Well, I see the Doobie Brothers are going to play at the Britt on Sept. 5. I remember going to see them when they played at the Jackson County Expo back in 1977 or 1978. I couldn't believe they would actually come to our valley and play back then. The Expo was absolutely jammed packed, and the Doobies put on a great show. If my memory serves me correct, even you guys at the Mail Tribune got in on it. I think you ran a photograph in the next day's newspaper of cars heading towards the concert right at twilight.
I didn't save my ticket stub or the photograph that you ran. So if you can, what was the exact date of that concert? What was the attendance number at the Expo?
— Greg, Medford
Let us start off by admitting something you already know, Greg. We couldn't print all two pages of your question and your warm memories of that concert almost 36 years ago. As prone to digression as we can be, we can only go so far before our bosses' eyebrows raise and we get stuck answering traffic questions.
We asked our young research assistant to dig through the archives and see what he could find. We told him we'd bring in some CDs of your favorite band, but he'd already added "Takin' it to the Streets" to the Spotify playlist on his iPhone. Times may change, but at least the Doobies still tour.
We were able to confirm that the concert was nearly 36 years ago, specifically on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 1977. We confirmed that thanks to an article that ran two days later, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 1977 with the headline, "Rock Concerts put the fair board in black" that mentioned the Tuesday concert.
We weren't able to find the photo you remember, but we uncovered some numbers.
From the article: "They (county commissioners) learned that concerts like the Doobie Brothers affair, which drew a crowd estimated at 8,000 young adults, will put the fair operating budget in the black during its first year at the Expo grounds."
The article didn't mention records, as it was the first year of the venue. It stated that the county's percentage of gate and concessions revenue was estimated at $7,000.
In spite of the good news brought by the Doobies, the article focused on County Commissioner Isabel Sickels, who voiced concern at "social problems" the new Expo was creating as she toured the cleanup of the Expo grounds the day after the concert.
" 'This place smells like an old bar,' Mrs. Sickels commented, turning up her nose."
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