August Jam, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 1974 (UPDATED August 2015)

AUGUST 2015 UPDATE – I went through the negatives, photographed each with a bellows and micro lens on a digital camera body, pulled the best ones and created a NEW AUGUST JAM GALLERY for your reminiscing pleasure or anthropological research.  

The photos below are scans of actual paper prints I made in the darkroom in 1974; the new gallery uses those same 1974-vintage 35mm negatives converted to digital and enhanced a little in Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop. The new phrase is “hybrid workflow”, which usually starts with a film negative and ends with a digital image ready for printing or online display. Aspiring and seasoned film photographers may want to explore hybrid because it can speed the process of getting work online if that’s its final destination. It allows for creativity impossible under an enlarger, like compositing multiple negatives into one print. I can’t compare the quality of negatives scanned on a consumer-grade flatbed scanner and those photographed with a quality macrography lens (55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor in this case), but I have no desire for a scanner after seeing how quickly and accurately I can digitize negatives this way.

A manual LumoPro LP160 flash fires through its wide-angle diffuser, a sheet of frosted lexan to get the most even light I can, the slide copier’s diffuser, negative, bellows-mounted micro lens and onto the camera’s sensor. The photo below was shot on Eastman 2238 separation film at ASA 12 and processed in Xtol stock for 9 minutes at 68 degrees. The dried negative was photographed at ISO 100 with the flash at 1/16th power and lens at f/16, though I probably need to reshoot this and the concert at a wider aperture to keep down potential diffraction. I kept the histogram hugging the right without clipping the highlights, just like with regular digital photography. The great thing about hybrid is that a photo editing program can be used to make final adjustments.

CamScan2238-3072-6

 

Welcome to those of you who got here by way of either BathroomDarkroom.com, our film photography chronicle-ette (it hasn’t become as expansive as in my original vision), or AugustJam.com, the new URL that points to this post that has become way more popular than its parent site. Maybe you read about the photos in Larry’s Look at the August Jam or watched his commemorative video and started searching. Maybe you just punched in the Jam to see what’s out here.  However you got here, I’m glad you made it and hope you enjoy your stay. People who only want to look at photos of the 1974 concert they remember – or sort of remember – can skip all the text and scroll straight there; those not quite sure will want to read a little further.

By way of quick introduction to myself, this site and the concert that brought us all here, I was a 15-year-old aspiring pro photographer in 1974 and blessed to get backstage with a camera at what NBC’s Larry Sprinkle called “the Carolinas’ version of Woodstock”. Decades later, our 15-year-old daughter asked if I’d teach her film photography.  I put together BathroomDarkroom.com to chronicle a little of what we did. That started me looking through my expando-folder of old prints from my home darkroom in my parents’ house, which turned up quite a few from that bewildering event. The natural thing to do was to write this post for aspiring film photographers and talk about what happens when darkroom technique is below par and prints start to show their age years down the road. That , it turned out, was just the start…

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert foghat band

There aren’t a lot of August Jam photos online so these started coming up in searches by those of us who happened to remember it and wanted to step back forty years in time; sort of like poking around to see what’s become of an old high school or college flame… Ya’ll were kind enough to leave some comments to let me know that I had connected with at least a few of you, which is way more than I expected.

My ego got its biggest boost, though, (frankly – it’s one of the things that keeps photographers photographing) when I got a call from Larry, who told me that it was the Jam’s 40th anniversary, that he was putting together a video segment to commemorate it, and asked to use some of my photos. I happened to be standing on the somewhat remote beach sand of Kill Devil Hills, NC (OBX for you Marylanders) when the phone rang, but through the miracle of Kodak film technology from decades ago, a CrashPlan online backup of the scans for the site, a WiFi hotspot from my phone and the blessing of having our photographer-daughter’s PC with Photoshop back at the beach house, I was able to get high-resolution files to Larry that night.

Larry did even more magic by tracking down 40-year-old video straight from the bands, with Reuben Wallace editing it all down to a great three and a half minute video that you can watch here. The fact that bands were able to deliver digitized 16mm video from so long ago, so quickly, is itself amazing. A big salute to all of you techies for dropping whatever you dropped to get the clips out to Larry. This video is quite a news reel of one little part of the history of North Carolina and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and I’m honored that Larry tracked me down for some of the weekend’s photos. My mid-70’s high school mornings were filled with Larry as the voices of Big Olllllle Funky WAYS (nod to Chuckie Boo Baron) and WROQ radio stations’ maintenance man Hubert “That pigeon’s probably miles from here by now” Gleason, Myers Park aristocrat Parker Myers, Big E(lvis), Brother Bill Taker of the Pass The Loot Club and countless others from as far away as Sic Syk Lee Street and Battlestar Gastonia.  Thanks, too, Mister Murry. Uh, Mister Murphy.  That’s Robert Murphy in the Morning to the rest of us.

