Saturday, April 21, 2012

During their first American tour, The Beatles refused to play their scheduled concert in Jacksonville until the audience was desegregated

The Beatles played a concert at the Gator Bowl on their first American Tour on September 11, 1964. It is notable because once the Beatles found out that the concert was going to be segregated, they refused to play there unless they allowed the audience to be desegregated, as there was no segregation in Europe. Paul McCartney went on record about their disapproval of the situation and their lack of understanding of segregation in the first place.  John Lennon said, "We never play to segregated audiences and we aren't going to start now. I'd sooner lose out appearance money". They did end up playing to a desegregated audience.
The concert was also notable because it was held the day after Hurricane Dora struck St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Most of Jacksonville was without electricity and power was not restored for several days. Despite the hurricane, 23,000 fans attended, paying $4 and $5 for tickets. During the concert, Ringo Starr's drums were nailed to the stage because of 45 mph winds.

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