Clearwater Revival, 2006

Last Sunday, I drove up to Croton-On-Hudson to see this year’s Clearwater Revival. This was the 40th year of the festival, which is an offshoot of the Clearwater environmental group, started by Pete Seeger and largely responsible for the improved condition of the Hudson over the past quarter-century.

The festival is in Croton Point Park, a beautiful spot almost surrounded by the river. Even on a 95-degree day, there were plenty of cool breezy spots to relax, even a few of them where you could see the performances on the main stage. I got to see a number of great performers, plus some lesser-known singers in a small tent, and wrapped it all up with the closing festival, where I got to see Pete Seeger sing “This Land Is Your Land.”

I wrote last week about the more distasteful side of the audience there, but it of course has a good side too. Lots of musicians (though there were few or no opportunities to play music with each other, which is a shame), surprisingly good food options, and lots of boats and sailors and the stories and songs that go along with them.

Tish Hinojosa Michelle Shocked
Tish Hinojosa

I wasn’t familiar with her music, but bought two CDs after her set, including one with the song “Kitchen Table.” That one made me smile because I have a kitchen table with a long history too — it was a wedding gift to my grandparents.
Michelle Shocked

An unimpressive set. She’s more strident than genuine, too preoccupied with being cool to actually connect with the audience. A black fedora at a folk festival, on a 95-degree day? Come on.

Lucy Kaplansky Guy Davis
Lucy Kaplansky

Back with a new album after a few years off with her new (adopted) child, she was having fun and playing some great new songs. She also did a number of Johnny Cash covers including “Ring Of Fire” and “I Walk the Line.”
Guy Davis

He’s the son of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, and an outstanding blues player on both guitar and harmonica, not to speak of banjo, which he says he’s “reclaiming” for its African heritage.

Guy Davis and Pete Seeger Guy Davis and Pete Seeger
Guy Davis and Pete Seeger

Talking behind the tent where the Sloop Singers were playing. Davis has playing with Seeger since the mid-60s, and was an early member of the Sloop Singers. He was a big part of the festival.
Guy Davis and Pete Seeger

Can you share that joke?

Closing Ceremony Kids in the tree
Closing Ceremony

Atlas takes a break.
Kids in the tree

At the closing ceremony.

The Sloop Clearwater The Sloop Clearwater
The Sloop Clearwater

Out on the Hudson.
The Sloop Clearwater

Passing the closing ceremony.

Pete Seeger Banjo in action
Pete Seeger

During the closing ceremony. At 87, he’s still playing and singing and making trouble — the audience at the closing ceremony got up and moved back and fourth four times as he kept insisting that people move in closer to the stage, while the organizers tried to keep room for a puppet show that was planned.
Banjo in action

The inscription reads, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” It’s a takeoff on the sticker on Woody Guthrie’s guitar that said, “This machine kills fascists.”

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