Had the concert been today, I’d have taken thousands of digital photos instead of 200-250 film photos. Hard to believe I shot that few rolls, but we amateurs didn’t think in terms of thousands of images back then, and buying twice what I figured I’d need wasn’t in the budget. I’d expose more film than that during a World 600 stock car race at that same track, but I knew what to expect from them. I obviously didn’t realize what kind of history I was walking into that August weekend. Some of the NASCAR Photos might find their way into another article.

We return you now to our regularly scheduled post

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd

This is a great example of what came out of my bathroom darkroom in 1974.  It’s fun pulling out old prints to look at, scan and put online for the two or three of you reading this the way more than two of three good enough to stop by.

This concert was one of my early big-time shoots.  It was concert promoter Stan Kaplan (Kaleidoscope Productions, WAYS and WROQ radio stations), with wife Sis’s money so the story goes, who thought that Charlotte needed to host an outdoor concert after the success of the California Jam in April of that year.  I’ve seen stats from various sources including an August 29 Wilmington (NC) Star News article that say 50,000 people were expected, but the actual was closer to four or five times that.  Dad told me that a lot of the tackled gate crashers on Friday night before the Saturday show actually had tickets!  They tore down a double perimeter of chain link fence, trampled two guard dogs and generally destroyed the infield in preparation for the Saturday show.

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd

My gear was a Yashica TL Electro-X with a few high-dollar (to a 15-year-old) lenses, including the Vivitar 90-230mm f/4.5 T4-mount zoom, a long but soft Pro (Ritz Camera’s house brand, similar to Spiratone and others) 400mm f/6.3 and a 50mm 1.7 (I think) Yashinon that came with the body.  Film was Plus-X for the daytime acts, with ELP, night scenes, Charlotte Police helicopter Snoopy, and the dense crowd shots on Tri-X. No idea what effect the steadily high contaminant level in the air had on film or photographer.  I remember this constant urge for a Snickers, though.  The two were probably unrelated.

I originally scanned these original 5×7 prints from 1974 as B&W, but that didn’t show the aging aspect of their character, so I rescanned them as color.  The print tones are the best indicator I can think of for what must have been a less-than-archival washing practice years ago, or maybe that I was washing in good tasting but mineral rich well water.  These were all stored in the dark.

I’ll narrate the photos later, but here they are for now.  See who you recognize – and clap for the Wolfman…

 august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd

So how did a 15-year-old kid get backstage at a major event like this? It’s all in who you know. Dad worked part-time race security for Dave Suddreth, who ran either infield security or the entirety of security at the track. Mr. Suddreth asked him to work the concert for what I believe was $10.00 an hour. I heard another security guy ask my dad what time it was. Dad looked at his watch and said, “$35.00”. What does a loving dad with a camera-junkie son do when he has a chance to make pretty good moonlighting money for 1974 checking credentials at a gate at a rock concert that he has less than no interest hearing – or smelling? He does it, of course, and makes sure that the stage gate guards know that his kid is there and asks them to please let him come and go.

I was in heaven. Bulk-loaded film in the bag, a cooler full of sandwiches in Dad’s car that I had no idea would be so hard to get to, and the run of the fenced-off area backstage (the track’s pit and garage areas) and from the stage out to the mixing tower. I would later own 8-track tapes from some of these bands, but I didn’t have a car yet so no need. The Eagles stiffed the concert and no-showed. Better than listening to the bands for me, though, was photographing them.

