Kurt Cobain’s Hospital Gown From Nirvana’s Reading Set Is Up For Auction

By Katrina Nattress

March 7, 2019

Photo of NIRVANA

A set that almost never was, ended up becoming one of Nirvana’s most iconic performances. In 1992, the band was set to headline England’s Reading Festival, but rumors swarmed that they had bailed. When the grunge rockers did take the stage, Kurt Cobain was wearing a hospital gown.

Now, more than 25 years later, that legendary garment is up for auction.

“A few days after his death, there was a vigil for Cobain at the Seattle Center… About a dozen of us stayed long after the festivities ended,” a letter of provenance certifying the gown’s authenticity begins. “We sat in the Flag Pavilion listening to music… just hanging out among the candles and flowers fans had placed there earlier.”

“Late that evening, Courtney Love showed up accompanied by Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland with a bag of Kurt’s clothes. She was visibly grief-stricken and proceeded to pass the clothes out while asking trivia about Kurt’s life,” it continues. “She handed me his hospital gown from the legendary Reading Festival performance from 1992. She then cried on my shoulder for a while. I tried to say something reassuring about his love for her and she pushed me away, insisting that he only loved Frances… The entire incident was sad. And weird. And it blew my teenage mind.”

The collectors item is being sold by Boston-based auction house RR Auctions. The bidding starts on March 14, and the gown is expected to go for $50,000. Check out the auction page here.

Dave Grohl recently opened up about the Reading set to Kerrang! magazine. “I remember showing up to Reading ’92 and there being so many rumours that we weren’t going to play, that we had canceled,” he recalled. “I walked backstage and some of my best friends in bands that were opening would see me and say, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I’d go, ‘We’re f***ing headlining!’ And they’d be like, ‘You’re actually going to play?!’ I didn’t realize there was any question that we were going to play.”

“The show was a really reassuring, genuinely magical moment of everything coming together at the right time. I think we had practiced once, the day before, and I just didn’t know if we could pull it off,” he continued. “It went great, but it’s sad that that’s the last time we ever played England, because it could have been better.”

In 2009, the performance was released as a concert CD/DVD called Live At Reading. Check out footage of Nirvana playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at the festival below.

Photo: Getty Images

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