Reviews

Clearwater Festival: 16 June 2012 - Croton-on-Hudson, NY

The 2012 Clearwater Festival brought environmental sustainability, grass roots activism and great music to a beautiful riverside park.

Clearwater Festival 2012

City: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Venue: Croton Point Park
Date: 2012-06-16

The 2012 Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival Festival took place over a picture-perfect weekend in the gorgeous Croton Point Park, just a train ride away from New York City in "upstate" Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The festival's mission to promote environmental and economic restoration to the Hudson River valley draws strong supporters and a lot of musicians. This year's two-day lineup included Ani Difranco, Alejandro Escovedo, Deer Tick and more on Sunday, but I was only able to attend the first day.

Saturday's impressive lineup included an incredibly strong showing on the main stage, one that would have kept me there all day if I had been one of the greedy folks who staked out a spot with their blankets early enough. But the festivities, food, information and family-friendly activity booths and multiple stages kept me moving across the grounds.

But I admit, the Malian desert musicians Tinariwen's hour long set did keep me by the main Rainbow stage the whole time. I hadn't seen them yet, but their last Grammy winning album Tassili was a favorite from last year, and I had to see them. (Little did I know I would be seeing them again two nights later when they taped their MTV Iggy special in NYC.) Their enchanting vocal drone had me transfixed, and when their breezey guitar music began, the day felt even brighter. Their colorful attire made them seem inconspicuous against the rainbow backdrop. I was wondering what the sign langaugage translator would do with their foreign dialect; it seemed best for her not to try, but at least she had a task when the band thanked the audience from time to time. After Tinariwen's performance, several new fans were disappointed to find the band did not have Tassili available for sale on-site.

New Orleans's dapper Preservation Hall Jazz Band followed up for a set before the, also dapper, Punch Brothers performed. Lead Brother, Chris Thile, was happy to be in the beautiful park and referenced the unique tree within sight of the stage numerous times. The band performed a set which included their dark cover of "Kid A" before transitioning into their more typical bluegrass style. Thile, referencing the tree again, noted there was nothing more beautiful than that, except for rye whiskey. This served as the perfect transition to their final song "Rye Whiskey", followed by Thile commenting that he now couldn't get the image of a giant bottle of whiskey out of his mind.

Next up was Josh Ritter backed with the Royal City Band (whose bassist had a moustache rivaling NYC's Nicky Digital). I wasn't around the stage for the whole performance, so I'm not sure if the band did "The Curse". I did find Ritter's performance to be entertaining, as did Thile who observed from the side of the stage and as did the crowd, encouraging Ritter to come back for a rare encore in tightly designed schedule. Joan Osborne, Bela Fleck (without the Flecktones) and the Guthrie Family closed out the night on the main stage.

Aside from the music, I was most impressed by the sailboat that was going out regularly. Unfortunately I didn't have time to partake in a cruise, but also at the dock was the "OurHudson Barge", a floating educational exhibit that offered information on methods to revitalize the waterfront area. I spoke with Roger Meyer for a while about the objectives of the OurHudson project (follow this link to get more information). He emphasized the importance of developing local businesses as opposed to providing tax incentives (at tax payer's expense) to encourage companies to come to the region -- especially if they end up failing. A documentary the organization has nearly completed called Hudson Rising! is expected to air on PBS in the near future, and it explores the grassroots efforts to recharge the downtown areas in riverside towns.

OurHudson's objective to shape political discussion may not be fruitful in an election year; still, their agenda is to improve and develop sustainable local economies across several themes including agriculture, transportation and education. To further this cause, the organization is setting up a Floating Expo of ships to travel up the Hudson, spreading the message in 2013. The tall ships will celebrate the area and promote "green innovation and next-generation stewardship" by facilitating public engagement. The flotilla arriving in each town will surely be a sight to see. Alongside the Clearwater festival, it will be another event to look forward to.

View a full gallery of Clearwater Festival images over at PopMatters' Facebook page!


Music

Books

Film

Recent
By the Book

Jack Halberstam's 'Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire' (excerpt)

Enjoy this excerpt of Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire, wherein Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the 20th century.

Jack Halberstam
Music

Sotto Voce's 'Your Husband, the Governor' Is Beautifully Twisted DIY Indie Folk-rock

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Gabos releases another odd, gorgeous home studio recording under the moniker Sotto Voce.

Music

Numün's 'voyage au soleil' Is a Trippy, Ambient Ride and Ambitious Debut

Eclectic instrumental trio numün combine a wealth of influences to create a vibe that's both spacey and earthy on voyage au soleil.

Music

L7's 'Smell the Magic' Is 30 and Packs a Feminist Punch

Abortion is under threat again, and there's a sex offender in the Oval Office. A fitting time, in short, to crank up the righteously angry vocals of feminist hard rock heavy hitters like L7.

Books

Can Queer Studies Rescue American Universities?

Matt Brim's Poor Queer Studies underscores the impact of poorer disciplines and institutions, which often do more to translate and apply transformative intellectual ideas in the world than do their ivory-tower counterparts.

Music

Jim White Offers a "Smart Ass Reply" (premiere)

Jesus and Alice Cooper are tighter than you think, but a young Jim White was taught to treat them as polar opposites. Then an eight-track saved his soul and maybe his life.

Music

Ed Harcourt Paints From 'Monochrome to Colour'

British musician Ed Harcourt's instrumental music is full of turbulent swells and swirls that somehow maintain a dignified beauty on Monochrome to Colour.

Music

West London's WheelUP Merges Broken Beat and Hip-Hop on "Stay For Long" (premiere)

West London producer WheelUP reached across the pond to Brint Story to bring some rapid-fire American hip-hop to his broken beat revival on "Stay For Long".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".

Culture

Plattetopia: The Prefabrication of Utopia in East Berlin

With the fall of the Berlin Wall came the licence to take a wrecking ball to its nightmare of repression. But there began the unwritten violence of Die Wende, the peaceful revolution that hides the Oedipal violence of one order killing another.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Electrosoul's Flõstate Find "Home Ground" on Stunning Song (premiere)

Flõstate are an electrosoul duo comprised of producer MKSTN and singer-songwriter Avery Florence that create a mesmerizing downtempo number with "Home Ground".

Music

Orchestra Baobab Celebrate 50 Years with Vinyl of '​Specialist in All Styles'

As Orchestra Baobab turn 50, their comeback album Specialist in All Styles gets a vinyl reissue.

Music

Hot Chip Stay Up for 'Late Night Tales'

Hot Chip's contribution to the perennial compilation project Late Night Tales is a mixed bag, but its high points are consistent with the band's excellence.

Music

The Budos Band Call for Action on "The Wrangler" (premiere)

The Budos Band call on their fans for action with the powerful new track "The Wrangler" that falls somewhere between '60s spy thriller soundtrack and '70s Ethiojazz.

Music

Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" Ruminates on Our Second-Guesses (premiere)

A deep reflection on breaking up, Nashville indie rock/Americana outfit Creature Comfort's "Woke Up Drunk" is the most personal track from their new album, Home Team.

Books

For Don DeLillo, 'The Silence' Is Deafening

In Don DeLillo's latest novel, The Silence, it is much like our post-pandemic life -- everything changed but nothing happened. Are we listening?

Music

Brett Newski Plays Slacker Prankster on "What Are You Smoking?" (premiere)

Is social distancing something we've been doing, unwittingly, all along? Brett Newski pulls some pranks, raises some questions in "What Are You Smoking?".


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.