Jubilee at UNC!

From 1963 to 1971, the end of the spring semester at UNC was marked by Jubilee.  The concert progressed from a relatively small affair on the lawn in front of Graham Memorial to much larger events that took place on Polk Place, Fetzer Field, Kenan Stadium, and Navy Field.

In 1963, the Four Preps, the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Iain Hamilton performed at the first Jubilee.  The Four Preps was the main concert on Friday evening and about 5,000 people attended.  The Saturday and Sunday afternoon concerts were each attended by about 2,500 people.

1963 Jubilee program

1963 Jubilee program from the Records of the Student Union

Photograph of the 1963 Jubilee

Photograph of the 1963 Jubilee from the Records of the Student Union

Since then, a variety of musicians and musical groups, and even one comedian has performed at Jubilee, including Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, The Serendipity Singers, The Sinfonians, The Platters, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Temptations, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, B.B. King, and Joe Cocker.  The comedian was Fred Smoot.

In 1966, the first two nights of Jubilee took place in Carmichael Auditorium because of the weather and then in Polk Place on Sunday afternoon.

The Bitter End Singers performed on Friday night in front of 5,500 people.  On Saturday, David, della Rosa, and Brooks, Jay and the Americans, and Al Hirt performed for 7,200 people.  And on Sunday afternoon Charlie Byrd performed on stage in Polk Place in front of South Building.

1966 Jubilee program

1966 Jubilee program from the Records of the Student Union

1969 Program

1969 Jubilee program from the Records of the Student Union

Forty years ago on April 30 – May 2, 1971 the last Jubilee concert was held.  And by then the concert had changed a lot from its early years.  There were more performers and the crowds were much larger.  The performers included Chuck Berry, Spirit, Cowboy, Muddy Waters, the J. Geils Band, the Allman Brothers, and Tom Rush, among several others.

The attendance was 17,500 on Friday night, 23,000 for Saturday night, and 9,000 for Sunday afternoon.

Ticket from the 1971 Jubilee

Ticket from the 1971 Jubilee from the Records of the Student Union

A week after the 1971 concert was held, the Student Union Activities Group recommended that Jubilee “be discontinued and that the money be used to increase programming throughout the entire year.”  Jubilee had just grown too big and had been marred by complaints about noise, trash, and the large crowds for several years.  The 1971 concert with its huge and unruly crowd was the last straw.  Concert goers tore down fences and a security guard hired for the event was severely injured trying to stop people from flowing through the holes.

Daily Tar Heel photograph of the 1971 Jubilee

Photograph of the security guard being tackled by concert goers rushing through the holes cut in the fence. Published in the May 5, 1971 edition of the Daily Tar Heel.

Fortunately, the history of Jubilee at UNC is preserved in the University Archives.  From programs, memos between University officials, correspondence, contracts with performers, scrapbooks, fliers, posters, photographs, and pins, you can trace the evolution of Jubilee from a small affair in front of Graham Memorial Union to the large crowd at Navy Field.

Of special note is the film of the 1971 Jubilee created by Jim Bramlett, Rick Gibbs, and Charlie Huntley, as well as H. B. Hough, Bill Hatch, Rod Waldorf, Peter Chaikin, Jim Eldridge, and Tom Eshelman.  This film is part of the Records of the Student Union and a DVD is available for viewing in the reading rooms of Wilson Library.  A short clip from the beginning of the film is available here:

In addition to the University Archives, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives has the collection of Jock Lauterer, who took numerous photographs of the 1966 Jubilee.  Some of these photographs have been digitized and are linked to the finding aid for this collection, available online at:   http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/pcoll/inv/P0069/P0069.html.


[Correction: A previous version of this post misstated the dates of the 1971 Jubilee as May 1-3. The dates of the event have been corrected above.]

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14 Responses to Jubilee at UNC!

  1. Dave Beck says:

    You must get this content digitized. I’m 3000 miles away and would really like to do some research on the period I was an undergraduate, 1964-1969, but if it’s not available as digital images it’s not available to me.

  2. Ben Newlin says:

    The second photo shows UNC’s folk group, The Migrants, performing at the first Jubilee. I was a member of that group and have forwarded several photos of the event to this web site. I even have a short 16 mm movie segment of our performance that day.

  3. I have been going through negatives from the UNC Photo Lab for the academic year 1962-1963 and just discovered four black-and-white negatives of two group portraits, labeled “Migrant Singers: Sandy Moffett, Betty Ferguson, Ben Newlin,” and dated 7 November 1962. (I wonder about that date though because there are still plenty of leafs on the trees!) We’ll be scanning the negatives in the coming week, as we prepared for Wilson Library’s annual Class Reunion Weekend display in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room during the afternoon of May 11th. These and approximately 100 other images from the 1962-1962 school year will be exhibited in a continuous slide show. –Stephen Fletcher, Photographic Archivist, North Carolina Collection.

  4. sam galloway says:

    wow. i was at UNC from fall 66 to spring 68. I would like to see added to this the lineups by year. I remember from the 2 i went to the temptations, the association, rufus thomas and carla thomas, james brown, neil diamond, the platters (sang their comeback hit love you 1000 times in carmicheal and had to do it over 3 or 4 times the crowd wouldn’t let them move on to another song). those were the days.

  5. George Rue says:

    I’m doing some research on the 1970 Jubilee. I’m trying to find out the performance date for B.B. King. in May 1970. Does anyone know the exact day. I’m also looking for programs or flyers. Who else was on the bill for 1970 Jubilee. I can’t find anything for that year.. If anyone knows anything. please contact me at bbkingdime@yahoo.com

    Thanks, George

  6. Jennifer Coggins, Graduate Assistant says:

    George, thanks for your question regarding the 1970 Jubilee. According to records from the Carolina Student Union, B.B. King played at 11:00 PM on May 1, the first night of Jubilee that year. The Records of the Student Union (#40128) contain artist contracts (including King’s) and a program for the 1970 Jubilee–if you’d like scans of these, please email your request to wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

  7. Connie Bobotis says:

    I sent an email to wilsonlibrary@unc.edu requesting a scan of the program or whatever document lists the performers for the 1970 Jubilee event that I attended. I am backing that request up with this email. Thanks for your assistance.

    Connie Bobotis, 1971 graduate

  8. Morgan Jones, Graduate Assistant says:

    Hi Connie! Thank you for your comment and interest in our holdings. The reference staff has let us know that they have sent you scans of materials from the 1970 Jubilee. We hope you have only good memories of the events!

  9. monty diamond says:

    would you please send me those same documents from the 1970 jubilee weekend?

    Thanks, Monty Diamond ’68

  10. Jennifer Coggins, Records Services Archivist says:

    Hi, Monty! Thank you for your interest in our collections. Please email your request to wilsonlibrary@unc.edu, and our Research and Instructional Services staff can send you scans of materials related to the 1970 Jubilee.

  11. Michelle Wilson says:

    I have a question about the dates for the 1971 Jubilee. The article mentions the dates as May 1 to 3, but the ticket shows it as Apr 30, May 1 and May 2. The Jubilee was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so shouldn’t the article indicate the dates as such?

  12. Jennifer Coggins, Records Services Archivist says:

    Hi, Michelle! Thank you for catching that error–we’ve revised the dates.

  13. Michelle Wilson says:

    For the sake of historical accuracy, I thank you!

  14. Wendy Rayfield says:

    I attended the 1970 Jubilee and remember Joe Cocker with Leon Russell, and also Country Joe and the Fish. We sat in one of the fields on blankets. Great concert and time!

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