Throughout history, music has been a catalyst for change, a medium for protest and a way to deliver a message of hope. Clearwater’s founder, Pete Seeger, has always understood this and music and activism have been at the core of Clearwater’s culture from the very beginning. In Seeger’s capable hands, from the Forties to the present day, a concert wasn’t regarded as a one-way proceeding, but a group sing-along. Pete’s insistence that his audience sing along could be read as a larger metaphor for citizen involvement to insure a healthy functioning of democracy in America.
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater began with music as its foundation and at its core, and believes that music and the arts are a powerful way to inform and inspire participation in creating our future and the next generation of environmental leaders. Through song and participation, Clearwater works to carry forward Pete Seeger’s legacy of activism and cause music.
Concerts and Special Events
Clearwater produces a variety of musical events and concerts through out the year. In 2009 The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders celebrated Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday on a massive scale at Madison Square Garden in NYC . The concert featured over 40 artists from a wide variety of musical genres with performances by Joan Baez, Ben Harper, Ani DiFranco, Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal, Eddie Vedder and Keller Williams, and featured renditions of Pete Seeger inspired muscial treasures.
In 2011 Clearwater produced 2 benefit concerts. Generations, An Earth Day Celebration took place a Tarrytown Music Hall and featured Pete Seeger and Tao Seeger and longtime Clearwater friends David Amram, Peter Yarrow, Janis Ian, Tom Chapin, and Toshi Reagon.
The Power of Song Award Concert in October at Symphony Space in NYC honored George Wein, music impresario and celebrated American festival producer known for founding the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, and Albert Grossman. Wein also founded the Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Playboy Jazz and JVC Jazz festivals in cities around the world. The evening’s outstanding program featured Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Tom Paxton, Guy Davis, David Amram, Toshi Reagon, Loudon Wainwright III, and Richard Barone.
Great Hudson River Revival – Clearwater Festival
Each summer, Clearwater continues to bring people down to the river for the Great Hudson River Revival, or Clearwater Festival, the country’s oldest music and environmental festival. What began as riverside concerts to raise funds to “build a boat to save the river” has evolved into a weekend celebration that brings together thousands of attendees for two days of inspired music and celebration with a focus on our earth, community, and environmental stewardship. Held every June on Father’s Day weekend, the festival attracts celebrated musicians who perform in support of the Clearwater mission such as Bela Fleck, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Indigo Girls, Drive by Truckers, Cowboy Junkies, Martin Sexton, Arlo Guthrie, The Low Anthem, Billy Bragg, The Klezmatics, as well as longtime Clearwater friends like David Amram, Peter Yarrow, Janis Ian, Tom Chapin, and Toshi Reagon.
Power of Song Music Apprentices
Carrying forward Pete Seeger’s legacy, Clearwater’s Power of Song music apprenticeship program offers an interactive learning experience for students that exposes them to socially conscious music and inspires them to become active on issues that concern them. These talented young musicians with their thoughtful lyrics and powerful stage presence perform throughout the Hudson Valley and have reached thousands at concerts, festivals, community events, maritime events, theaters, retirement homes, and schools. They have also shared performance spaces with Pete Seeger, David Amram, Livingston Taylor, Peter Yarrow, Janis Ian, Jackson Browne, and more.
Music onboard the Sloop Clearwater
Chanteys and sing-a-longs have always been a tradition onboard the sloop. Every sail includes time for the crew to pull out the musical instruments and invite the passengers to join in singing traditional river songs and Hudson River favorites, such as “Sailin’ Up, Sailin’ Down”, ” The River that Flows Both Ways”, and of course, Pete Seeger favorites such as “My Dirty Stream” and “Rainbow Race.”