Monday, May 24, 2010

The August Jam

(This post has been up for over a year now and still no one has come forth with any photographs. Surely, someone has some photographs out there? If you have any memorabilia I'd love to have a copy of it so I can add it to this article. Please contact me if you have anything you would like to share at edmcdonald at

Pictures from audience member
Flickr user Linda just emailed me a link to some photos she took of her time at the August Jam. You can view her picture set here

Recently I was going through some old newspapers that someone had donated to the library. Most of the papers in the stack had coverage about the resignation of President Richard Nixon. A Sunday Charlotte Observer from August 11th had four stories on the front page. The stories were about Nixon's last days in office, Gerald Ford assuming power, how the city of San Clemente was handling being the home of citizen Richard Nixon and the fourth story was about a huge rock concert held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was called August Jam.

On August 10, 1974, the day after Gerald Ford assumed the presidency from Richard Nixon there was a big party at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. An estimated 200,000 people came to a rock festival, milling around the front stretch, the pit area and the grandstands enjoying Southern rock and indulging freely in drugs and booze. Scheduled to play on that Saturday were the Marshall Tucker Band, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Allman Brothers Band, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Foghat, Grinder Switch, Black Oak Arkansas, an Italian prog rock band called PFM and several other minor bands. The Eagles were scheduled to play also but they canceled. Tickets were available through Ticketron for $12 in advance and tickets at the door were $15. I had no idea Ticketron was selling tickets in the mid seventies. The promoters rented all 154 rooms of the Coliseum Downtowner Motor Inn located on Independence Blvd. Performers were flown in all during the day on two helicopters.

According to a story in the Spartanburg Herald Journal it was the biggest concert on the east coast since Woodstock in 1969. The crowd was so big that it was equal to about one quarter of the whole population of the Charlotte metro area at the time and four times the population of Spartanburg, SC. Cars lined the road the day of the festival and late arrivals had to walk up to two miles just to get to the race track. The Times News of Hendersonville, NC, which billed it self as "one of America's most modern newspapers," reported that eight towing companies from the Concord area towed around 385 cars that were parked illegally in the area. Companies were forced to give a discount on their regular $25 fee for towing because a lot of the kids had no cash. Some towers even released cars for free. One even accepted in lieu of cash a "sawed off shotgun, a watch and a guitar."

The concert was slated to begin at 11am Saturday morning. The gates opened on Friday afternoon and those that showed up early rushed in to claim spots near the stage. Eventually the concert started to resemble the fabled 1969 Woodstock festival in one significant way, nonpaying customers eventually forced their way into the show through the fences and past "club swinging security." Security guards were so overwhelmed that they eventually gave up. One guard was quoted as saying to the rock fans, "Come in, they're not paying me enough to take this." Despite the chaos there were no serious injuries although two guard dogs were "trampled to death." The mob even took over the local police outpost for a short period of time but the cops cleared them out quickly. The crashers prompted one of the promoters, Larry Pressley, to say, "I'm sure not happy when our profit is so small because of this. But we'll do okay and they're going to see a good show." Richard Howard, president of the speedway, estimated there were 10,000 gate crashers. According to the Observer there was a large skirmish between the concert goers and security guards which were provided by a company called Security Dogs Inc at 8am Saturday morning. The crowd rushed the gates five times until the guards gave up and officials at the gates quit attempting to take tickets. Once that happened people poured in and the more dishonest of concert goers collected unused tickets and sold them to unsuspecting late arrivals who were unaware that tickets were no longer needed.

Those who are currently familiar with the Charlotte Motor Speedway may think it's odd that a crowed of 200,000 could overwhelm the area but up to that time the largest crowd for a race at CMS was 90,000. The music ran smoothly all day. The stages were set up along pit road. While one band was playing the next band would be setting up on another stage. Once the current band finished the next one started right away because their gear was already set up and ready to go. An expensive quadraphonic sound system was utilized. The speakers were on tracks so the bands would be playing in the center of the speakers no matter which stage they were using.

Drugs were sold openly inside the track. There were only around 100 police officers to provide security and they stayed outside in order to keep the roads open to traffic. If the police did attempt to enter the show they were pelted with debris. Cabarrus County Sheriff J.B. Roberts said his men could not enter the festival because "hundreds of them would have come at you...we're not equipped to do it." The story in the Charlotte Observer while addressing the indulgences of the crowd included this doozy in the opening paragraph: "The largest crowd ever seen for a rock concert in the Carolinas...swarmed over the Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday, tearing down fences, consuming rivers of beer, smoking pounds of marijuana and listening to hours of continuous, welling music."

