Mark Klose recalls … the year before we had around 40,000 people at the KSHE Kite Fly. We returned to Aviation Field in Forest Park in 1975 with Charlie Daniels Band as the headliner with Rush as the opening act. We were way short on power for the PA system in ’74, so this year I rented a giant diesel generator that the guy at the rental place said would light up downtown St. Louis. The parks department stipulated that we close the park to any vehicle traffic. About 30 minutes before Charlie was scheduled to hit the stage, I got a call on the walkie talkie from the security guy at the front gate. He said there was some big ole cowboy looking dude that was trying to get into the park, but didn’t have any papers that would allow him in. I told the security guy to hold onto the cowboy and I would be right there. One of the jocks at the station had a 350 Honda motorcycle, so I took off for the entrance looking for the big guy. It was Charlie, and he could not have been nicer. He jumped on the back of the bike and we took off for the stage. Between the two of us there had to be more than 500 pounds on the motorcycle, really testing those shocks. We made it to the stage and Charlie preceded to tear the joint down. 80,000 country rock fans getting down on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. That’s right, police estimated the crowd at 80,000! The crowd was so large that the walkway over highway 40 was only allowed one way traffic. 30 minutes people coming into the park. 30 minutes people leaving the park. To no one’s surprise, that was the last year for the KSHE Kite Fly at Forest Park, as the parks department had enough.
Photos © Bill Greenblatt and Randy & Charlene Thackeray. Text © Mark Klose