Following a one-year hiatus, the Great Hudson River Revival is returning to Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, New York on June 17 and 18. Evolved out of a local “folk picnic” organized by Toshi Seeger and her husband Pete Seeger in 1966, the Great Hudson River Revival was first held in 1978 and is now the nation’s oldest and largest music and environmental celebration. Due to financial concerns, the festival was not held in 2016 so that the non-profit Clearwater could focus on other pressing projects as well as organizational changes.
Steve Lurie, Festival Director for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, began announcing the lineup last week. Clearwater friends and festival favorites feature prominently in the list with artists like Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Holly Near, Lake Street Dive, Los Lobos, Tosh Reagon and BIGLovely, Tom Chapin, Guy Davis, David Amram and more. Joan Osborne has been scheduled to perform a set of Bob Dylan songs in conjunction with the release of her new recording of Dylan music scheduled for release this spring. Newcomers to the festival this year include a number of artists from different corners of the globe – Ukrainian folk-fusion troupe Dakhabrakha; Israeli sisters A-WA, who combine Yemenite folk singing with electronic dance music; Puerto Rican plena and bomba group Plena Libre; Afro-Venezuelan singer Betsayda Machado and many others.
The festival once again will feature numerous environmental displays and participatory events including an activist area, a working waterfront and green living expo. Visitors to the festival can also take the opportunity to sail aboard the Clearwater as well as the schooner Mystic Whaler. In addition to the diverse musical attractions and environmental demonstrations, the festival will be home to many unique vendors and great food including a local farmer’s market.
At the Folk Alliance International Conference held in Kansas City last week, the Clearwater was doubly honored to receive the inaugural Folk Alliance Festival Award and to have the Clearwater become the namesake for this award. Future honorees of the Clearwater Award will have an enormous task to measure up to this iconic festival. The family-friendly Great Hudson River Revival features seven sustainable bio-diesel powered stages to present the live music in addition to giving attendees a valuable experience in learning about social responsibility and preserving our important natural resources. The festival also continues their history of providing equal access to all with ASL interpreters on all stages, providing large print and Braille programs and making wheelchairs available free of charge are among the amenities that make this festival enjoyable for all.
When announcing the artists for this year’s event, Lurie reminded us of Pete Seeger’s musical philosophy that has guided the festival: “Someday music will save this rainbow-colored race”. In this turbulent year of 2017, I can’t think of a more important reason or a better location to get together to celebrate cultural diversity and show support for saving our planet.
For more information about the Great Hudson River Revival and to order tickets, visit their website at www.clearwaterfestival.org .