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd wolfman jack august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd wolfman jack

Check out this link to a video of Black Oak Arkansas’ rendition of Dixie from the August Jam that just happens to be the one during which I made the next five images. Watching that for the first time was like stepping through the Time Tunnel back to ’74. I thought I might even see myself in the mixing tower aisle, but alas… I wasn’t exactly what the videographers were looking for. I did, however, see the exact moment I made the image of Jim Dandy raising the flag!  Look at 3:22 into the video; mic in his left hand, flag in his right and the flag, just for a second, blowing over his left shoulder. I didn’t see that the first few times through the tape. I was showing the video to Addison when I connected the dots. She got to see exactly where Dad was and what he was doing almost 40 years ago, verified with a doubleweight mat print in hand and video on the screen. How often do those family moments come along? It would have been more daughter-safe had it been a Broadway musical, but to borrow a phrase from Forrest Gump’s mom, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie

There happened to be two prints of this same frame of Jim Dandy in the accordion file, one yellowed and one nearly mint. Same well-water and probably the same printing session. Wash time and/or prints sticking together in the wash tray are all I can attribute the difference to because the yellowing includes borders. Hypo-clear (which I never did in the day) and watch your wash time!

august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera r series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie vivitaaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie danny aldridge drummer tri-x film photography yashica tl electro-xs vivitar series I zoomaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd black oak arkansas jim dandy rebel flag dixie danny aldridge drummer tri-x film photography yashica tl electro-xs vivitar series I zoom washboardaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band keith emerson greg lake carl palmer elp moog synthesizer drummer guitar guitarist bass paiste cymbal gong august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band keith emerson greg lake carl palmer elp moog synthesizer drummer guitar guitarist bass paiste cymbal gong august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band keith emerson greg lake carl palmer elp moog synthesizer drummer guitar guitarist bass paiste cymbal gongaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom rolling stage backstage roadie train track august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd fan audienceaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band mtb marshall tucker toy tommy caldwell gibson les paul guitar bass leadaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band mtb marshall tucker toy tommy caldwell gibson les paul guitar bass lead august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band overdose heat dehydration medical attention emergency drug august jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band overdose heat dehydration medical attention emergency drugaugust jam charlotte motor speedway 1974 rock concert kodak tri-x film photography darkroom print yashica tl electro-x camera vivitar series 1 i zoom crowd band overdose heat dehydration medical attention emergency drug

That’s all the rambling for now. Leave a comment if you were there or think that you might have been. Support the bands and buy some of their music!

Alan


Comments

August Jam, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 1974 (UPDATED August 2015) — 156 Comments

  1. I drove up from Montgomery, Al in an old Rambler. Along the way I picked up a few hitchhikers. When we arrived, we parted ways. Thousands were milling around as I headed to the speedway entrance to began my solo concert experience. Initially, I picked a spot on the infield and soon met some new friends. A few moments later as the music of Led Zeppelin played through the huge sound system I watched the clouds dance across the sky.
    After the rain and as night was falling,I moved to the stands. Possibly, the longest night of my life. Needless to say the day of the concert was an unforgettable event as far as I remember.
    Thanks for putting this site together. I was hoping there would be an album 🙂 I am glad there were no cellphones back in those days. Peace

  2. I was 22 yrs old when we went to the best weekend of my life that i cannot remember! My husband & I are from cherryville nc. We went with a group of old and new friends from Birmingham. They rented a box truck and away we went. We got there early sat morning We were going to meet friends from cville at the start-finish line…..never found it or them..I saw more things that weekend..alot of drugs..alot of naked people..people would trade foods and drink for pot. saw guys with briefcases full of drugs…remember the large beach balls that were floating around…We were so far back that we couldn’t see the bands…didn’t matter…had the time of my life..a time i would not trade for anything…no one was mean…just peace & love everywhere…thanks for bringing back LOL memories

  3. What a great walk down memory lane. I had just turned 18 and went with a group of guys from Wilson N.C. We got there Friday night and we felt like we were miles away from the stage until we woke up Saturday morning and it looked like millions of people were behind us. The greatest quote of the weekend was when the Allman Brothers came on to close the show just after ELP had blown the fans away, Gregg goes ” how bout the Marshall Tucker Band , let’s hear it for the Tucker Band”. I guess the good ole boys were sticking together. I still find that a little strange and I’ve seen the Brothers at least twenty times since then. I love them! But found that comment strange.

  4. My Nephew & I were 17 Yr-Olds along two 16-Yr Olds – the 4 of us rode all Night in a borrowed Corolla to arrive in time to see Hell’s Angels briefly push the chain link fence (at Entrance) down. It was the craziest wildest weekend I ever participated with in my Life. I was a workaholic and got married that December,.. so I never attended but 7-Concerts in my Life,.. But that event was awesome. From the Expressway to the Raceway (few miles) road signs read No Parking- All vehicles will be towed,.. BUT cars were bumper to bumper parked in both sides. Private Security weren’t ‘in-control’,.. but they kept the Law out at the road. It was incredibly HOT (sweaty) after a rain shower Sat Afternoon – as we stumble walked our way in front of the Stage & Monstrous huge Speaker Sound system (bands were on break) we stopped to get stoned there w/buncha half-naked sweaty strangers – when suddenly those monster speakers almost blew our eardrums with Ozark Mtn Daredevil’s “If You Want To Get To Heaven”.
    I am 61 now father of 4 / retired engineer. That was the craziest wildest w/e of my life.

