Turner Falls International Pop Festival August 1970

Turner Falls International Pop Festival August 1970
Authored By John Nicholson

Famously, this was a festival that never was.

Due to be held Sat Aug 08, 1970 - Sun Aug 09, 1970 in the Arbuckle Mountains, Davis Oklahoma. The promoters had put together a strong two day line-up. Interestingly you couldn’t buy a ticket for one day, you had to buy it for both days for $12.50.

Bands booked: Aphro-dity, Bloodrock, Courtship, Heavy Sugar, Isrofel. lIZE, Judd Mason, Proffit, Pacific Gas & Electric, Soul Purpose, Sugar Loaf, Sweet Smoke, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Zephyr

With 30,000 tickets sales, it was looking like a good time was due to be had with a lot of anticipation for seeing Tommy Bolin’s band Zephyr all the way from Colorado. But a month before it was due to start, it was banned on health and safety grounds. Even so, The Man still feared an influx of undesirables and Gov. Dewey Bartlett (great old-fashioned name) sent 300 National Guard troops to the site in the Arbuckle Mountains, in the southern part of the state, and a district judge ordered the Turner Falls Park to be closed to avert trouble. They assumed there’d be trouble, of course, they always did, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. 

Helmeted highway patrolmen diverted all traffic away and the fest was definitely off, man. Bummer. 

“Maybe I'm old fashioned but I don't think drugs, nudity, free love and lawlessness are needed to have a good time over the weekend,” Governor Bartlett said, his fevered imagination no doubt dwelling a little too much on the very thought of the beautiful people indulging in nudity and free love. The term free love always makes me laugh, would it have been better to pay for the love? 

Once again we saw the genuine fear the authorities had towards festivals and about hippies and freaks and longhairs. Fear that was totally overblown and sometimes hysterical. These were ,after all, their own children. 

The New York Times reported that 12 arrests were made for “violations included possession of marijuana, mutilation of an American flag and possession of concealed weapons. That sounds like a Saturday night party to me!

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