After the excitement of the gate crashing the crowd calmed down and concentrated on imbibing and listening to the music. Considering the lack of security and the large size and few amenities there was very little conflict. The stories I found in local newspapers focused a lot of attention on the drugs and alcohol that were consumed by those in attendance and there was some hysteria from local officials concerning possible violence but there were no serious injuries at the event despite absolutely no police or security presence inside the gates. A quote by Sheriff Roberts in the Observer sums up nicely the preconceptions by the authorities. He said, "There will be drunks, fights, shootings and cuttings." As the article says "there were drunks in abundance" but the predicted shootings and cuttings didn't happen. A sense of community settled over the place. It became a "happening." There did seem to be a bit of nudity at the event. One man did a strip tease, encouraged by the crowd who paid him in "pretzels, sips of beer and puffs from their joints."

With that much chaos at the gates and that many people gathered in a hot August weekend at a facility where basic needs were scarce and serious partying was going on there were bound to be some injuries. The local hospital later reported that they had treated 138 people from the concert and that "most had not paid their bills." The estimated cost of the unpaid bills was $13,137. The injuries varied from drug overdoses to cut feet from walking on broken glass and one woman who was pregnant and was admitted to the hospital had a miscarriage.

The panic by local officials continued after the concert was over. In September the Cabarrus County commissioners discussed creating an ordinance either banning or controlling such concerts. Cabarrus County Health Director, Albert Klimas, said, "Our evaluation of the August Jam and its promotion is that it was a public health menace and a threat to the citizens of Cabarrus County." They may not have passed the ordinance because I can't find any news reports on the subject after the initial story.

The concert was promoted by Stan Kaplan (who went on to purchase WROQ and founded the weekly paper called The Leader) president of Charlotte's WAYS radio and a local promoter, Larry Pressely. The concert was promoted in Rolling Stone magazine and advertised on the radio "as far away as Florida." People came from all over. Near the end of the evening a Charlotte Observer reporter observed a young man with "a sign around his neck reading 'Ride Needed to Vermont.'"

Ron, a seventeen-year-old music lover from just north of New York City drove down that weekend with two high school friends. I contacted him through a music message board and he agreed to answer a few questions about his experience at the August Jam. They drove all night to get to the Charlotte Motor Speedway by Friday morning. The highlight of their drive was listening to Richard Nixon's resignation speech. They secured some beer, soda and ice and waited for the gates to open Friday afternoon. He remembers it being "really hot and humid." I would imagine a northern kid's first trip to the North Carolina Piedmont in the middle of August could only be described as that.

His experience was different than much of the reporting in the local papers. It was crowded and it was hot but overall it "was pretty mellow." He had tickets and got there early on Friday and secured a spot about fifty yards from the stage and missed the chaos of Saturday morning's gate crashing battle.

The newspaper reporting said that the bathroom facilities were badly overloaded and he confirmed that. Due to the overcrowding caused by the gate crashers it was a half hour trip to the bathrooms. Then you had to wait and then another half hour trip back to where you had set up. As Ron put it in his email to me, "...every trip to the bathroom was about a two-hour ordeal, and suddenly drinking a lot of beer lost its amusement value." Sounds like a flask of whiskey would have been handy.

He did answer another big question I had about the event: the sound system. From where he was sitting the sound was great. He wrote that the "quadraphonic sound system was enormous and magnificent." You can see the rear speakers for the quadraphonic system in the first picture of the event below. They are in the right side of the picture sitting just inside of the front stretch.

The track president Richard Howard estimated there was about $30,000 in damages done to the facility and Stan Kaplan estimated he probably broke even on his $600,000 investment. He said, "I'll never be part of an outdoor concert again."

Jim from Greensboro shared with me a poster from the event which he picked up after the concert at a Charlotte music store. Great find and thanks for sharing!

August Jam Poster 007 copy

Other than the pictures from the Charlotte Observer I haven't been able to find any video footage or pictures of this event. There's got to be some out there. I did find a Black Oak Arkansas DVD that supposedly has two songs from their performance at the August Jam. I'd purchase it if I knew for sure there were shots of the crowd included. If you were at the August Jam leave a comment or email me. I'd love to hear your story.

