Funk | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

P-Funk ‘76

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on August 29, 2014

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Powder Ridge Rock Festival (1970) 30,000 Drugged Out Hippies, No Bands

Powder Ridge Hippie Shitshow

The Powder Ridge Rock Festival was scheduled to be held July 31, August 1 and August 2, 1970 at Powder Ridge Ski Area in Middlefield, Connecticut. A legal injunction forced the event to be canceled, keeping the musicians away; but a crowd of 30,000 attendees arrived anyway, to find no food, no entertainment, no adequate plumbing, and at least seventy drug dealers. William Manchester wrote: “Powder Ridge was an accident waiting to happen, and it happened.” Volunteer doctor William Abruzzi declared a drug “crisis” on 1 August and said “Woodstock was a pale pot scene. This is a heavy hallucinogens scene.”

Blonde-with-rings

Tickets were sold by mail at a price of $20 for the whole weekend. The announced line-up of musicians included:

Day 1: Eric Burdon & War, Sly and the Family Stone, Delaney & Bonnie, Fleetwood Mac, Melanie, Mountain, J.F. Murphy and Free Flowing Salt, Allan Nichols, James Taylor

Day 2: Joe Cocker, Allman Brothers, Cactus, Little Richard, Van Morrison, Rhinoceros, Ten Wheel Drive, Jethro Tull, Tony Williams Lifetime, Zephyr

Day 3: Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Bloodrock, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Grand Funk Railroad, Richie Havens, John B. Sebastian, Spirit, Ten Years After

Robert Santelli stated in Aquarius Rising that an appearance by Led Zeppelin was also planned.

 

Powder Ridge might have been a legendary hippie music fest had things gone right. In the year following Woodstock, however, things often went wrong for hippie music fests, which went into “a long spiral of decline”. Thirty of the forty-eight major festivals planned for 1970 were cancelled, usually due to swiftly materializing local opposition. Powder Ridge, however, made national news because of the arrival of tens of thousands of ticketholders despite the event’s cancellation. The New York Times followed its progress in about thirty articles before, during, and after the event.

Middlefield residents, worried about the impact of the crowd on their small town, received an injunction against the festival just days before it began.

When the owner of the ski resort tried to contact the promoters to tell of the injunction, they could not be found. It looked like the event was never going to happen anyway.

Attendees arrive anyway

Local authorities posted warning signs on every highway leading to Middlefield: “Festival Prohibited, turn back”.

Police Warn Hippies

By 1970, rock festivals were regarded as having a political dimension. Carol Brightman wrote that “Rock shows… such as the Powder Ridge concert… were increasingly being covered by the national media as civil events, one step removed from street demonstrations.” The CIA had Powder Ridge, like other rock events, under surveillance, and noted in a July 30 situation report that “hippie-type young people [were] already beginning to assemble in the area.”

Promoters, however, kept hinting that there was still a chance that the concert would be held: “It’s a total wait and see thing,” a spokesman said and, after all, Woodstock had almost been cancelled too.

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Approximately 30,000 people came to the site for the weekend. Most of the musicians, however, did not show up. Only Melanie and a few local bands actually performed during the three-day weekend. One of these local bands was “The Mustard Family” who, in the dark of night, hauled their instruments and equipment into the festival, by back roads and trails, and performed for the enthusiastic crowd. The official poster for the festival lists New York band, Haystacks Balboa, as the special opening act on Thursday night. The band’s equipment was stopped by the authorities and the musicians gathered at a local cafe to await word as to their performance. After long negotiations, the band’s manager advised the band to return home, there was to be no performance.

Powder Ridge 1970 Acid 1 Dollar

Drugs were openly sold and commonly consumed at the festival. Rock doctor William Abruzzi (also at Woodstock) was there to treat bad LSD trips, and said there were more bad trips at Powder Ridge per capita than at any other music festival he’d ever worked. He attributed some of the problems to the barrels of “electric water” that were available for free public consumption; people were invited to drop donations of drugs into these barrels, creating drug cocktails of unknown strength and composition.

Powder ridge 1970 Body Painting

William Manchester writes:

One of the more sensational scenes, attested to by several witnesses, occurred in a small wood near some homes. A boy and a girl, both naked and approaching from different directions, met under the trees. On impulse they suddenly embraced. She dropped to her knees, he mounted her from behind, and after he had achieved his climax they parted—apparently without exchanging a word.

Naked Hippies Cops Watching

According to The New York Times, observers who had been at both Woodstock and Powder Ridge were struck by the contrasting moods of the two festivals:

The gentle euphoria—the grins, small smiles, and exchanged “V” signals— of people milling through the muddy fields of Bethel seemed to be missing at Powder Ridge. Instead, last night and this morning, the major pastime here was often shuffling walks along paved roads by grim-faced young men and women who looked remarkably similar to old people moving slowly along the boardwalks of the Rockaways or Atlantic City.

