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A & E

Artworks: Photographer Bob Campbell gets his start at Joliet Jam

Here are some of the images Bob Campbell took at the Joliet Jam concert on May 19, 1974. This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the one-day event that attracted thousands of people.
Here are some of the images Bob Campbell took at the Joliet Jam concert on May 19, 1974. This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the one-day event that attracted thousands of people.

Bob Campbell of Joliet has enjoyed a 50-plus year career as a photographer.

His pieces have ranged from commercial to fine art. Campbell has taken photos of Joliet landmarks as well as weddings and portraits. He displayed a large sampling of his work at Joliet Junior College's Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery in 2015 to commemorate his 50th anniversary.

But one of Campbell's favorite memories was photographing members of the Beach Boys and Bachman-Turner Overdrive at Joliet Jam, a music festival held at the stadium now known as ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

"I was just getting into photography," Campbell, a Joliet Junior College student at the time of the concert, recalled. "I had gotten a telephoto lens, in addition to some other lenses. I was allowed back state so I got to talk to them."

Campbell said Joliet Jam was held Sunday May 19, 1974. This year marks the 45th anniversary of this event, also on a Sunday, Campbell said.

Joliet Jam also featured Henry Gross, New Colony Six, and Chicago disc jockey Larry Lujack (deceased) as master of ceremonies, Campbell said.

"The interesting thing is that it was supposed to be Sly and the Family Stone headlining," Campbell said. "But they had to cancel and put the Beach Boys in there."

Campbell said social media didn't exist in 1974. The event was advertised "on the radio and in posters," he said. Organizers anticipated 8,000 attendees and wound up with 23,000, Campbell said.

"There were people coming from all over the Midwest," Campbell said. "There has never been any one-day music event [in Joliet] close to that crowd."

Campbell said he had a good time ("Some of my JJC friends were there, too," he recalled) but some fights did break out.

"And some kids actually climbed to the tops of the light poles," Campbell said.

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