Remembering Boulder’s fab time with The Beatles

Boulder was well-represented in the sea of fans who attended The Beatles' concert at Red Rocks on Aug. 26, 1964. (Colorado Music Hall of Fame / Courtesy photo)
Boulder was well-represented in the sea of fans who attended The Beatles’ concert at Red Rocks on Aug. 26, 1964. (Colorado Music Hall of Fame / Courtesy photo)

By Carol Taylor
For the Daily Camera

In the summer of 1964, The Beatles performed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison. It was the sixth stop on the band’s first American tour.

They stepped off the chartered airplane at Stapleton Airport to a mob of 5,000 screaming teenagers, the Denver Police later estimated. Thousands more hysterical fans greeted the foursome at The Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver.

Kathryn Keller, a Boulder resident and member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame Advisory Board, attended the Red Rocks concert on Aug. 26, 1964.

We met recently to talk about her experience, and she arrived sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement: “I may be old, but I got to see The Beatles at Red Rocks.” The shirt never fails to elicit comments from strangers, Keller said.

Only 12 in ’64, she knew she had to get her parents to take her to a Beatles concert after she saw the group perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February.

Tickets for the Red Rocks show, presented by Denver radio station KIMN, cost $6.60 each ($6.09 admission plus 51 cents federal tax).

“I started my campaign, and I was relentless,” Keller said.

Her mother finally agreed to drive Keller and a station wagon full of girls to Red Rocks.

By the day of the concert, Keller had already seen the movie “A Hard Day’s Night” multiple times at the Boulder Theater, so she knew how a Beatles fan was supposed to behave. She screamed through the entire concert, pausing only to snap a few photos with her Brownie camera.

Meanwhile, the parents of Sally Aspinwall (now Sally Goedert) said no to her request to attend the concert. In their judgment, it was too far away and those attending might not be appropriate company for their daughter.

So the Base Line Junior High School teenager sneaked out of the house. She met a carload of school friends not far from her house, and they drove to Morrison. Their seats were 35-40 rows back, but they never sat down.

“It was an amazing evening,” Goedert remembered in a recent telephone interview.

She returned home very late, and her parents were up waiting.

“You are grounded until I say you are not grounded,” Goedert recalls her father saying.

“I was grounded for a couple of months,” she said, “but it was worth it.”

The following day, the concert was front page news in the Daily Camera, which carried an Associated Press story that described how fans showered the band with jelly beans, reportedly the musicians’ favorite candy.

After the Fab Four left town, The Brown Palace Hotel sold pieces of bed sheets hotel officials claimed The Beatles had slept in. Keller remembers the instructions were to mail a letter and 25 cents to the hotel. The hotel sent back a small square of sheeting affixed to a card. Keller still has her fabric swatch, a keepsake from a memorable summer.

Keller remembers that for someone heading into seventh grade at Base Line Junior High, having gone to the concert “was like a badge of coolness.”

G. Brown, a rock ‘n’ roll historian who is executive director of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, wrote in his 2004 book, “Colorado Rocks! A Half-Century of Music in Colorado,” that only 7,000 fans attended the concert at the 9,000-seat venue:

“At the time, the distance of Red Rocks from Denver, coupled with no public transportation, was blamed for the unsold tickets.”

Carol Taylor and Silvia Pettem write about history for the Daily Camera. Email Carol at, Silvia at or write to the Daily Camera, 5450 Western Ave., Boulder 80301.

If you go

What: History on Screen, featuring G. Brown, executive director of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and rock and roll historian, talking about The Beatles at Red Rocks, followed by a screening of the newly restored, remixed and remastered Beatles classic, “A Hard Day’s Night.”

When: 4 p.m. Aug. 24

Where: Boedecker Theater, The Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder

Tickets: $11 general admission, $6 for Boulder History Museum and Boedecker Theater members

Info: or 303-440-7826 (ext. 110)

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