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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Who Played at the Piper Rock Festival?

“There was a big rock concert just outside of Newton Falls in 1970. Who played there?” Most of the Newton Falls Public Library staff was surprised to hear that there was a concert here almost 40 years ago. However, one staff member, upon hearing the question, complained “I wasn’t allowed to go!”

Our Local History Room volunteer examined the Newton Falls Heralds, and found that it was held on May 24, 1970 at the Lightner Farm on old State Route 534. There were no articles prior to the event, but there was much controversy afterwards. The May 27, 1970 Herald reported that over 10,000 people came. It was referred to as a “lark in the mud” and that there was “skinny dipping in the Mahoning River [pg. 10].” The June 3 and 17, 1970 editions both had front page articles about concerns of its being repeated and seeking to ban future concerts.

Searching online for concerts in Ohio on that date, we discovered some interesting things. The concert named was the Piper Rock Festival. Originally it was to be held at Peace Park, north of Akron []. The poster listed Rascals, Canned Heat, Cold Blood, Byrds, Smith, Glass Harp, and Marble Cake. We thought that it was possibly moved because of the shootings at Kent State University. Both Dates in Rascals History [] and Sickthingsuk, the largest source of Alice Cooper information on the net said he performed that day at the festival which was held at Nelson Ledges Raceway. Apparently the promoters moved it a second time. We could add Alice Cooper to our list of performers.

The blog, AkroClevKent - January 19, 2005 has The Mystery of Piper Rock. The blog is filled with interesting remembrances of the two day event. Additional bands and performers listed are Barnstorm (or Barnyard), Bob “the Bear” Hyte, Blind Owl, Pig Iron, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and Gayle McCormick. According to the blog article, Canned Heat did not set up because of the wet conditions and the Rascals canceled.

1 comment:

James Cowan said...

I attended the Peace Rock a Festival when I was 16. Black Sabbath also performed and opened with Iron Man. I helped push Kenny Rodgers and the First Edition van out of the mud. They performed their hit Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town. When I returned for my car tripping my brains out it had been towed. I didn't have the $$$ to get it out of impound and the cop's let me sleep in the Newton Falls jail until my funds arrived the following day.