It Happened At Woodstock
File under SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 9, 2015
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.”
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 29, 2014
Calvert DeForest (July 23, 1921 – March 19, 2007), also known by his character Larry “Bud” Melman, was an American actor and comedian, best known for his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman.
Calvert DeForest as Larry “Bud” Melman giving hot towels out at the Port Authority as people get off the bus. Nov. 16, 1983
Late Night with David Letterman, Custom Made Show #2 (1984). Dave puts Larry in a bear suit and sends him down the hall to get change.
David Letterman pays tribute to the late Calvert Deforest (aka Larry “Bud” Melman)
Little has been published about his early life. He was born to Calvert Martin DeForest, M.D., a physician who died in 1949, and Mabelle (Taylor) DeForest. He was a cousin of actor DeForest Kelley of Star Trek fame, and Bebe Daniels, a silent film star who survived the introduction of sound. Radio pioneer Lee De Forest was Daniels’s second cousin. The exact family connection of Lee De Forest to Calvert DeForest is unclear.
DeForest attended Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. He worked for many years for the large pharmaceutical company Parke Davis, which was later acquired by Pfizer. He had aspirations of acting but was discouraged by his mother, who was briefly an actress herself. After her death in 1969, DeForest did part-time backstage work, which eventually led to acting work.
He is credited with four films from 1972 to 1982 and, after his first appearance with David Letterman, appeared in 15 other films or television shows.
The Associated Press noted: “DeForest’s gnomish face was the first to greet viewers when Letterman’s NBC show debuted on February 1, 1982, offering a parody of the prologue to the Boris Karloff film Frankenstein. ‘It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life,’ he once said of his first Letterman appearance.”
The Melman character also opened Letterman’s first CBS show under his own name, but as essentially the same character, when Letterman moved from NBC to CBS in 1993. The name change was made because the character of “Larry ‘Bud’ Melman” was considered the intellectual property of NBC. Melman also appeared as “Kenny The Gardener”. He continued to appear on Letterman’s show until his 81st birthday in 2002 before retiring from acting. DeForest often “drew laughs by his bizarre juxtaposition as a Late Show correspondent at events such as the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway and the Woodstock anniversary concert that year.” One of DeForest’s more memorable skits came on Letterman’s May 13, 1994, show. The host stated Johnny Carson would announce the evening’s Top 10 list, at which point DeForest, as Melman, appeared as “Johnny Carson.” On DeForest’s exit, the real Johnny Carson appeared in what would prove Carson’s last television appearance. DeForest was also noted for his remote interviews in which he would ask the interviewee a question, but pitch the microphone to the interviewee too quickly, resulting in a fade out of the last part of the question.
Letterman noted after DeForest’s death: “Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself: a genuine, modest and nice man. To our staff and to our viewers, he was a beloved and valued part of our show, and we will miss him.” When asked how he’d like to be remembered, DeForest responded “Just being able to make people laugh and knowing people enjoyed my humor. I also hope I haven’t offended anyone through the years.”
He was co-host (in charge of the digital switcher) on the local SF Bay Area radio program, 10@10, on KFOG-FM with Dave Morey.
In 1989, he appeared in the Special Ed video for the song “ ” as the villainous Dr. Norecords.
In 1994, he wrote a humor book called Cheap Advice.
DeForest also appeared on the hit albums Americana and Ixnay on the Hombre by The Offspring, doing some of the voices that can be heard before and after certain tracks. In late March 2007, a 20-minute clip of DeForest recording the voices for their album was posted on The Offspring’s website.
He appeared as one of the clubhouse gang in an episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
After years of poor health, DeForest died at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York, on Long Island, on March 19, 2007. Per his request, no funeral services were held; he was cremated and his remains were interred at Pinelawn Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York. By all press accounts, he left no surviving relatives.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on July 20, 2013
Nobody for President!
Nobody keeps all campaign promises
As you read this, Nobody is in Washington working for you
I believe that Nobody should have that much power
I want Nobody to run my life
Nobody bakes Apple Pie better than my mom
as told by Wavy Gravy
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on October 4, 2012
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on March 21, 2012
Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943, Denton, Texas) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on February 14, 2012