ONE CAN NOT LIVE ON PEANUT BUTTER AND WINE ALONE:
ADVENTURES AT A CANCELED ROCK FESTIVAL
copyright 1996-2006 Robb Strycharz
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 1970
More of what we didn’t know
Court Order Delays Mountaindale Rock Festival
Show's Opening Tonight Is Called Off
Promoters to Challenge Ruling Friday
By DONAL HENAHAN
A borscht circuit or rock music festivals that seemed to be developing in the Catskills after last August's Woodstock Festival suffered a new setback yesterday.
A temporary restraining order against the Mountaindale Music and Arts Festival, scheduled to open tonight on its own 700-acre tract in eastern Sullivan County, was upheld by Appellate Division Justice Michael E. Sweeney.
A recital by Van Cliburn, the pianist who was to open the 48-day festival, was called off. A spokesman for the opposition-plagued festival said the program would be rescheduled, however, if the temporary injunction were set aside on Friday when the festival's attorneys challenges it in Sullivan County Supreme Court. Mountaindale, a hamlet in the Town of Fallsburg, is 105 miles north New York City.
Concern About Morals
On Sunday, 40 miles from Fallsburg, the 54-hour Saugerties Rock Festival ended. It drew 2,000 people.
"If Sullivan County is proved wrong in court," said Seymour Krieger, attorney for the promoters, Orwell Ventures, Inc., "they will pay." Mr. Krieger said the promoters had spent $300,000 to buy 700 acres for the festival, and about that much in improving the site.
The Mountaindale festival has been fought in and out of court for several months by local citizens who contend the event would convulse the town of about 250 people and bring drugs and immorality in the manner of the Woodstock festival in Bethel, about 30 miles from Mountaindale. A group known as the Concerned Citizens of Sullivan County, led by the Rev. Joel Munzing, a Roman Catholic priest, has been a rallying point for the opposition.
The temporarily thwarted festival has advertised a wide range of attractions, including the opera stars Jan Peerce and Roberta Peters, Broadway musicals, dance recitals, and the like though August 29. The opposition calls this classical and semi-classical veneer meant to cover the real point of the festival: rock.
Among the rock performers advertised are Richie Havens, the Grateful Dead, the Band, Blodwyn Pig and John Sebastian. The promoter, Budd Filippo, said he planned to make the Mountaindale festival an annual event.
Mr. Krieger said that the he would contest the temporary court injunction on Friday “for 120 reasons- insufficient evidence, no violation of laws, attempted usurpation by the town.”
"We're trying to meet every reasonable objection," Mr. Krieger said. “The site is being honed up. Work is going right ahead in spite of the court order.” He added that about $100,000 had been spent on the electrical work alone, that miles of water and sewage pipes were in, a sewage plant built, and a national food supplier was bringing in provisions in refrigerated trucks.
Preparations Go On
Still unfinished, according to another festival spokesman, were details of such as the fencing around the 11-acre performance site itself, which was planned to accommodate 100,000 spectators.
The Woodstock Festival attracted an estimated total of 300,000 to 400,000 young people, and stirred great local resentment over the flamboyant dress and social customs of the invaders.
But Mr. Krieger, who is executive director of the Catskill Resort Association and a third generation resident who has lived in the area al his 46 years, took the long view of the controversy yesterday.
“Thirty years ago, I remember they arrested women for walking around these resort towns in shorts.”