Picture taken from the beginning of the front stretch of the speedway
View of Crowd at the August Jam in 1974

Aerial shot of the crowd
Aerial View of August Jam

I finally found some video. This is some footage of Black Oak Arkansas playing.

There are a couple of photographs of festival goers hosted on the website of the UNC-Charlotte website. Photographs were taken by Steve Perile.

View from the front stretch here

Exhausted participants outside the track here


Cabarrus seeks rock concert control, The Rock Hill Herald. September 7th, 1974

Concert was a package deal, not for real music lovers by John Smith, Spartanburg Herald. August 13, 1974

Crashers win big battle at the gate, Allen Cowen, Charlotte Observer, August 11th, 1974

Some towing fees cut for concert goers, The Times News. August 14th, 1974

Thousands jam rock fest, The Charlotte Observer, Henry Eichel with filed reports by Mark Ethridge III, Johnny Greene, Allen Cowan and Mike Schwartz. August 11th, 1974

Thousands of fans crash rock concert gate, Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 11th, 1974


David Spranger said...

I am pretty sure that was the last large outdoor concert in the Charlotte area until Ted Nugent/Foreigner/Black Oak Arkansas/Mother's Finest at Memorial Stadium in Summer of 1978. First large show I saw and first time I smoked pot with a family member (my oldest sister). I think she would deny it now.

tom said...

That was interesting as hell. Great post dude.

Meri said...

That's really cool, Ed! I wish I could have been there.

Ron Frankl said...

Nice job. I think you got the story right, too. The Spartanburg Paper was wrong about one thing, though; the Watkins Glen concert the year before drew an estimated 600,000.

I think that August Jam faded from memory because most of the performances were not filmed or recorded. The fact that BOA's set was filmed is news to me, but I'm intrigued.

Ron Frankl said...

Nice job. I think you got the story right, too. The Spartanburg Paper was wrong about one thing, though; the Watkins Glen concert the year before drew an estimated 600,000.

I think that August Jam faded from memory because most of the performances were not filmed or recorded. The fact that BOA's set was filmed is news to me, but I'm intrigued.

Anonymous said...

I was there! I was stationed in New River MCAS in Jacksonville NC. Made the trip to the concert with a marine friend and his wife. We had a great time. Emerson and the piano trip I'll never forget. Great to see someone putting up the history on this event.

Anonymous said...

Great article! I've been trying to find some writing on this concert for years ... most folks I talk with never heard of it.

I hitchhiked to the August Jam at age 17 from northwest Ohio ... at the concert I ran into a number of people I knew ... I was there 3 days arriving before & leaving the day after -- had a wild time, too weird to recount here, but trust me, it was one wide-open scene for sure.

I paid $15 for a ticket ... seemed like a lot of money at the time ... after the show my friends and I collected pop bottles and cans to turn-in for gas money. While we did this the owner/president of the speedway (an old man) came up to us in a golf cart and told us to get the hell off his property in 1 hour or else he'd have us arrested -- he said the whole event had been a disgrace, etc., etc. ... one of this guys assistants told me some 350,000 folks had been there, but who knows, really?

I've been in crowd of 1 million or so and after a certain point you can't tell how many people are surrounding you.

The worst things there were no shade, little water and not enough port-a-johns ... I ended-up taking a dump under one of the stages one afternoon -- good times, good times...

Rebel1 said...

I was there sweating with the masses. I remember the heat heat heat. I was about 200 yards from the stage in front. I was so thirsty. A watermelon was being passed around and all these hands were scooping it out. Even in those pre aids days I said,"no way baby" and passed it on. I waited until I got to a vendor selling Shasta cola. I saw all the day acts but i missed the night acts including ELP. I was in the tent passed out from the heat. I remember hearing them a little. Some how I survived my 20's to become an old hippie. Rock on. It was a great era for music and I still love my music.

Anonymous said...

