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Regents Discourage Blues Festival

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Regents Discourage Blues Festival

University students and other youths who are planning a second Blues Festival, similar to the one held in Ann Arbor last August, received some strongly discouraging words but no firm restrictions yesterday from the U-M Board of Regents.

Evidently as a result of their meeting Wednesday night with city and state police commanders, the regents unanimously approved this statement:

“In this period of violence we are seriously concerned about the large numbers of people who will be gathered here if the Blues Festival, as presently planned for Aug. 7, 8 and 9, 1970, continues.

“We recognize that the respective boards of the League and the Union have been delegated the power to approve events of this kind, and that they have exercised a judgment in favor of the festival. We understand also that the city has given the necessary authorizations.

“We, nevertheless, offer to them our advice and counsel that the risks inherent in gathering a crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 (‘and maybe 30,000,’ Regent Paul G. Gobel interjected), a large share of whom will come from outside the area, outrun the benefits to be gained. We would, therefore, urge them to reconsider.”

The proposed Blues Festival would be held on U-M property known as Huron flatlands, adjacent to Huron High School, as a separate event from the amplified rock concerts other local groups held last summer and wish to repeat this year.

Sponsors of the proposed Blues Festival are the boards of governors of the Michigan Union and Michigan League, the University Activities Center, and Canterbury House.

Regent Gertrude V. Huebner, R-Bloomfield Hills, commented that as a member of the league’s board of governors, she previously endorsed the Blues Festival plans “under happier circumstances than now exist.”

A hint of doubt as to whether the resolution approved yesterday will affect the festival plans was voiced by Regent Robert J. Brown, R-Kalamazoo, who said: “The community is apprehensive. If the various boards decide to go ahead with this, at least we’re on record that we’re apprehensive, too.”