  5. Just turn 62 took my first hit of weed since back in the 70’s. Wow What a buzz ,I was there at Charlotte I was up on the on the owning the roof around the race track until the announcer came on.and said if you don’t get off they would have to cancel the concert talk about a barrage of objects that could hurt you. But What a great time never will Forget it.!!!!
    John

    • I just turned 63, and I remember this amazing concert like it was 10 years ago. Went with a boyfriend from college, and we had fabulous bleacher seats; lots of weed, lots of water, and he indulged in lots of OTHER enhancements with friends. It was so hot, but we were so into the music, it didn’t matter. We had driven a small caravan from Wise, VA, beers on the way there, ready to jam with the best Southern Jammers at the time; too bad the Eagles didn’t show. Most memorable moment was being lulled to sleep by Allman Brothers at the end of the night….simply mesmerizing & I will NEVER forget it. The overdosed girl in your photo collection was close by where we could see addicts streaming one-by one into a tent, waiting for a hit of heroin; some were so out of it (like this girl), they attempted to climb over the barbed wire fence; not a good idea, hence the injuries…that part was very sad to observe, and I’m grateful to have had seats in the bleachers.

  6. walked in the gate with my wife (of the time) and three best friends … my very best friend went with my wife and me to stake out a place to spread a quilt on the ground and there we stayed until some time the next morning … except that I wanted to see the organ lifted up and spun when Emerson Lake and Palmer came on, so I went down in front of the stage and climbed a speaker tower until I found a flat space, a little later someone else came up and sat on the other side of the space but it was so dark we couldn’t see each other, until the lights came up after the performance so the roadies could see to change the stage equipment … and we both laughed uncontrollably and almost fell off the tower because it was my buddy Joe Rackley who I’d walked in the gate with … out of 200,000 or more people … whoda thunk ! what a great time, fun memories

  7. Mr. Cole could I possibly purchase some copies of the photos from August Jam I was with the grinderswitch band

  8. I was just shy of 21 years old. I lived in Winston Salem NC (75 miles away). My father had just bought a brand new 9 passenger Oldsmobile station wagon. My friends and I had scored tickets. I begged & pleaded & pleaded some more with my dad to please let us take his brand new car to the concert. He finally agreed with one condition–not one single scratch on his brand new vehicle. We loaded up a wheelbarrow (to haul the beer,ice chests & camping supplies).Thank GOD for the wheelbarrow! We all took turns carrying the large tent, sleeping bags, back packs and made long walking trip from where we had to park the car to the speedway. I will never forget that event. So many people were amazed that we had a wheelbarrow to help haul our stuff! There was NO WHERE to go to the bathroom–so we saved our empty beer cans–and yep–peed in them. A lot of naked people, a lot of drugs, a lot of wonderful music–I remember the “piano” thing with E,L& Palmer, I will always remember August Jame–and my souvenir tee shirt finally rotted away…

  9. I was just shy of 21 years old. I lived in Winston Salem NC (75 miles away). My father has just bought a brand new 9 passenger Oldsmobile station wagon. My friends and I had scored tickets. I begged & pleaded & pleaded some more with my dad to please let us take his brand new car to the concert. He finally agreed with one condition–not one single scratch on his brand new vehicle. We loaded up a wheelbarrow (to haul the beer,ice chests & camping supplies).Thank GOD for the wheelbarrow! We all took turns carrying the large tent, sleeping bags, back packs and made long walking trip from where we had to park the car to the speedway. I will never forget that event. So many people were amazed that we had a wheelbarrow to help haul our stuff! There was NO WHERE to go to the bathroom–so we saved our empty beer cans–and yep–peed in them. I remember the “piano” thing with E,L& Palmer–and my souvenir tee shirt finally rotted away…