I was a senior in high school and drove up from Mullins SC with 3 of my friends. We arrived Fri nite and went in early towards the front of the stage. We missed the gate crashing incidents but remember hearing about it inside. I clearly recall a helicopter flying over the concert area with a cameraman in the door so there must be video out there just prior to Black Oak Arkansas coming on.In addition, another helicopter dropped paper sun visors that said, "Black Oak Arkansas says Get High On the Hog Ya'll."Surprisingly my friends and I were well prepared (with water etc) but using the bathroom was difficult. The place was really packed in the front. I have pictures (somewhere) taken with my small instamatic camera. Grinderswitch also played and Wolfman Jack introduced the MTB and Foghat. Great memories and a great time...

Unknown said...

Hey, anonymous guy with photos from this event, I hope someday you scan them and post them online. I'd love to see them.

Bud said...

15 of us rented a big Uhaul in So. Boston, Va. and drove Fri. night. We parked beside the Hell's Angels who did not mess with us because one of the guys keep them in Columbian. About 3 a.m. we were in the group that tore the fence down. I remember a guard dog about 2 feet from my throat but the security guy kept him off of was chaos.
The rest was great music capped by a great show by the ABB. Uhaul was wasted when we got home!

SkyDog said...

Me and a friend drove down from Clemmons, NC Friday afternoon. There weren't that many people there when we got in. I don't remember where we were relative to the stage. We had sleeping bags and a cooler full of beer and some food. Knowing I had a big day ahead and needing a good night's sleep, I went to the drug market and asked a guy for something to make me sleep. It worked very well. I woke to a crowd that had multiplied at least three times overnight. It didn't take long to realize that the crowd overwhelmed the facility and the capacity of the organizers to provide any security. It felt like everybody was trying to be mellow and not disturb any neighbors who might not be so friendly. There was a sense that if you weren't careful things could go downhill quickly. Thankfully, they didn't, at least what I saw.
I didn't feel as connected to the music as I normally do at a concert. I guess the crowd had a life of its own that distracted from the music, at least for me. I was a huge ELP fan, but I was too far from the stage to really enjoy their set. By the end of the day, it just seemed like a great big mess and I was kind of glad to be leaving.
If my memory is correct, the Tanglewood - in Clemmons - was hosting the PGA tournament that same weekend. There was another rock festival in July, 1970 in Love Valley, NC. There was a huge crowd there as well. I couldn't say which was larger, but it did seem like the organizers has a slightly better handle on managing such an event than the August Jam organizers. October, 2010.

Douglas said...

Thanks for this article, my dad was at this concert, and I've been searching for a bootleg of the audio for a couple years. Hell, I can't find any memorabilia from this event at all. If anyone knows of where to find anything from this, please let me know! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I was there at the concert! I was 18 at the time and had hitchhiked 750 miles from Seminole, Florida with a buddy of mine. Got picked up outside of Atlanta by a car full of good ol' boys from Tennessee. Don't remember whether I had tickets or not, in fact I don't remember much of anything except living on Miller beer, mushrooms, and stale pretzels for 3 days. The music was out of this world! ELP, Foghat, Marshall Tucker Band and the Allman Bros were unbelievable.
It was definitely a smaller version of Woodstock and the mood was mellow and party, party, party.
It was one of those defining moments in life that you knew you'd look back on for years to come. Wish I would have had a camera, but I went there with only the clothes on my back and a few bucks in my pocket. Man. those were the days!!

Anonymous said...

I was there. I was about 16 years old and still can't believe my parents let me go. I have been trying for years to find info online so this is really great. It was the best concert of my life. But it was hot, and the bathroom situation was horrendous. I saw many people using the trash cans. There was a line of vendors near the stage with cardboad box signs telling what drugs they had for sale. It was like a little Woodstock. Ther was a lot of nudity, but I think it was mostly due to the heat. There was one dude in a green glitter belt, a gorilla mask [I'm not kidding] and nothing else. He was selling drugs and maybe that was his advertisement. He was the first nude person I saw on my way to get to the stage. That took 2 hours from the stands where we started out. The bands were awesome, especially Emerson Lake and Palmer, Alman Brothers Band. I had forgotten about the visors that Black Oak Arkansas had dropped from the helicopter, so that was a cool memory to recall! I had one, but over the years, I misplaced it, along with my ticket. I didn't get a shirt either, although I've heard some people did. It was really a wild time and I was given some mescaline as soon as I got there. It wasn't strong so I do remember most of what happened, although some things are a bit fuzzy in the early hours. I just remember that the sound was awesome and that I was actually stunned to see so many people. I still wonder why this show didn't get as much publicity as it should have, since it was peaceful, and was as large as it was. Not sure, maybe to dicourage other events like it. We had bought our tickets in advance, but didnt' have to use them since the fences were down when we woke up and went up the hill to go in. [We had driven in from Burlington, NC the night before and slept in the car so we wouldn't have to walk to far.] I never knew it was advertised so far away! That is an eye-opener for me. There were friends I was supposed to meet, but yeah, right... no way you could find anyone, and we didn't have cell phones to call each other. I'm so glad I went. It was something I've never forgotten!

