Untitled Powder Ridge Festival documentary (2023)


Sex, Drugs, NO Rock ‘N’ Roll…

 

A feature-length documentary on the greatest music festival… that never happened. The lineup included Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, Van Morrison, Jethro Tull, Richie Havens, Melanie, Grand Funk Railroad, Chuck Berry, The Allman Brothers Band, Joe Cocker, Little Richard, Fleetwood Mac, and Eric Burdon & War.  It was going to be the next Woodstock, John Hanley was even brought in to do the sound.

But there was a problem. The festival was scheduled to take place at the bottom of the slopes of a small ski resort known as Powder Ridge in Middlefield, Connecticut; but the tiny town, known for its apple orchards and gun scope manufacturing, wanted nothing to do with the festival. A court injunction was obtained by the residents of Middlefield the week before the festival was set to begin, which was supposed to put an end to it all.

Except the promoter never bothered telling the musicians or the 40,000 plus ticket holders. They continued to hint that there was still a chance the festival would happen – after all, Woodstock was almost cancelled, too. So on July 31st, 1970, even though the local and state cops could certainly turn the bands away, they were no match for the tens of thousands of kids hell bent on reliving Woodstock. But with no music or food, the bored concert goers turned to sex and drugs. A lot of sex and drugs. And embarrassed cops standing around with their arms folded.

It’s a classic story of the establishment versus the anti-establishment, loaded with everything that made the era great: free love, free-flowing drugs, public nudity, the mob, pink suitcases full of cash, and Melanie sneaking in and performing from power provided by the generator of a Mister Softee ice cream truck… which of course lead to the arrest of John Hanley.

Long before the disaster known as the Fyre Festival, there was Powder Ridge.

 

Written & Directed by Gorman Bechard

Produced by Gorman Bechard, Sophia Rokas

Edited by Sydni Frisch

Music by Dean Falcone