UNC Jubilee Performers: A List

Cover to the 1965 Carolina Jubilee pamphlet. From the Records of the Student Union.

From 1963 to 1971, the end of UNC-Chapel Hill’s spring semester was marked by Jubilee, a festival that lasted for three days.  Though it began as a small and fairly restrained affair on the lawn of Graham Memorial,  it expanded to bigger and more raucous events that took place in larger venues such as Polk Place and Kenan Stadium. Each year would feature an abundance of performers, and a list of those performers can be found below.

1963: The Four Preps; The Chad Mitchell Trio; The Jades; The Migrants; The Duke Ambassadors; The Harlequins; Iain Hamilton

1964: The Four Freshmen; Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs; The Serendipity Singers; Charlie Byrd; The Sinfonians;

1965: Johnny Cash; June Carter; Statler Brothers Quartet; The Tennessee Three; The Four Preps; The Platters with the Sinfonians; The Modern Folk Quartet

1966: Jay and the Americans; The Bitter End Singers; Warm Brows and Cool Tones; David della Rossa and Brooks; Charlie Byrd; Al Hirt

1967: The Temptations; Jim Kweskin Jug Band; Petula Clark; The Association; The Fabulous Five Combo; The Dynamics Combo

1968: Carla Thomas; Rufus Thomas; The New Bar Kays; Neil Diamond; Junior Walker and the All-Stars; Spanky and Our Gang; Nancy Wilson; Soul, Limited

1969: Chambers Brothers; Babe Stovall; Red Parham; Elizabeth Cotton; Alice and Hazel; Bill McElreath; Rev. Pearly Brown; Paul Butterfield Blues Band

1970: Sweetwater; James Taylor; Pacific Gas and Electric; Joe Cocker and the Grease Band; B.B. King; Grand Funk Railroad; Baby Boy Glover Resurrected; New Deal String Band

1971: Chuck Berry; Spirit; Cowboy; Muddy Waters; J. Geils; Brushy Mountain Boys; Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band; Allman Brothers; Alex Taylor; Tom Rush

Read more about Jubilee here.


Carolina Union of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1931-2013 (#40128)

Jock Lauterer Photographic Collection, circa 1964-1968 (#P0069)

29 thoughts on “UNC Jubilee Performers: A List”

  1. I attended Jubilee in 1970. At the time I was a student at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. As I had no transportation, I packed my backpack and hitch-hiked to Chapel Hill. Going down was OK but coming back was all rain. I seem to remember that it rained a lot that weekend. B. B. King performed late one night at a venue that if I remember correctly a long water slide from the top of the bleacher stands to the field had been rigged. I remember Phil Ochs performing at a different venue that weekend as well. I seem to remember him playing “The Draft Doger Rag” As I had no place to stay, I went to the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Student Center) to get out of the rain. Someone there put me in touch with a Professor who let me set up my trail tarp shelter in his backyard for the weekend. Times have changed. It was in some ways a simpler, more trusting society back then. The idea of trying to hitch hike across two thirds of the state and back again in a long weekend was not out of the question then. The previous summer, I had hitch hiked from NC to the New Mexico and back.

    1. In 1968, Junior Walker and the All Stars were a no show, but the opening act was Neil Diamond. Weather was bad so concert was in Carmichael Auditorium

      1. John, as I remember it, they did. According to the Yackety Yack of 1970, they were not mentioned in the opening pages describing the year. Also the yearbook photos contain a few pics from Jubilee ’70 of James featuring James Taylor and Joe Cocker. I actually thought BS&T was the true featured act that year because they had several songs on the charts and the song, “And When I Die” was the No. 17 song from 1969 and was on the way up. Their first Album was in the top 10 Billboard albums throughout the year. I also thought Leon Russell was on that bill, but I stand to be corrected. We had so many top acts during the 1960s and early 70s thanks to Howard Henry who was head of the UNC Student Union entertainment committee. You might remember he got us a second “Chicago” concert following the original scheduled one on the same night.

        1. Per my comment further below, Blood, Sweat and Tears headlined Jubilee the year before: 1969 — the same week they appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Leon Russell appeared with Joe Cocker. Rita Coolidge was one of the back-up singers.

      2. Yes, they did! I distinctly recall David Clayton Thomas’ soaring vocals seemed to lift the roof off the building. What a voice!

      3. Yes, they did. Zoom in on program (which is hard to read) and they are listed Sat evening. I was there. It was great

      4. I seem to recall them playing on Sunday afternoon. Not a huge crowd, and it was very warm. I remember the trumpet player was really sweating.