Unknown said...

I was 16 years old. I was between my junior & senior years of high school. I drove a '72 VW Beetle to the Jam with my sister's neighbor's young sister (13-y.o., from Detroit) who rode along with me. WOW! What an event! This was Carolina's Woodstock!

Clemmons, NC

Unknown said...

I was there. I could write a book about the events right before and after that concert.It totally changed who I was. We lived just south of Charlotte in the Indian Land community right off 521.

We bought tickets and got there about dusk on friday. We listened to wroq and used the back gate.

As soon as I walked in the gate this guy with long hair came up to me and said "Man you got to try this it will open your mind" I said "What is it" He said "Shrooms man Shrooms" I said give it here and took 2 big swallows- 2 hours later I was smiling like a cheshire cat.

We had heard it might rain so we set the few old blankets we had bought at the end of the crowd on the track so if we got wet at least we wouldnt get muddy.

They played music through the speakers all night long.

We drank, we smoked, we partook in what was offered and what we brought Friday night and I finally fell out around 4 I guess.

I heard someone say "Wake up' you have to see this."

I sat up opened my eyes, still half out of it from the night before and all I could see was people in every direction.

I glanced over at a tent and saw someone injecting drugs with a syringe and I knew this was going to be unique day.

And it was. We heard about the gate crashers but I never saw one fight or anything violent go on.

We were just kids having a good time listening to some jams and experimenting with a few drugs.

We stayed where we were all day sat except for the nasty potty runs.

I had done some mescaline and had a few hits of orange sunshine just about to take it when over the loud speakers said 'Theres some bad acid going around dont take the orange sunshine.

The rest of sat is pretty much a blur as I def had my buzz on.

I do remember seeing elo black oak ozark mtn daredevils I must of been snoozing when the Allman brothers came on.

We spent the night too blitzed to go anywhere.

My final memory was sunday morning toting that filthy blanket on my way to the potty for one last time and this guy comes up to me dragging a huge tras bag. He said "hey man' buy some of this weed from me. And he opened up the bag and it was full of full baggies of pot. Way more than an ounce in each bag. I said how much man 15 a bag he said.

The Joys of Youth

Anonymous said...

Would love so much to see photos of that concert. I was there. I scaled the wall to the press box building to the roof. There was a roof hatch door. We opened it (broke in). We got chairs to place on the roof. I had a naugahyde reclining lazy boy rocking lounger sitting on a press table on the roof of that building. Yes, it did fit through the hatch. I most certainly had the best, most comfortable seat among 250,000 people. Just by luck and a nimble wall climb. I was high as a kite! The only one higher than me (in altitude) were the guys flying the helicopter.

Anonymous said...

Would love so much to see photos of that concert. I was there. I scaled the wall to the press box building to the roof. There was a roof hatch door. We opened it (broke in). We got chairs to place on the roof. I had a naugahyde reclining lazy boy rocking lounger sitting on a press table on the roof of that building. Yes, it did fit through the hatch. I most certainly had the best, most comfortable seat among 250,000 people. Just by luck and a nimble wall climb. I was high as a kite! The only one higher than me (in altitude) were the guys flying the helicopter.

Anonymous said...

I was there. A friend and I brought some of his dads homemade peach brandy. Drank all of it in about 2 hours. We walked around the track on Friday night and met a couple of other guys playing cards on the 3rd turn. We played for match sticks for most of the night. We made it to the stage one time before the music started, but had to leave to find a bathroom before the concert started. I remember the mud and seeing signs outside the tents advertising drugs for sale. The first thing we saw when we got there was a naked guy crossing the road. I knew it was going to be a memorable weekend.

Mitchell said...

