California Jam, also known as Cal Jam, was a rock music festival co-headlined by Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer and held at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California, USA, on April 6, 1974. It was produced by ABC Entertainment, Sandy Feldman and Leonard Stogel. Pacific Presentations, a Los Angeles-based concert company headed by Sepp Donahower and Gary Perkins, coordinated the event, booked all the talent and ran the advertising. Don Branker worked for Leonard Stogel and was responsible for concert site facilitation. It attracted 250,000 paying fans. The festival set what were then records for the loudest amplification system ever installed, the highest paid attendance, and highest gross in history. It was the last of the original wave of rock festivals, as well as one of the most well-executed and financially successful, and presaged the era of media consolidation and the corporatization of the rock music industry. A sequel concert, California Jam II, was held in 1978.
Performers in order of appearance:
Earth, Wind & Fire
Seals & Crofts
Black Oak Arkansas
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
The Goodyear blimp hovering overhead was a first for a music festival. Another first was the setting of the stage sets for each band on rails, allowing rapid changeover to the next band and thus eliminating delays and allowing the rock festival to run on time, in fact ahead of time. The concert set a record for the largest paid attendance at such an event. Although more people attended the festival at Woodstock in New York, only a few had purchased tickets. Another record established at California Jam was for the largest, most powerful concert sound system ever assembled particularly from the demands of Deep Purple who were identified as the "loudest band in the world" by the Guinness Book of World Records. Tycobrahe Sound Company combined the touring systems of Deep Purple, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Sabbath, Earth Wind and Fire, and Rare Earth (each manufactured by Tycobrahe), plus 16 feet (4.9 m) bass horns from Phoenix Sound and several folded bass horns from Flag Systems. Total power was 54,000 watts RMS, provided by a number of BFA-2000 amplifiers, manufactured by Tycobrahe. Unlike other rock festivals such as Woodstock, the concert was not planned for release as a film or sound recording. However, several portions of it were broadcast live on the ABC television network, which was also a sponsor of the show. The audio portion of the show was also broadcast in stereo on FM radio stations, an early example of simulcasting. Deep Purple's performance along with some of the performances by other bands was broadcast on TV and radio nationwide in the US. Deep Purple's performance was the first full length music concert film to be released and sold on video tape in the early 1980s. Several performances from the show were eventually released on CD and video, both in bootleg and authorized form.
California Jamming, CD of Deep Purple's performance (also released under alternate titles).
Live in California 74, DVD of Deep Purple's performance.
Beyond the Beginning, Emerson, Lake & Palmer DVD including 44 minutes of their California Jam performance.
California Jam festival was the culmination of the Black Sabbath world tour that began in January 1974, after the release of their critically acclaimed fifth album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, exposing the band to over 200,000 fans and a wider American audience through telecast.
Black Sabbath at California Jam
Deep Purple at California Jam