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In his autobiography, Nothing’s Sacred, comedian Lewis Black claims to have attended the festival with some friends. Black explains in depth his activities of the weekend, including drug experimentation, failing at his appointed parking attendant job, and the downturn the concert took after a fiery speech from a Black Panther of the militant New Haven, Connecticut contingent, which happened to coincide with a thunderstorm. Black theorizes that under the effects of hallucinogens, many attendees probably thought that the Black Panther was actually causing the storm, and many began to experience bad trips.

File under Blast From The Past, Massive Consumption of Drugs, Music, Photography, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG

Parliament Funkadelic The Mothership Live in Houston Texas Halloween 1976

It was Halloween night and Parliament Funkadelic was about to tear the roof off the Houston Summit, ready to bless the crowd with their cosmic brew of interplanetary funk. George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and the rest of the P-Funk collective were riding the success of their first Top 5 R&B hit, “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker),” a track that had earned them the kind of radio play that would bring the masses out to see them live in a stadium-sized arena. The group was only five dates into the tour when they arrived in Houston, but they were definitely ready to take it to the stage for an out-of-this-world show like no other.

Taped on October 31, 1976, these seldom-seen performances at the Houston Summit represent Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic in their ʼ70s prime, in the era of their Mothership Connection and The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein LPs —a rare opportunity for everyone to get their proper dose of The P-Funk.

Program Listing: 
Cosmic Slop
Do That Stuff
Gamin’ On Ya!
Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On
Undisco Kidd
Children Of Productions
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Dr. Funkenstein
Comin’ Round The Mountain
P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples
Funkin’ For Fun

File under Blast From The Past, Fashion, Influences, Kooky Characters, Massive Consumption of Drugs, Music, SeMeN SPeRmS Approved, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB

Lecherous, Lewd, Lustful, Licentious, Lascivious, Libidinous, Lubricious


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Lefty: Memories of a Dead One in Brooklyn (1978) 70’s NYC Gang Documentary

lefty1

A German film crew for station NDR [Norddeutscher Rundfunk] picked the perfect time to visit New York City for their street gang documentary, LEFTY – ERINNERUNG AN EINEN TOTEN IN BROOKLYN, as the area sweltered through a brutal summer heatwave and the infamous 1977 blackout. For five weeks, director Max H. Rehbein and his crew actually lived in the basement of a Brooklyn house owned by the parents of ‘Brother Lou’ [Louie Morales], the leader of ‘The Sex Boys’ (named after the street they hung out on, Essex — after dropping the first two letters), filming many of that gang’s most private moments and digging even deeper than the aforementioned ABC special. Unfortunately, the print’s narration is in unsubtitled German, but their footage alone makes this an astonishing, 88-minute artifact…

Sex Boys

‘Lefty’ [Charles ‘Carlos’ Valentine] is the latest ‘Sex Boys’ casualty, first glimpsed in the Kings County morgue after being stabbed to death near Greenpoint’s McCarren Pool. Tempers within the gang are running hot, with Lou trying to keep his soldiers under control. The filmmakers follow them as they strut past razed buildings in their gang colors, leap subway turnstiles, convene a rooftop gang meeting, share brews and joints, perform some general vandalism, and celebrate Lefty’s truncated life with street fireworks.

Lefty3

That’s intercut with Sgt. Frank Santangelo, from the 75th Precinct’s youth gang task force, as he patrols the neighborhood, attempts to ‘rap’ with gang members and ventures into one of their boarded-up-building clubhouses, in hopes of quelling tensions with ‘The Crazy Homicides’ from Coney Island. Sometimes helping their community (aiding neighbors during a late-night apartment fire), other times prepping for war (a meeting with ‘The Ghetto Brothers’ to purchase pistols) and often just having everyday interactions (Louie’s gravedigger day job, arguing with girlfriends, getting seriously-ugly tattoos), it’s an intimate, unfiltered peek into ‘The Sex Boys.’

sex boys subway

Without question, the most striking moments occur an hour in, because even a crime-ridden blackout doesn’t stop these crazy Germans from venturing into the war-zone-style streets with their cameras — filming Molotov-tossing kids, ransacked stores, looters fighting each other over an armful of clothes, and the overwhelmed police precinct…Rehbein adopts a fly-on-the-wall approach, with German narration and some bizarre synth soundtrack music added in post, and they must’ve been pounding back shots of Schnaps in the editing room when their tripped-out Halloween-party/haunted-house finale was conceived. From the shocking desolation of the South Bronx, to the bustling Coney Island boardwalk after dark, to Rikers Island — it’s all captured with an outsider’s inquisitive eyeand an almost TAXI DRIVER-esque amount of nighttime urban imagery. LEFTY is sprawling and unfocused, but also absolutely fascinating. – Shock Cinema

Sex Boys Graffiti

File under Blast From The Past, Culture, Music, New York City History, New York City Street Photography, Secret History, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB, Sex