I was there - still have some un-used tickets and the original Charlotte Observer newspaper clipping from the following Sunday Morning! The paper states it was a "disgrace to the state of North Carolina". State tropper shepards were trampled to death - 10,000 people gate crashing at a time. Tons of drugs - you name it on 3x3 homemade signs - LSD - POT - all open air market for anything you want. I remember flying beer bottles, some naked stoner that was wearing a belt - a german shepard that had mauled some poor guys arm and tons of some fantastic rock & roll. To me ELP was the highlight of the entire show!

rocknrolldiehard said...

Me too ..... I was there. Me a brother and a friend drove up from Greenville, SC on Friday night. That is still the biggest concert I've ever been to. I heard it was around 350,000 people there. But I didn't take a camera. I remember seeing people taking pictures of a naked girl who was strutting around smiling for the camera, so someone took pictures!

Anonymous said...

I was there too. We took coolers, sleeping bags, quilts, food, etc. We got there on Thursday, I think I remember and by Saturday, there were no food vendors, etc. We sold bologna sandwiches for $3.00 each. There were no bathrooms available because they were all clogged. My husband was at a urinal and looked over to see a girl hoisted up using the trough beside him. Was it HOT!!!!!! ELP was fantastic..a revolving piano. My parents made us ride back over to the Speedway and look at everything. TRASH, TRASH, TRASH! one of the most memorable things was a guy who cut a hole in the fence came strolling by, pants on his shoulder and nothing else on. We slept when we could, but mostly stayed awake all three days. I was so naive...I had never seen drugs in the open like that. One sad thing- a couple with their toddler who were trying to shoot up and were so wasted that they could not find veins. That baby just stood there and cried.

Anonymous said...

Amazing experience, I heard about this concert driving back from FL to the NE and took the detour after picking up some hitch hikers. I was 18 and had a ford pickup with a small cap on the back loaded with camp stove,bed and food. I got there early and parked around back thinking I was out of the way of the crowds. Partied all night and woke up the next day to see I was surrounded by campers. I remember seeing the NC State troopers trying to make a bust and getting hammered with beer cans and having their cars almost turned over, they left and never returned. I slipped in the fence after a group bribed a guard. I remember sliding down the bank turn on my ass in the rain and swimming in the back pond? You name it, was happening there. Thanks for the blog. good times! would love to see some pics.

Anonymous said...

I have a august jam poster i took off telephone pole in greenville 1974
i was in a band from va. beach called dirty sneakers and we were playing a gig at the attic never knew it was such a large concert
i live in macon, ga. near allman brothers museum thinking about donated to the museum.

billybeasleyblogspot said...

An old friend is in town and we talked about this last night. We went together from Wilmington. Memories are really fuzzy now about that crazy event. As I read comments & someone mentioned sleep and I have no idea where we slept & I am assuming we did at some point.We were inside Friday night and I have no recollection of the gate crashing..We had tickets and the funny thing with all I forgot I can remember the tickets being $12.Does anyone remember the man selling huge naval oranges and he had his own homemade machine for stripping the peeling off. We tried to talk to him about his machine and all he kept saying was 2 for a quarter. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

We was there, Benny, Buddy, and me. Saw most of it, what a party it was.

Steve said...

Wow; Finally something about the August Jam. I was there and I had a really great time. I remember sitting on the track in front of the stage half way back all day long. Ran out of beer and food way too early, but everyone shared. I will never forget ELP with the rotating piano. The Allman Bros. came on last and they sounded like they had been partying all day as well. Still good though. I would love a copy of the poster for my collection. There was another big East Coast show in Rockingham NC speedway too around 1973 caleed the Peach Tree Celebration. Thanks for sharing! Peace

Anonymous said...

I was 15 years old in August of 74. I told my parents I was going camping! My friend Don and I thumbed from Jamestown,NC to Charlotte. We got picked up by a group from New York in a Van and the party started. The next 3 days were a true adventure. Any drug you wanted was for sale. Moonshine, whiskey and beer flowed freely. No fights or any violence that I saw occured. The band line up was unreal. ELP has outstanding Ozark mtn dare devils killed it. I think I slept about 4 hours in 3 days. I lost my sleeping bag and back pack but I didn't need it any way! What a concert!!! Took me 3 days to recover from that one. The stories and memories we have are priceless.


big den said...

I was there and I still have my ticket I was at watkins glen the year before and also power ridge and poconco concert ten woods of Dartmouth SMU and a couple more but this one was one of the best

Anonymous said...

