we do. The quality and designs are both luxurious and nostalgic. A certain rug might remind you of a wonderful trip where you bought it, or the pattern might remind you of playing on the floor as a child at your grandmother’s home. For musicians on the road, months at a time, it is a way of taking a piece of home with them, and inviting the audience to come on in and relax for a night.


Heather Haas

Director of Fine Rugs