Grandstand Shows at the Ottawa Ex in 1971

by | Oct 7, 2019 | Pic of the Week | 0 comments

490 likes, 103 Comments, 73 Shares, and 30,084 People Reached

Here’s three youths hangin’ out at the entrance to Lansdowne Park, where the marquee announces the lineup for the Grandstand Shows at that Central Canada Exhibition — otherwise known as the Ex — for 1971.

Grandstand Shows? These were outdoor concerts held in the football stadium at Lansdowne Park, at which the people sat in the stands and the artists performed on on a small stage in the middle of the football field. For the longest time you get in to the Grandstand Shows free for the price of admission to the Ex. Maybe that’s part of why people loved the shows so much, but they also had some great acts,

There was was a great lineup for 1971, starting with the Carpenters who already had massive hits with “Close to You,” and “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Superstar” and “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

Next up the Nashville act of Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer and Boots Randolph, supporting their one album together (which had the novelty hit “Yakey Sax,” later covered by Atkins as “Yackety Axe,” and covered again by Atkins and Dire straits guitarist Mark Knoppfler).

The country trio was followed by Johnny Cash, who played Ottawa several times in the ’50, ’60s, and 70’s. Everybody knows his songs, but I really remember “Ring of Fire,” and “A Boy Named Sue.” They were so unusual in their different ways.

Finally you had Lynn Anderson, then the Bells. Anderson is most famous for “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” — but also sang “It wasn’t God who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Ha! Just listened to it on Youtube. The Bells were from Montreal and had several hits out including “Moody Manitoba Morning,” “Fly Little White Dove Fly” and “Stay Awhile.

All in all, quite a season for the Grandstand Shows at the Ex. People had a lot to say about the shows — and those youths.

(City of Ottawa Archives CA050576, CA050582, and CA050599)

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Marg: Oh no! I missed the Carpenters!

Cesar: The Carpenters alone made the whole lineup!

Laura: Free with admission.

Kate: I was at the Carpenters show. My first concert ever. Wow! 

Karen: I was there, too. My first concert, too. Went with my parents.

Tracy: We saw the Carpenters as a family. I was 11 at the time and they were one of my favs.

Peter H: My mom took us to this Carpenters concert at the Ex, front row. I still remember how awesome it was.

Marcia: I saw the Carpenters that year. We were so lucky to have such great shows free with admission! Would never happen today!

Peter E: I would have loved to have heard Karen Carpenter live. She had the most beautiful voice. 

Wendy: I was at the Carpenters concert. I’ll never forget it!

Bill: I was there for that show. Probably six years old … cheaper to bring me than get a sitter? The encore was “How High’s the Water Mama.”

Anne-Marie: I don’t think any of those youth in the picture were going to see the Carpenters.

Timothy: They weren’t lining up for any of the shows on that marquee!

James: No, no, clearly waiting for the Carpenters!

Mike: Obvious Carpenters fans!

Justin: Troubled youth … 

Sam: The Carpenters were a terrible influence on them.

Ken: Those are the guys your mother didn’t want you hanging out with in the Seventies …

Heather: Those kids probably are 70 now!

Dee: I was one of those kids!!

Terry: I thought everybody around that age just hopped the fence at the back where the transport trailers were parked.

Jim: You could usually find a hole in the fence to run through.

Rick: All the cool kids went to the rock stage at the back of the grounds along the Driveway. And, yes, we jumped the fence.

Charles:  I was a Rock & Roll fan back in 1971, but I also saw some fine country music acts, Johnny Cash being one of them. Lots of my friends attended and we didn’t look much different from the three guys pictured here.

Mark: I was at the Johnny Cash Show. My parents took the whole family, and that was my first concert. Some of the “support” acts played first. The Statlers, Carl Perkins and so on. Then Johnny entered by walking on in the middle of a song. The crowd went absolutely haywire. What a showman!

Peter: Saw Johnny Cash. It was my first concert. Against my will when I was 6 years old — but I still remember it.

Richard: I was there ’75 or ’76. June kicked her shoe into the crowd up front. Almost as wild as Fee Waybill hitting a line drive into the front row at a Tubes show at the Ottawa Civic Center.

Mark: June Carter was a standout at the ’71 show. My mom was particularly impressed with her.

Richard: She really was a great entertainer, as was Johnny.

Mark: I remember Johnny Cash censoring himself when he came to the “I’m the BLEEP that named you Sue” line in “A Boy Named Sue.” We were disappointed at not getting to hear the bleeped-out word, but then Johnny said “No, I’m not going to say that awful word in front of all you nice people.” My 10-year-old self got giddy that a big star like Johnny Cash was calling us “nice people.” It more than made up for not finding out what the bad word was. Later I found out it was actually four words (son of a -“).

Mike: Carpenters and Johnny Cash at same Ex? Wonder if both sang “Reason to Believe?”

David: I would never have admitted I liked the Carpenters or Johnny Cash back then, but the reality is they were way better than most of the music made now and I love them both.

Erin: The first concert I ever went to was at the Ex in the early-‘90s. Sinead O’Connor. Amazing. I remember looking forward every summer to the ads they would have on TV and Radio for that year’s concert line-up at the Ex.

Ken: I got to dance on stage with Diana Ross and the Supremes on the Grandstand stage in the ‘60s, when I was maybe seven years old.

Joy: Clearly I was not so cool, because I only remember seeing the Osmonds, the Jackson 5 and the Defrancos (“A heartbeat is a love beat…). I also saw the country shows with my dad — Cash, Pride, Tillis, etc.) And for some odd reason, Helen Reddy!

Gerald: I was there for all those shows, working the stands selling popcorn and cold drinks.

Lynn: I was a 15 year-old working a hot dog stand at the Ex for $1.10 per hour and loving it!