Attended this show just before I turned 19

Anonymous said...

I was there! Drove up from Alabama and arrived at 4 AM. It was everything that people say it was. Bought some Opium and smoked it to the sunrise. Fell asleep in the stands that night about 1 AM to Allman Brothers doing Blue Sky. Left shortly there after and spent the rest of the night on a truck scale somewhere on a Carolina Highway.

NCgirl said...

Thanks for posting this! It's so cool to finally see some video from the concert. I was there. I was only 17, went with my boyfriend and another couple on Friday night and slept in the car until Saturday morning. Gates were crashed, that is true. I will never forget the feeling of walking in and seeing so many people, [and there were many more to come]. It's true that drugs were freely sold inside. There were dealers right at the gate where we walked in calling out "Mr Natural!", and their price, which I don't remember. There were also vendors set up near the stage. My boyfriend was a little overindulged from a purchase, so we stayed put for a while near the infield area. Bathroom trips were 45 minutes one way from where I was sitting. Most people eventually just used the 55 gallon trash drums and got someone to hold a shirt up to cover what they were doing. The music was awesome, the sound system was incredible and it was the best concert I've ever been to. There are some things I don't remember, but I distinctly remember that when we made the trek to the front of the stage, during Black Oak's set, we saw a guy who was naked except for a green glitter belt, and a gorilla mask. I could NOT make that up. It was crazy fun, but there was not enough food, although some sandwiches were brought in by a van. NO police inside. No fights, only people having a really great time, listening to great music. Emerson Lake and Palmer were awesome! The Allman Brothers were the last act but had some problems from their own partying. :-) We didn't stay for their whole set. This is so cool to see a video from the concert. I've been looking for years. Thanks for posting this!

SlowHand said...

I was there. At the time I was in the Marine Corps and had only been back in country a few months. Two Marine buddies and I bought tickets and thumbed up to Charlotte from Camp Geiger, NC. We got there sometime Friday night. I remember we rode on the hoods of cars the last few miles to the race track. No body got angry over it.

My first view of the Charlotte Speedway was seeing the lights blaring down into the track and a cloud of smoke was billowing up. I knew right then that this was going to be a good time.

When we got to the gates we waited in line for a long time. Just as I got to the gate (my buddies were right behind me) some chick behind us yelled, "There is over a thousand of us and only a few of them. Crash the gate"! The guy taking the tickets slammed the gate shut in my face, as the crowd started shoving. I put my feet on the posts on each side of the gate. The pressure of the crowd pushing not only kept me up, but they pushed the posts of the gate flat. I knew once the fence and gate came down I had better be running or get trampled. My buddies and I ran along with the crowd. I remember seeing some dude kicking at a German Shepherd, but kept running up the bank to the top of the stands. There I got a vista view of the largest sea of humanity I had ever seen in my life.

Don't know how long it took us, but we worked our way down to right at the corner of a bank of huge speakers that was on the right hand side of a stage. From there we got to see every band that played.

Three Marines with very short hair in a sea of long hairs, during a period of time when no one liked military personal. But you one gave us a hassle. We got trashed and partied with everyone around us.

After the Allman Brothers closed out the concert, we (my buddies and I) started making our way back to Camp Geiger. We couldn't hardly hear a thing for several days after because of being so close to the speakers. But what a fantastic concert....what a fantastic time....what a super great memory !!!

Anonymous said...

A friend (18yrs old) and I (19yrs old) hitchhiked there from champaign-urbana, illinois and when we arrived early saturday afternoon, the music was already going on the secondary stage that was south of the main stage. The authorities had nothing worse than mean looks to give us. Didn't see a fight or argument during the whole thing. When news that Nixon had resigned got around, the place went nuts!

Thought Marshall Tucker, Foghat, & Ozark Mountain Daredevils were the best acts (in that order) on the smaller stage, and even though their music genre contrasted each other alot, both the ABB and ELP who were the last two acts (and on the main stage) were excellent. Keith Emersons' revolving grand piano was indeed quite the spectacle to behold.

Anonymous said...

I have some pictures on my FB Page.. I spent time on top of one of the bleacher towers.. My BF Tommy Gardner was there from Martinsville VA and I came up from Glencoe GA... the gates were already down by the time I had arrived... the crowd overwhelmed the fences... the rain came and the place turned into a mud pit... I remember seeing a huge Banner with Nixon and Agnew in a Looney Tunes Style Porky Pig ... with "That's All Folks" over it.. How do I send you pictures? Jim Johnson Olympia WA

Unknown said...