  10. Traveled with 5 friends to the concert on Friday afternoon from Fort Bragg. The driver was speeding through a small town, gets arrested and we had to travel about an hour back to the base to get money to bail him out. We arrived at the Speedway about ten or eleven and we found a spot in the grandstands to get some sleep. I think I succeeded somewhat. I became a big Foghat fan at this concert, always liked Black Oak and was blown away in the early evening with ELP and the spinning piano, drum solo and Lucky Man. I had to ask my buddy next to me if he also saw Keith in the air with his piano. I recall the concert becoming a little mellow when the Allman Bros. played at the end or maybe that was just me. ELP had taken away from me whatever energy I had left. This was a very long day and all I had to eat was a pretzel some “vendor” was selling out of a trash bag. I had a great time and I talk about it from time to time. I didn’t go to Woodstock with my friends but this show seems to have made up for it. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  11. I remember two naked guys climbing the big wooden towers by the racetrack! We were all cheering for them. And that the lines for the bathrooms were sooo long, that by the time I got there and went, I needed to go again five minutes after. I woke up around three in the morning, laying on my side on the concrete bleachers. A guy I didn’t know had sat down in front of me, and I was sort of wrapped around him! He said I looked cold, and he thought he’d warm me up! I wanted to go so I could see Black Oak Arkansas-I’d have gone anywhere to hear Jim Dandy’s voice! ELO did that piano thing-it went up in the air and did a slow flip-I saw them in Knoxville about a week later, and they did that again. I was 17. I went with three guy friends of mine-I was the only girl. We’re all still in touch, and still kicking! This post is all stream of consciousness, so if it’s a little random and disjointed, that’s why. It’s great remembering-I’ve thought about it over the years.

    • My sister and my best friend and I went in an old ford van, and luckily carried two coolers. One was full of beer and the other sodas and food. It was hell carrying those things so far through the crowd until we could find a spot to sit them down. Luckily there were some bikers that we had to pass through that didn’t mind relieving us of some beer for passage, lightening the load. We still had plenty and it served us well as two days passed by and midway through the first day the vendors had nothing left to sell. We had people paying us with pot, acid and money for a beer or food. Even woke up at night with a guy trying to steal out of a cooler. I just let him have it, he looked really desperate. The music that I remember most was when I worked my way in front of the stage, pretty close. I saw the dambdest thing. When a band would finish and the stages were being moved a multitude of people would move away from the stage. As the crowd thinned I saw two people fall to the ground. I figured the crowd was so tight that nobody knew they had either passed out from the heat or drugs or both and and were being held in place. I remember ELP that night with a hell of a show. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember them rolling around on stage in something that looked kind of like a mix between a tank and an armadillo. Also one of them had a bazooka style thing was shooting colored fireballs over the crowd. Not to mention the flying piano. Wow. That was either real or I was really tripping. When we arrived at the speedway the fences were flat on the ground and we never had to use the tickets we’d bought. Found out later what had happened. With porta potties being so crowded all the time it got to the point that you found a spot where you didn’t pee on anyone and let it go. It didn’t seem to bother anyone. I saw plenty of sunbathers completely nude. At the tender age of twenty that didn’t bother me either. Does anyone remember the drug vendors with the baggies tied on their belts yelling out the names of there wares? Absolutely no police anywhere inside the track. Kind of felt free huh? When I tell these stories to some of my younger friends I sometimes get the feeling they’re thinking I’m just an old fool and don’t know the difference between the truth and delusion. What they don’t realize is they missed the chance to experience what it was like to be part of a historical outdoor concert of this magnitude. You know, as big as it was it still felt like everybody that went was connected in a way. I could go on forever, that’s the way my memory is now. I can remember almost everything in detail from way back then, but couldn’t tell you what I wrote here tomorrow. Rock on brethren.

  12. Had a flashback, and remembered, i’m guessing this ’74 concert, i thought was ’76, BOA had helicopters (3) flying overhead dropping paper sunvisors promoting there “get high on the hog” album, can anyone confirm

    • Yes they did have helicopters over the crowd and dropped paper visors over the crowd. I still have mine. And a tee shirt with two pigs having sex on back with the phrase “Makin Bacon “, My mother hated it!!!!! I will never forget it. The absolute best! I’m glad I was a part of it!!!! Live on seventies!!! The best years of my life!

    • Timing would be right, High on the Hog came out in September, 1973. I was in the infield the whole concert, and while my recollections are spotty and a bit confused, I don’t remember the helicopters, unfortunately. I’m in a Facebook group for August Jam, I will ask if anyone has this recollection.

