Sixty Years Ago, the Beatles' Jacksonville Concert
Almost sixty years ago as Beatlemania rolled across America, Florida had been ravaged by Hurricane Dora leaving many residents without electricity in the storm”s wake.
Little did we know that along with the storm there was even more trouble brewing here for the Fab Four.
This was the American South and segregation was still in bloom with segregated seating, restrooms and water fountains.
The Beatles had a rider included in their contract that explicitly cited the band’s refusal to perform in a segregated facility. John Lennon said “we never played to segregated audiences”, and “I’d sooner lose our appearance money”.
Lennon’s warning that they would not play made the promoters relent since the 32,000 seat stadium was sold out.
The group was due to fly into Jacksonville on September 9th but was diverted to Key West when hurricane Dora struck. The morning of September 11th , The Beatles flew to Jacksonville and we’re taken to the George Washington hotel accompanied by a police motorcade for a press conference.
Tickets were priced $4 to $5 but 9,000 of the 32,000 seats were unable to get to the venue due to the debris scattered across town.
There were 140 police officers on duty with 84 firefighters acting as ushers to prevent fans from storming the stage.
Now at the venue The Beatles refused to take the stage until all newsreel and television cameras had left. The Beatles knew that unauthorized footage would be syndicated in theaters and on television with no royalties paid to them. Once officers removed the eight camera men from the performance area the concert was ready to begin.
As a young teen I was sitting on a folding chair in the first row but you have got to realize there were no video boards, the PA system was the same one used to announce the football games and the screaming fans overpowered the Vox amps and the Ludwig Drums that night.
So with the winds howling above 45 mph and Ringo’s drum set nailed to the platform about 10 ft off the ground, The Beatles performed a 12 song set which included: “Twist and Shout”, “You Can’t Do That”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “If I Fell”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Boys” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Long Tall Sally”.
After the 30-minute set they told the audience that the Beatles were taking a break, By the time the fans realized that the concert was over the group was already on their way to catch a flight to Boston.
The rest is history along Route 1.
David Garland FL Jacksonville Jan 29, 2024 Events Music Weather Events
Location: Jacksonville, FL
David Garland Jan 29, 2024
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