You can email any pics to me at edmcdonald at Love to see any you have.

Anonymous said...

I was there. My father let me drive his Olds 98. Jerry and I drove down from Manassas, Virginia. We had just graduated from high school and were about to start at the University of Virginia. We had been to many other concerts (Tull, Eagles, Doobies et al), but all had been indoor. Never been to an outdoor festival like it was. We had stage front in the stands seats. Could not believe the drug sales. And the size of the bass speakers stacked atop each other. Sound was great. ELP and ABB were the most memorable and the drum solos. I'll never forget August Jam.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I found this page! Yes I was there. It was my very first outdoor concert. In fact, it was the first concert I had ever been to. I was 16 and rode up to Charlotte with my brothers friend. My brother was in the US Army.
We got there the day before and pitched our tent behind the tall lights and speaker tower to the left of the stage. I can clearly remember the raccoon tail on BOAs guitar players guitar. OMG I could write a book as someone else said. Tank you for all of this. I'm 56 years old and remember the August Jam like it was yesterday!

Anonymous said...

Cant beleive I found this post on the jam. I was in the marines at lejune and two buddys, one with the wife in tow got there friday afternoon. I was the only one that had a ticket and I stayed out in hopes the gates would come down. We had very little money. Not sure which gate we were at but at the top of the hill was a building with dudes on top and they had the best seats in the house. Anyhow it was saturday morning and the gates still hadnt come down yet. I told my buddy karas that I would present my ticket at the gate andto grab the gate from him. He did, they exchanged punches and the crowd charged the entire section of fenceline first bringing it down and then the next fence . I was at the front line going over and a young girl hit the ground beside me so I grabbed her arm and ran dragging her or she would have been trampled. Half way up the hill we were safe, I stood her up, she said thanks man, and off she went. At the top of the hill a dude was selling overstuffed ozs so we bought one, got ripped off on some windowpane which turned out to be film negative, and settled for some mescalin. I do remember it was an amazing time and you had to be there to beleive it. I also remember sittingon the bleecher concrete steps and all of a sudden my ass was all wet. The bitch sitting above and behind me passed out and pissed herself and it ran down and under my ass. I got up and moved. I also remember some naked dude climbing a tower at the end of the flatbed trailer stage and shaking his dick at everyone so a stagehand came over the speaker and said: will the dude with the very small penis please come down before you kill yourself at which time naked dude started trying to piss on stagehand. I sure wish I could remember one tenth of those 2 days but I was just to drunk at first and 2 stoned the rest of the time. I do still have my ticket.

Unknown said...

Randy Herseth
I just had to comment after the guy posted about being on the announcers roof. I was in the marines, camp Lejune and hitch hiked . I got there the night before and slept on the asphalt by the announcers booth. No.sleeping bag, nothing ( how the hell did I do that) When I woke up in the morning I wondered where am I going to watch this from, started looking around looked at the booth and thought the roof! Within a short time a guy started climbing up the wires on the side of the building. So I followed him up. We let up about 15 people and pulled the wires. Brought the chairs up and relaxed up there.
Remember looking down into the stands below us an saw a guy open an ice chest that was full of baggies of pot we tied a 20 on one of the wires and threw it down to him and he tied the baggie on to it and we pulled it up.
Also watched them smash down the fences and the race up the hill and the police dogs attacking. Also don't remember where we went to the bathroom but it wasn't a problem, probably inside the booth. And 1 guy up here says he remembers it like yesterday. I wish I could say that. Thanks for the comments and memories

Anonymous said...

My brother and me drove down Friday with the idea of meeting my friends there. We slepin my VW van and went out to find my friends. I lost my brother in 5 minutes and it was impossible to find my friends. The music was great and beside the gate crasher I saw no violence. With a crowd that big the intolerable conditions heat and drugs looks like there should had been several fights. With todays kids it would had been a riot. One thing I am very proud of was the governor of the state of NC declaring the August Jam a disgrace to the state of NC

August Jam Facebook Admin said...

If anyone stumbles onto this blog, there is a private Facebook page for the August Jam that I set up in 2015. We have over 300 members now. Join us if you were there!