  13. I’m a Charlotte native and still here . My sister worked for Big Ways and always got me tix to everything I was 17 . what a crazy couple of days. some of our south side buddies helped build the stage so they were on the front edge in a tent with jolly roger flag and good ol dixie flying . Myself and Jeff Morris
    carried a cooler about 2 miles and found our buds. nothing in the cooler but 2 cases of beer and 2 stewart sandwiches from a gas station on I-85 . the rest is a blur . slept for 18-20 hours after getting home 2 days later . my mom thought I was a goner. thx for keeping this memory alive Joe M.

  14. Can anyone confirm seeing Roxy Music? IIRC they played during the day and wore costumes that looked something like a space suit, at least one band member’s instrument cord plugged into their ‘tool belt’.

  15. Hi All. Alan here.

    I can’t thank ya’ll enough for taking time to add your memories to this 15-year-old’s photos to help bring that weekend back to life! And thanks to Larry Sprinkle for whatever his 40-year look-back might have done to inspire some of you to come looking! I figured that maybe a few people would see this, but we hit a hundred comments and kept going; not viral by any means, but viral to our crowd means you need to take antibiotics for it.

    Analyze it a different way, though. With around 325,000,000 people in the United States, and if there were only 200,000 of us at the Jam, then a reasonable person could argue that our 127 comments carry about the same weight as 165,000 comments from the general population about something that happened in today’s music industry. Multiply that by your own factor to account for the music industry’s general decline since 1974, and bang – WE’RE VIRAL! And just like in the mainstream media, if I say it, it must be true.

    This was my first time opening any of my online work up to comments because I usually don’t care what people think, and even though I haven’t had any from people jazzed about taking photos on film, I’m as happy as I can be that so many of the select 200-250,000 of us – 40 years later – have a chance to hang out together.

    Gregory – I probably saw you running the stage because I was back there from Friday afternoon on, hoping I wouldn’t get thrown out because my only credential was Dad, who was infield FUZZ, asking the backstage-gate FUZZ if he would let his kid in to take pictures. I wanted to remain invisible backstage, so the few times I went out of the stage gate back into the infield were a trip or two to get something to eat from the cooler in Dad’s car, to walk down to Turns 1 & 2 Friday afternoon to see the confrontation brewing, and to walk to the top of the Turn 4 family grandstand to shoot a little backstage action and poorly photograph Friday night’s fence demolition in Turns 1 & 2. Then I had to wait on Dad to get me backstage again.

    Thanks for your story. I was amazed by the magnitude of that rolling flatcar stage, especially with ELP’s rigging, how you unloaded and reset to get the next band ready while the current band played, and how you guys got it all to even budge. Thanks for helping bring us the weekend – and then bringing your part back 40 years later.

    I pray that God blesses each of us, our wives, husbands, children and grandchildren (wait – we’re that old???) with much health, love, peace and happiness in 2018 and beyond.

    Alan

    • Hi, Alan. Thanks so much for this great website, and the great photos of the August Jam. I was there with my brother Joe (age 15) and my brother David (age 12). I had just turned 18 years old. Alan, I saw a post from you on the Facebook Group 1974 August Jam Charlotte, North Carolina dated year 2015. The members of that Group (500+) would love to hear from you! God bless you and yours, Alan.

    • Alan? I REMEMBER YOU! I had to keep telling the, “security” that you were, “OK”.
      (If you recall the karate team “security” and when Charlotte PD leaving us a couple boxes of wooden billy clubs to defend the stage fence, then they split the backstage area?)

      I remember so many miliseconds of that big. I am surprised we made it through the weekend after the fences were breached! Get in touch! 432-295-1363

      • Gregory – Thanks for covering for me! Turns out you helped make these photos possible years later.

        Wow – I remember the billy clubs; short, skinny little things. And the FUZZ shirts Dad and the rest of y’all wore. Were the karate guys escorting the Foghat members part of show security or did the band bring their own? At least CPD was keeping watch from their helicopter Snoopy, but probably – wisely – figured that the last thing a bunch of fired-up teenagers wanted to see were uniforms.

        I’ll give you a call. Thanks for writing.

  16. I was the stage manager for this Jam. I arrived in Charlotte Motor Speedway a day or two ahead of the event and found a production trailer at the front gate. At the raw age of 19 I drove down from Saint Joe, Michigan with my 1955 dodge pickup packes with lighting equipment, pyrotechnics and 8-track tapes.

