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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Folk Festival Turns Forty

Apr 28, 2018 10:35PM

Tickets are on sale now for Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, known as the Clearwater Festival, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary June 16 and 17 on the banks of the Hudson River, at Croton Point Park in Croton-On-Hudson. The country’s oldest and largest music and environmental festival, which started as the Hudson Valley Folk Picnic, brings together major musical acts and a unique brand of green activism.

A number of Clearwater’s favorite artists will be returning this year, including The Mavericks, Ani DiFranco, Tom Paxton & The DonJuans, Tom Chapin, Joanne Shenandoah, David Amram, Josh White Jr. and The Mammals (featuring Mike + Ruthy). Artists the festival will welcome for the first time include Jeff Tweedy, They Might Be Giants, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rhiannon Giddens, bluegrass greats Hot Rize and British folk-rocker Beth Orton.

At the festival’s Green Living Expo, visitors can learn about sustainable products, services, concepts and technologies for informed lifestyle and business choices. The Discovery and Tideline tents feature Clearwater’s original hands-on environmental education programs and Hudson River research. The Environmental Action Tent highlights Clearwater’s watershed and environmental justice initiatives in our Hudson Valley communities. An expanded Artisanal Food & Farm Market offers food sourced from the Hudson Valley.

History of river advocacy

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival is produced by the nonprofit, member-supported environmental organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Inc. Founded more than 50 years ago by renowned musical artist and activist Pete Seeger, the corporation has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as a champion of the Hudson River, its tributaries and related bodies of water. All proceeds from the festival go directly to support Clearwater’s environmental education and advocacy.

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has a history of turning the next generation of environmental advocates into supporters of the organization. In order to foster continuing passion for its cause, the festival always includes emerging artists who will appeal to a younger demographic. In keeping with that strategy, this year’s lineup will include singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim, NYC-based chanteuse Margaret Glaspy, folk/bluegrass band Mipso, Latin music-inspired indie band Making Movies, indie folk band River Whyless, UK-based singer-songwriter Jalen N’Gonda and blues-country-influenced singer-songwriter Parker Millsap.

As part of the festival’s mission to present a diverse and culturally rich roster of artists from around the world, it will also present Egyptian human rights activist artist 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 greats Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience, C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and Cajun artists Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet. Visit for a complete list of performers.

All ages and abilities welcome

Since its inception as a one-day event in 1978, the festival has grown to become a destination for music fans and families alike, offering a plethora of family-oriented programming and activities and vendors for kids, including special performances on the Family Stage, juggling and roving artists, a children’s area, storytelling, river beach combing and net seining. The Clearwater Festival is wheelchair accessible, and most stage programming is staffed with American Sign Language interpreters.

Other offerings that make the event unique and memorable include the Working Waterfront, offering rides on small boats and tall ships including the sloop Clearwater and the schooner Mystic Whaler. The Handcrafters’ Village showcases more than 50 crafters and folk artists with quality handmade items, demonstrations and workshops.

This year Clearwater will offer some new ticketing options and procedures. Either Day Passes, a new option, allow visitors to purchase a single-day ticket and use it on either day of the festival. Youth Passes are reduced-priced tickets for children age 12 to 17. Children 11 and under are still free.

To purchase tickets, visit or call 888.718.4253, option 1. Clearwater members receive a 20 percent discount off regularly priced advance tickets. To become a member, visit or call the membership office at 845.265.8080, ext. 7119. For more info or to volunteer, visit Follow the Clearwater Festival on Facebook and Twitter.