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

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The Middletown Press: July 31, 1970

HAPPENINGS ON THE HILL

By ALAN MAGARY

From a reporter's notebook: In a quick glance of the Powder Ridge ski slope, you don't white (for snow) or green (for grass) but blue - blue seems to be the most common color for festival goers' clothes. If they're not wearing blue jeans blue hell-bottoms or blue shorts, they may not be wearing anything at all.

* * *

While some of the kids wander in carrying only a tattered bedroll and plastic water bottle, others are at Powder Ridge in style. Rented U-Haul trucks, a converted refrigerator truck, elaborate campers are mostly confined to one area - maybe you can call it Park Avenue. The "ghetto" consists of the walkers and hitchhikers who set up flimsy plastic tents on the ski slopes.Some of the vehicles don't seem to fit the crowd. There are at least three fancy Triumph sports cars, a snazzy MG, a gold-colored Oldsmobile, several Ford Country Squire station wagons.

* * *

In a way, Powder Ridge is not unlike a crowded state park on a summer weekend. Campers and tents and microbuses are all jammed together in a relatively small space. By appearances, few have sought the peace and quiet of the surrounding woods.Smells are mostly exotic. One part of the site is permeated with woodsmoke from campfires, another with the exotic, Kool-Aid smell of the Hare people's incense, yet with; the odor of marijuana.

* * *

A newspaper reporter's watch snapped off his wrist. Ten minutes later a long-haired youth came by and said, "This yours, man?"Maybe there's no professional music, but some of the kids are creating their own - African drums and some metal clinking near what was a medical tent; a stereo-phonograph broadcasting Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock version of the Star Spangled Banner; a kid plucking a guitar by a camper; a girl singing along to a tune nobody else could hear but herself.

* * *

A kid who had been there for six days wondered aloud: "I wonder what it's like on the outside?"

Purple Caps

Purple capsules, plastic bags containing some kind of red seeds, roughly rolled marijuana cigarettes change hands occasionally. Hawkers wander; around saying to no in particular. "Mescaline, one dollar. Acid, two dollars." Two large signs advertise "Mexico grass." A huge banner on the north ski slope says, "LSD $1, Organic Mesc. $2." Drugs sell at different prices depending on location.

* * *

Several "Mister Frostee trucks dispense ice cream cones for a quarter, shakes and sundaes for 60 cents, soda for 25 and 50 cents. Long lines wait by the windows.

Two boys sit cross-legged by their campfire frying eggs in a Boy Scout mess-kit pan. One is wearing a Bedouin-style dress and little else.

* * *

Flags are as prevalent at Powder Ridge as on July 4th. One tent has four U.S. flags stitched to the roof and entryway, two of them ordinary flags, the other two colonial 13-star types. Canadian flags, California Republic bear flags, South Africa flags, Woodstock Nation flags, peace symbol flags, even a plain white flag. People are wearing flags, too. Flag shoulder patches, flags stitched to bakes or jackets - one girl wears a halter, half stars and half stripes.

* * *

The "rides" board makes interesting reading:"Bob, Cory, we are at the second T-bar station across from the water trucks on the ridge. Tom, Betty, Ben Frenchie."Sea Cliff people are here – Come and visit! Look for the big tent on the left slope."People want rides to: the West, Indianapolis, Chicago, California, LaGuardia airport, Southeastern Shores. Spartansburg, S.C., Dallas, "Strawberryfield Festival" in Canada, Detroit, Portland, Me.

* * *

The painted slogan, "Um Tut Sum" on the fence around the stage has been joined by "Earth People's Park," "Fish Fri," "Eclipse wing horn fire Jeff," "Moon House," "LegalizePot," and "Legalize Freedom."

* * *

"Peoples orgy right here," says a kid standing near a fenced-off area. "Walk through the gates of Eden." There are two guys sitting inside. "Will you guys look excited or something," one of the hawkers calls in. They begin to look like they're excited. Later an announcement come over the P.A. system. "We need at least 20 male volunteers to start off the peoples orgy." It's a joke.

* * *

Almost everyone is having a good time, music or not.

 

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Rockfest '70 Robb Strycharz, 1998-2006
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