    I was doing a lot of lighting and pyro shows at Shadowland Ballroom in St Joseph, MI and worked the Free Concerts with the famous Ice Cream Crazies from The Sound Factory,in Kalamazoo, MI.

    Anyway, being an attempt at a gig like this was so new to,me, I figured all I had to do was walk into the trailer and ask to see who was in charge?

    THAT’S IT! It was THAT easy!
    The secretary pointed to an office off to me left and said, “Well, Number Two is in there!”

    For the life of me, I cannot remember his name. He asked we what he could do for me and I told him I was there to work. He asked me what I could do and I told him, “I will sweep the racetrack all the way up to running the show for him.”

    That’s when he sent me to the backstage area to look for a man named, “Wilson Harold”, the Number One!

    I recall parking my,pickup in a secure area behind the backstage fence and met an older man in coveralls on top of the first stage of the 3 rolling stages that we had.

    I told him, “Number Two sent me” and he asked me what I can do. I told him, “Anything you need”. He had me, my vehicle plastered with every backstage pass there was and made me the stage manager.

    As stagehands and gear started showing up I had everyone start to load all of the various band’s gear into the stages in sequence. I remember getting a message that The Eagles had cancelled and there was a shipment of flags that came in for them. The only thing I could think of to do at the time was tell them to, “return them to sender.” And guys, (The Eagles) I know that it’s a little late and I know you probably needed to have those flags forwarded someplace else, but, under the circumstances I didn’t have a clue what else to do?

    Anyway the memories are massive! I remember the crew loading Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s gear and I recall looking for,one of the Mini Moogs that was supposed,to be next in line to set-up and out of the corner of my eye I seen a Mini Moog case go flying off the back stage into the ground below. Ah, another apology to ELP and I hope that stage band’s ass chewing cooled off by now?

    As the sound company was doing a test on the PA system I recall talking to the sound engineer, asking him if he had any music to play over the PA system to ease the anxiety that was building in the infield because the concert-goers were flooding in and it was getting slightly muggy with all the body heat, meaning cranky people that need music! The engineer didn’t have anything to play music through so I stripped my 8 track out of my pickup, grabbed my milk crate of 8 tracks and a battery charger and wire it into the PA.

    The engineer told me to make a selection and I crammed, “The WHO, Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy” into the gear and we cranked it up!

    I remember the stagehands were rolling a stage over,me while I crashed underneath because I was up working for so long.

    After I recovered I remember seeing the far outfield fences getting overrun, the fail fencing where police and K-9 units were retreating and the police came along and,left all is stagehands with wooden Billy Clubs to fend for ourselves!

    One of the fondest moments was hearing my name called out from the audience side of the fence, only to find a highschook friend from Michigan that spotted me there. Now, Jim Schulte, (sp?) just WHAT are the odds?

    All in all, if I were,to die tomarrow, after all the,concert tours I have done since then, all the stars that I drove buses for… The August 10 JAM will ALWAYS be my,little piece of memory that I will treasure most!

  17. So great to find your site! It was only a couple of years ago that it occurred to me to search online for photos of August Jam. I was there….and have the t-shirt to prove it! I was 17 and had never seen anything like that in my life! I don’t even think I realized the magnitude of it while I was there…but now looking at some of these aerial photos, I think, “Damn! I was down there in all of that?” I saw another comment about a photo book and I agree that would be a super idea.
    I was on a music cruise a few years ago and Greg Lake was one of the performers. He held a Q&A session one day and i told him about seeing them at August Jam and my memory of Keith Emerson playing the piano as it went up in the air and spun around. He went into some detail talking about how all of that worked.

  18. I was at this event! It was a mini Woodstock, I remember the toilets being backed up and local stores were wiped out of merchandise. It was crazy, wild and fun. The music venues were phenominal and it rained just as it did at Woodstock! It was a great time..peace love & rock & roll

  19. Please compile a book and or sell copies of these images. I was there. My uncle owned Reflections Sound Studio in Charlotte, NC and scored me four free tickets. I was 15 years old. Many great groups came through my uncle’s studio. I was blessed to host Robert Plant, with my cousin in my uncle’s absence, in 1988. Wish Plant could have been at the August Jam, but was blessed to see all the great bands that were there. ELP, Allman Bros, Marshall Tucker Band, Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy and that flag), were among many of the greats who played. Would love to have a photo album book of this event for posterity. Thanks for taking the time to share your images on this blog.

