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

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New York Times: July 30,1970

Resort Owner Tells 15,000 Fans

Rock Festival Will Not Be Held

By JOSEPH B. TREASTER

Special to The New York Times

MIDDLEFIELD, Conn., Thursday, July 30—"The owner of the Powder Ridge Ski Area told thousands of youths here last night that the three-day rock festival advertised for this weekend could not be held.

"The festival can't go on," the 58-year-old Louis Zemel said in a quavering voice. "The big acts are not going to happen."

The festival was ordered canceled because the court felt it would create a "public nuisance" according to the injunction. Mr. Zemel, who was one of those named in the injunction, took charge of the activities in the absence of the promoters.

Such performers as Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Sly and the Family Stone and Ten Wheel Drive had been advertised for the festival, but law enforcement officials said yesterday the performers would be arrested if they appeared at the ski resort.

Speaker Is Interrupted

Jeers and roars of disapproval interrupted Mr. Zemel when he described the court order "handed down last Monday prohibiting the festival as "very severe" and the youths realized that he was about to announce the closing of the festival.

But they cheered when moments later, Dr. William Abruzzi the medical director for the festival, said, "We will run a medical facility as long as you need us. We will keep this thing going. We will have a medical facility and we will keep the music going as long as we aren't carried out by the people in uniform."

By late last night, an estimated 15,000 youths had jammed into Powder Ridge and, despite the court order and pleas by officials and the management to stay away, more were expected today.

Youths Carry Bedrolls

The young music lovers carrying bedrolls and knapsacks began arriving at Powder Ridge several days ago.

Although the festival was not scheduled to begin until to tomorrow. For a few hours at midday, yesterday and last night, before and after Mr. Zemel spoke to the youths from a stage at the foot of the main slope, law enforcement officials permitted local rock bands to perform.

Mr. Zemel spoke last night in compliance with a directive issued earlier by State Attorney Vincent J. Scamporino who has been designated to enforce the injunction.

Mr. Scamporino further directed Mr. Zemel to cut off all utilities to the ski resort beginning at 8 A.M. today.

No Deadline Set

Mr. Scamporino said that state police would be standing by near the resort this morning, but that they did not plan, to enter the 300-ski resort unless trouble developed.

"I have no plans to remove innocent persons assembled" at Powder Ridge," Mr. Scamporino said. He said no deadline had been set for vacating Powder Ridge, but added that by nightfall tonight "that place should not be operating for business for a rock festival."

Arthur Meckley, the First Selectman, or Mayor, of this community of 4,050, said earlier this week that, beginning at 8 A.M. today, he planned to; close the town road to all but residents. He said no parking would be permitted anywhere in town for the rest of the week.

As darkness fell last night, the state police reported that some roads had already been barricaded and that "20 or so" cars had been towed away.

Both Mr. Scamporino and Mr. Zemel said they were unable to find the officials of Middleton Arts International, an organization especially incorporated to stage the festival.

"They've vanished," Mr. Zemel said. He said he believed at least some of those who paid $20 each for tickets to the festival would receive refunds.

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