      5. Yes, BS&T definitely played in ’69. I saw them.”You Made Me So Very Happy” was huge hit at that time. They were the biggest name on the bill, odd they were left off the list.

      6. Blood, Sweat and Tears were the headliner act of Jubilee 1969. They performed on the Saturday night time slot in Kenan Stadium. The same week, they appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. I was a Junior at UNC at the time and was President of Carolina Union, the student organization that planned and coordinated Jubilee weekends.

      1. 1970: Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen did feature Leon Russell

        1968: Junior Walker and the All Stars were a no show, but opening was act Neil Diamond.

        1969: Blood, Sweat & Tears did perform Sat night. Zoom in on the program to verify.

  2. My wife, then and now, attended Jubilee from 1967 through 1971. We were dating ’67 and ’68 and married before our Jr. year in Summer of ’68 and attended ’69, ’70, and ’71 Jubilee’s as we alternated work and school until graduation, in ’70 and ’71. Each year the weekend of Jubilee was magical as we all floated through the campus at various venues to see the acts, movies that were set up outdoors, and even a baseball game or two. We watched an unknown James Taylor (resident) perform Fire and Rain, the Association and Never My Love, Cherish. Joe Cocker was dynamic. But no matter who the artists were, the atmosphere was all “Carolina.” We were care free and had no worries about the future – whatever was going to happen would always be framed by how good it could be and the good vibrations of Jubilee.

  3. You failed to mention the great concert by Grand Funk Railroad.
    PG & E was another surprise. I knew what to expect from Joe Cocker. However his true “spazmo” performance was unprecedented seeing it Live!

    1. We sneaked into Joe Cocker in the south end of Kenan Stadium. We were so skinny we only had to pull the chain gate back a few inches and slip in. Cocker’s band was huge. I remember he was drinking gin straight out of a bottle and at one point one of my friends saw him vomit off the side of the state. Then kept right on singing. There were so many people on stage a lot of folks didn’t see it happen.

  4. My friends & I had “discovered” the band, Spirit, the summer of 1970 at an Atlanta rock festival. They introduced their new album, “The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” during that show. We became huge fans when the album was finally released that fall. Then we heard that Spirit was performing at Jubilee the Spring of 1971. We were all extremely excited to see the band. As the date grew closer our anticipation was over-the-top. Then the “magic” performance began.

    Unfortunately, Spirit had broken up prior to Jubilee. The lead singer, Jay Ferguson, & the lead guitarist, Randy California, had both left the band. The guys who remained weren’t allowed, or couldn’t replicate the songs from their most recent release. Horribly disappointing.

    All my other memories of Jubilee during my time at UNC were wonderful. But, the Spirit performance remains as my most disappointing concert ever. Still a great memory, however.

    1. That’s probably why they didn’t headline Friday night. That honor was given to Macon, Ga.’s Cowboy.
      And they delivered!

  5. My friend John photographed Jackson Browne and David Lindley at Carmichael Auditorium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1970. Does any one have an exact date of this show? Or any confirmation that his memory of the year, venue, etc is correct? I can’t find any info on the internet that shows Browne performed in Chapel Hill at any time.

  6. A funny story. I was attending Georgia Tech and drove a 1961 red & white Chrysler Newport. A “ Bat Mobile” for sure. At midday on Friday in 1970 I was headed up I 85 N to Chapel Hill to go to Jubilee weekend. As I neared the exit for Clemson there were these two guys on the side of the highway hitchhiking with signs for Chapel Hill, Jubilee. In those days , no problem, so I picked them up. They immediately lumped into the back seat and off we went. After about 10 minutes they asked if it was ok to light up. I had no problem with it so ok. Well, little did I know. It was like Cheece and Chong. These guys smoked so heavily that the smoke going out the back windows looked like the car was on fire. I wasn’t smoking because I was driving but we finally made it to UNC. I dropped them off and wished them well. I spent two wonderful days at Jubilee and on Monday morning headed back to Ga Tech. As I rounded the sharp curve on I-85 in Greensboro headed south, lo and behold there were these same two guys hitchhiking to Clemson. I laughed as I picked them up and the car bellowed all the way to Clemson. I think it took me two more days to get back to school. Great times.

  7. I lived in Chapel Hill in 1970. My boyfriend and I attended the same college in the mountains.
    We attended the “Jubilee” on May 2, 1970 at Kenan Stadium and was able to see Joe Cocker and James Taylor. We sat in the Kenan stands and I took a picture, from far away, of James Taylor on the stage.
    Boy, it was “great times” back then.

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