MRF Crowd

The audience waits for a performance  at the MRF. The shows that brought in the largest paid crowds were The Who’s first and only MRF appearance  in 1971; The Eagles’ second trip to 

Edwardsville in 1975; Yes’ second MRF show in 1975; Chicago’s second MRF appearance in 1973; and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s only Edwardsville show in 1972. Many of these artists returned after these top-selling MRF shows.

Photo Courtesy of John Neiman and SIUE archives

 

“Music under the stars. Bob Dylan was a guest on someone else’s show, but was not advertised. When he came on stage, the place went wild. I am not a huge Dylan fan, but he was terrific! Judy Collins and Joan Baez were both outstanding. It was always an amazing evening!”

— Becky Brown

 

“When The Who played, I snuck under the tent with my Norelco cassette recorder by the right speaker and recorded “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Pinball Wizard.” The highlight of my life at the time… The Who only played once, [but it was] the biggest concert ever.”

— Tom Schmidt

 

“Celebrating birthdays on a blanket. We all carried wine sacks and drank Chianti. I miss that sort of fun so much. When we didn’t go, we sat outside and listened to the music from our backyard.”

— Jane Floyd-Hendey 

 

“In the early 70s I would sit in our front yard on Eberhart and could hear the concerts loud and clear. Those were the days. (It) put Edwardsville on the map, along with other things. Burton Cummings from the Guess Who wandered into Vanzo’s after a concert. Kenny Loggins stepped into Dale’s Barber Shop looking for the famous hairstylist Bruce Klobnak to cut his hair. When you tell people where you’re from, they know Edwardsville, Illinois… MRF. Even in (southwest Florida) where I currently live. Awesome!”

— Sharon Jenkins Klingel

 

“I was a big fan of Emmylou Harris, but I was off the night of her concert at the MRF. I took my infant daughter, Becky, to the concert and went backstage to meet Emmylou. She was delighted with my daughter and carried her around in the backstage area. Becky grabbed a very expensive turquoise bracelet off of her wrist and pitched into the dense shrubbery that lined the porch area. I had to crawl around with a flashlight for some time until I found it.

 

I also was a fan of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and I got a chance to play harmonica with John McEuen backstage. They were filming for a movie that night, and a short excerpt of my playing appeared in the MRF film.” 

— Bob Gill

“I lived about a mile from MRF and attended and heard many concerts. Always on the grass, never under the tent. Harry Chapin was one that stood out. He was over an hour late, and a helicopter landed him in and he was so appreciative of the crowd waiting for him, he said he’d play until we were tired of listening, and he did. 

 

I used to go over after the concerts and search through the trash looking for beer cans from out of state with a friend that collected them. We found an amazing array of goods, ranging from drugs and paraphernalia, money, jewelry, food, full beers and all sorts of detritus. We had to get there in the dark before the clean-up crews arrived shortly after dawn. Good times.”

— Ron Mueller

 

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