Retro Charlotte

Psychedelic concerts at Freedom Park (and a light show, too)

“The Free People give victory sign to passersby in Freedom Park.” July, 1968. (Was The Free People a band?)
“The Free People give victory sign to passersby in Freedom Park.” July, 1968. (Was The Free People a band?) The Charlotte Observer

In 1968 Reliable Music sponsored three “hard rock, psychedelic, West Coast” concerts at Freedom Park. The first was rained on, the second prompted a parent to write a letter to the Observer (see slideshow), and by the final show in October things came together! Read on for a report on the final concert, then click through the slideshow at the bottom.

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2,000 Turn Out For Concert In Park

By Monte Zepeda, Observer Staff Writer

October 7, 1968

Charlotte’s underground music fans took advantage of the last chance this summer to hear their music in outdoor concert Sunday evening at Freedom Park.

The third and final psychedelic music concert of the summer drew over 2,000 hippies, pseudo-hippies, and just plain young people to the lakeside bandstand to absorb the progressive sounds put down by live bands.

Sunday’s concert was much like the first one presented early in the summer, rainy.

While the second show of the summer was held in fair weather, Sunday’s was interrupted by showers about five times.

The mood of some of the young people was further dampened by the presence of uniformed policemen. One member of the audience explained the unrest among the young people this way: “You have to smoke a cigarette downwind from them (the police) or they come up to check you out for grass.”

The young man was talking about marijuana. Police kept an anxious eye on the crowd to insure that nobody did smoke the wrong plant. It was easy for them to be confused because some youths smoked a brand of short, fat cigarettes that might be mistaken for hand-rolled marijuana smokes.

But that problem, like the rain, passed, and everybody got down to the serious business of appreciating the music.

About dark, an extra feature of the free concert was added, a light show. Images of various movements resembling a microscopic view of pond water were shone on a screen in back of the bands.

The crowd included young people, teenie boppers, and adults with their children and even infants.

While most were simply dressed in a leisure manner, there was a liberal sprinkling of fuzzy haired flower children.

As in the past, various types of people were brought together to try out a new sound. They aren’t sure how successful if will be, but if it is they’re going to be in on the first floor.

(I never found a list of bands that played, weird) - Maria