The legacy of the late Pete Seeger — as a musician, social activist and environmentalist — will be celebrated June 20-21 at the Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival by just-announced artists including the Mavericks, Neko Case, Guster, Ani DiFranco, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Blind Boys of Alabama, Angélique Kidjo, and more.
Seeger, who passed away Jan. 27, 2014 at age 94, was a perennial performer at the event through the final year of his life. He was pre-deceased by his wife, filmmaker and activist Toshi Seeger, who died July 9, 2013. She was 91.
The annual festival takes place at Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. on the banks of the Hudson River. It carries the name of 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.”? ?
“Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary, says, `What are you building a boat for? There’s a war on! This is a distraction” Seeger once recalled, “All I could say was, well, we’re not aiming just to sail it. We’re going to clean up the river.”? ?
In the decades since, more than a half-million children (and their teachers and parents) have sailed aboard the Clearwater, learning to love and care for the river. The result has been a political and social force which has not only cleaned up the Hudson but sent ripples of influence throughout the environmental movement worldwide, as the Clearwater inspires and educates future activists.
The festival is a fund-raiser for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization.
Last month, the Clearwater organization launched an online “Build-a-Song” project, an open invitation to any creative individuals to write a new anthem about the threat of climate change. Participants can submit verses online through March 20.
Other artists announced for the Clearwater festival bill include: Shelby Lynne, Bettye LaVette, The Pine Hill Project feat. Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, The Felice Brothers, The Lone Bellow, Todd Snider, Toshi Reagon and Big Lovely, Joseph Arthur, The Klezmatics, and veteran ’60s folk artist Tom Paxton.
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.