Fact Friday 210 - August Jam, 1974

Fact Friday 210 - August Jam, 1974

Happy Friday!


August Jam, the largest concert in North Carolina history, took place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on August 10, 1974. As I write this, its the 45th Anniversary! It is said that this concert was the end of an era for its kind, preceeded by the California Jam in April 1974 and the Ozark Music Festival at Sedalia, Missouri in July 1974. Headlining acts included the Allman Brothers Band, Foghat, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Black Oak Arkansas. WAYS radio station and other local sponsors, expected 70,000 concertgoers but widespread gatecrashing raised audience totals to over 200,000 (some reporting as high as 300,000), accidentally making it the largest concert in state history and at the time, the largest concert (not festival) in U.S. history. By comparison, August Jam drew half the crowd of Woodstock in 1969. 

Photograph courtesy of Bryant McMurray. 

Photograph courtesy of Bryant McMurray. 


The concert promoter was Kaleidoscope Productions and it was sponsored by radio stations WAYS and WROQ. The concert also featured Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, PFM, Grinderswitch, and others. The Eagles were booked to play but cancelled. 

There was a limited number of tickets sold prior to the concert, and when many thousands of additional fans showed up on the day of the performances, those thousands proceeded to crash the fences and rush to the infield. Many of the facilities were overwhelmed due to the crowds, and the weather did not cooperate either, producing a sporadic rain that drenched the concert goers, and turned the infield into a muddy quagmire. However, the music went on as scheduled.

Many of you may be familiar with headliner Black Oak Arkansas. Others may be familiar with their work but not have known it, as one of their hits, "Hey Y'all" was the inspiration for "Hey Ya!" by Andre 3000. 

What makes this even more interesting is this photo (below) of lead singer, James Mangrum, waving a large Confederate battle flag at the concert. In fact, according to the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, "in an age when southern white men felt they were losing their unique privileges, Black Oak's use of Confederate symbolism and the touting of their violent history and behavior also made the group extremely popular with the "good ol' boy" element." Interesting indeed. 

For more photos of the event and personal accounts, click here, here, and here


Until next week!


Email me at chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

Information taken from:

UNCC Special Collections on Instagram

ConcertsFansdom.com - "August 10 1974, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte NC"

"Happy Anniversary! 300,000 Rock and Rollers at August Jam Charlotte 1974," by Fred Griffin, August 10, 2016 - Active Rain

JSTOR - Hot 'N' Nasty: Black Oak Arkansas and Its Effect on Rural Southern Culture, The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 2, Summer 1995

“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass

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