On the last weekend of July, 1970, the Powder Ridge Ski resort had decided they wanted to emulate the scene that took place the previous summer on Max Yasgur's farm in usptate New York and stage their own version of Woodstock.
The line up of musicians scheduled to perform, while not quite as extensive as Woodstock, was nonetheless impressive, pretty much a who's who of popular bands from that era:
- 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
Unfortunately, the Middlefield townsfolk were not going to be quite as amenable to the notion of having long hair, drug crazed hippie freaks marauding across their lawns, and more importantly to this community, through their apple orchards. I'm sure the Lyman Orchards owners heavily influenced the decision to have the event cancelled just days before it was supposed to begin.
Side note- I have first hand experience that the task of finding your way out of those orchards while lysergically enhanced, is nearly impossible. Everything looks exactly the same, I'm not sure how long I wandered aimlessly through the MacIntosh maze, but eventually I started to contemplate how many green apples per day I would have to consume in order to stay alive.
Well the event may have been cancelled but the refugee like trek of rock fans from all over the country had already begun, so despite the lack of music, 30,000 people still showed up at Powder Ridge, and with no form of entertainment available other than radio and tape players, turned the event into a 3 day drug crazed zombie apocalypse.
Only one of the scheduled artists decided to show up, folksinger Melanie.She waded right into the middle of the madness, plugged her microphone and amp into the outlets of a Mister Softee truck, and thoroughly entertained the crowd that had gathered around her. I was already a fan of Melanie based on her Woodstock inspired hit "Lay Down(Candles in the Rain) from the previous year, but now I was transformed into a rabid fan, and for the next 5 years, my girlfriend and I followed her all over the New England, even attempting an ill fated trip to New Jersey in a Nor'easter to see her. That didn't work out quite so well.
So anyhow, it seems like a guilty little pleasure only because no one else I knew liked Melanie, Barbara and I were out there alone and stranded on Melanie Island.
In retrospect, Melanie's unusual vocal style is now somewhat the norm for many of the indie type female singer/songwriters of today such as Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson.
So my guilty little pleasure is Melanie Safka, but instead of being guilty, I just like to think of it as being ahead of my time.