Rockfest 70 News Archive. Background Picture of Powder Ridge Rock Festival, Middlefield, CT 1970

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The Hartford Times: July 28, 1970

IN SPIRIT, FETE IS HAPPENING FOR ROCK FANS ON GROUNDS

By NICK YENGICH Times Staff Writer

MIDDLEFIELD - Bras aren't popular at Powder Ridge. Neither are shirts, as about 2,000 young men and women work and wait for further word on the weekend rock festival.

The "straights," as the kids refer to the non-rock world, may not approve of them, but the "freaks," as they proudly call themselves, say they have a few items rarely evident in the other world — like cooperation, a feeling for fellow man, and an ability to share.

So the confrontation between Middlefield residents and their newest neighbors, the kids who have made a latter-day attempt at homesteading by camping at Powder Ridge ski area, is as much a contrast in lifestyle as a question of legalities.

Powder Ridge, as it waits for further legal moves on the festival, hasn't reduced activity and the rock fans haven't lost their spirit.

"The injunction doesn’t matter. A festival is going on now," says a young red-haired man, serving in the sweltering first aid shack next to the main ski lodge. "The festival is not going to start Friday, and it's not going to stop Sunday,” he added.

The kids alternate in their talk with specific references to the Powder Ridge festival and general impressions of their "Woodstock Nation."

“The best thing going here is not the music, not the festival as other folks see it - the music this weekend - but the cooperation, the sharing of food, the whole idea of being together," said a young girl from Ithica, N,Y. "This is just another stop in the journey."

"Right," added a young man dressed in the garb of Powder Ridge - levis, no shirt, no shoes. “Many kids will still be coming. It's near the end of the summer. It's a last thing to do. The kids aren't going to split. This is their land, too. They're not going to go until it's over.”

Three young men preparing a campfire as twilight approached on the ski slopes, talked of their interaction with Middlefield residents.

"I went into a package store," said one, "and the lady asked if I was with the festival. I said yes and she wouldn't serve me. Then I walked outside end talked - a good talk - for a half hour with a cop. You think that's not confusing?"

"The local people have been pretty good," said another. "Maybe" you can do us a favor. Get that guy who owns the orchard to lay about a 1,000 bushels of apples on us, We could use food"

The orchard owner, John Lyman Jr., is a plaintiff in the suit which brought about Monday's injunction.

Monday, in a press conference at the Middlefield Town Hall, Lyman said the injunction was a victory for the area residents. "There was an attempt to run roughshod over a small town; We were vulnerable but not that Vulnerable. We proved we could rally our defenses and make a case and the court ruled what was valid," he said. With nightfall Monday, as some campers sought spots for sleep and others rambled over the hilly roads on noisy motor scooters, Middlefield residents locked up for the night.

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