    • Hi Renee, and thanks for the book idea. I’ve looked around and a lot of the self-publishing options I’ve seen are pretty pricey. Maybe someone will suggest one that they’ve used that will let me keep the cost under control. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Wow, I was just telling a friend about this exact event, WOW! I was not there, my Aunt was though. I had just barley been born in July. A lot of shit happened in my Aunts, ad’s her first cousins lives that particular summer. They flew to Cali,literally were attacked by some dudes pet monkey just after their arrival, the monkey died, lol, ad’s they immediately drove back in a station wagon my Aunt had inherited, (cross~ country, Cali to North east Georgia) Next thing, I think the story goes,there were a couple fifths of whiskey, the event of “me”,then ,off to August Jam over in South Carolina. Can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure one or both of them had to hitch hike back home from the Jam. My Aunt has some 8mm footage of the concert, if I’m not mistaken. Just WOW. . .this is awesome to find these. She’s going to love the pics!

  21. Great pictures. They bring back lots of memories. I was 16 and we drove up from Savannah, GA. Wildest event I have ever been a part of. Loved every minute of sleeping on concrete bleachers, very little food, drugs, sex and great music!

  22. Drove down from Dayton Ohio in my self-made conversion van with 6 friends. Had a great time. We sold ham and cheese sandwiches and made enough to pay for our tickets and expenses. Lol. Big demand for food there. Loved all the bands there and would love to do it again.

  23. Was 17 and went over and had one hell of time great music women and drugs hitchhikeback home to Bristol Tenn Sunday night with one dollar bill to my name loved every minute of it……

  24. I worked on-stage at the California Jam in 1974 with many of the same acts (ELP, Black Oak, Eagles) and the 3 stages on rolling railroad tracks. Great memories of times long ago that now seem gone forever.

  25. I stumbled across your site after tracking down a bootleg cd of the ELP portion of the show. Thanks for putting your pictures and memories out there for the surviving members of the 200,000+ crowd to enjoy. Great memories of loading up my mother’s 71 Plymouth Duster with provisions for the drive down from Canton, Ohio with a couple of friends in the back seat and my older brother at the wheel. After seeing the concert advertised in Rolling Stone, we bought our tickets and waited for the day to arrive. We taped the red banner headline (NIXON RESIGNS) from the morning paper to the back window of the Duster and headed south. Plenty of honking horns and peace signs flashed at us on the drive.
    We got there in plenty of time but still had to sit high up in the grandstands. A little bummed when we heard that the Eagles wouldn’t be there but still plenty of great music to enjoy. I have great memories of all the friendly people sharing their pot and other substances. We slept on the ground next to our car until we were in good enough shape to head home. We grabbed a copy of the Charlotte Observer(that I still have) with some great crowd pictures on the front page.
    Hard to believe it was that long ago. Your site brought back a lot of fun memories. Many thanks!

  26. Happy New Year, All!

    Thanks to each of you for stopping by the site to relive a bit of your early history. I never expected many people to leave many comments, but we’re over a hundred now. Not exactly viral by today’s use, but that word means what it really means to those of us seasoned enough to remember – or sort of remember – that weekend in ’74.

    This started out as a single post in the blog I started about my and my daughters’ film photography exploits. This one post, though, represents 100% of the comments the entire blog has received.

    Thanks again for taking time to share your memories of this historic – by any definition – weekend. Have a healthy, prosperous, blessed 2017.

    Alan

    • I was there….lived accross the street and still do. It was awesome and would do it again. In market for a original concert poster. Your pic brought back memories…tks

    • Was 18 at the time and had a weekend of music and high times. Remember the availability of what you desired being posted on a piece of paper-cardboard are even shouted out. Music was great for the time and place. Helacopters flying in and out bringing bands in and taking them out. Not many food vendors but their was alot of Boonesfarm AnnieGreensprings wine available. Their was alot of young people thought they were enjoying it but really don’t know. Remember the fence being pushed down and a security guy with a German Shepard just turned around like what the hell can we do. The crowd just past them bye. Slept on concrete in the stands. Took a few days to get over and a 4hr ride to go 70 miles heading home. Would love to get a T shirt if anyone knows where…

    • Two of us were driving back to Pennsylvania from New Orleans and Pensacola when we heard about this big concert in Charlotte. We stopped by Charlotte on August 9. Traffic was so bad we couldn’t leave the raceway if we wanted. The next 30 hours were incredible, culminating with an all night show by the Allman Brothers. Unbelievable experience for a 17 year/old at that time.