The Clearwater Festival—officially known as Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival—will be featured in an upcoming issue of our new magazine, Music Festival Business, but here’s a visual preview of what we saw when we visited the long-running event on June 22, 2014.
Held annually in Croton Point State Park in Croton-On-Hudson, NY, about an hour north of New York City, the annual festival was originally founded in 1966 by Toshi Seeger and folk music legend Pete Seeger, her husband—both of whom passed within the last year. As a result, performances were packed with tributes to the pair and their life-long dedication to environmental education. Indeed, the festival is run by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., a non-profit that engages in environmental research, education and advocacy for protecting the Hudson River.
While its roots are in folk music, the festival offers a range of musical styles, from Americana to blues to jazz and various indigenous genres from around the world. Lake Street Dive brought its eclectic mix of jazz, 1960s pop and blues to the Rainbow Stage, the main venue onsite, via an audio system supplied by Klondike Sound, the longtime sound vendor for the festival. While many festival crews remark that they're like family, Clearwater's lives up to the claim, as many staffers and volunteers have multiple decades of service under their belts—like production manager John Doerschuk, who has been part of the team since 1979.
There’s seven stages running simultaneously at the festival, ranging from the lively Hudson Stage, seen here between the trees right on the shoreline, all the way down to the relatively simple audio needs of the Story Grove, a storytelling stage.
When Houndmouth brought its tasty, harmony-drenched rock to the Hudson Stage, the appreciative crowd included passers-by on boats anchored on the shore within the dispersion pattern of the PA, which was slightly angled out into the river. Every stage at the festival featured American Sign Language interpreters at stageside, too.
The Hudson Stage, which also served up the likes of Toshi Regon, Laurie Berkner and moe., sported a Yamaha QL5 console at FOH.
Over at the Sloop Stage, one of the highlights was Pete Seeger’s Spanish Civil War Song Legacy with Bernardo Palombo and Hudson Valley Sally, heard through a groundstacked L-Acoustics PA.
The sloop stage was mixed on a Yamaha CL5 console supplied by NJ-based Boulevard Pro.