Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, marking its 40th anniversary in June, will welcome Jeff Tweedy, Rhiannon Giddens, Willie Nile, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore among the first-time performers at the festival, which honors the legacy of the late folk singer and activist Pete Seeger.
The Clearwater Festival, as it’s commonly known, will be staged June 16-17 at Croton Point Park on the banks of the Hudson River, 30-plus miles north of New York City. The festival takes its name from the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, which Seeger helped launch more than four decades ago. In the mid-’60s, when the Hudson was so polluted that fish had disappeared over miles of its length, Seeger proposed “to build a boat to save the river.”? ?
Seeger, who died Jan. 27, 2014, at age 94, was a perennial performer at the event through the final years of his life. His wife, filmmaker and activist Toshi Seeger, died the year before him, on July 9, 2013, at age 91. The festival is a fundraiser for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization.
Other artists making their first appearances at the festival include bluegrass artists Hot Rize, British folk-rocker Beth Orton, the husband and wife duo The War and Treaty and the vocal group Choir! Choir! Choir!
They’ll join a lineup of artists who have previously appeared at the Clearwater Festival, including: the Mavericks, Ani DiFranco, Tom Paxton & the DonJuans, Tom Chapin, Joanne Shenandoah, David Amram, Josh White Jr., the Mammals, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Dan Zanes, the Nields, the Kennedys and The Vanaver Caravan, a dance troupe.
The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization has a mission of nurturing the next generation of environmental activists. The Clearwater Festival, likewise, draws a younger audience with emerging artists, including on this year’s bill: singer/songwriter Langhorne Slim, New York-based chanteuse Margaret Glaspy, the folk/bluegrass band Mipso, the Latin indie band Making Movies, the indie-folk band River Whyless, British singer/songwriter Jalen N’Gonda and blues-country singer Parker Milsap.
Reflecting Seeger’s own love of music from multiple cultures, the festival has booked Egyptian rights activist and singer Ramy Essam, Israeli singer-songwriter and activist Yael Deckelbaum & Prayers of the Mothers Ensemble, Venezuelan singer Betsayda Machado, Egyptian DJ and drummer Karim Nagi’s Turbo Tabla, zydeco legends Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and Cajun music greats Beausoleil with Michael Doucet.
Founded by Seeger more than 50 years ago, the nonprofit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as champion of the Hudson River.
In addition to the performances, the family-focused festival includes children’s activities, craft workshops, environmental education booths, food vendors from local farms and, notably, opportunities to briefly sail on the Hudson aboard the Clearwater and it sister schooner, the Mystic Whaler.