Couldn’t get to Coachella? Westchester has two great festivals coming your way this summer. The Clearwater Festival and the Pleasantville Music Festival are both top-notch events right in your backyard.
The Clearwater Festival
The Clearwater Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17 on the banks of the Hudson River at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson. Performers will include Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, The Mavericks, Ani DiFranco, They Might Be Giants, Rhiannon Giddens, and hundreds more.
An Environmental Twist
This two-day event, founded by the late folk legend Pete Seeger and his wife Toshi, combines musical performances and green activism. In 1966, recognizing that the Hudson River had been devastated due to years of pollution, Seeger decided “to build a boat to save the river.” He hosted small local concerts where he opened his banjo case to collect donations to build the Clearwater, a tall ship that would be a symbol of environmental advocacy.
The festival’s parent organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (“Clearwater”), pursues Seeger’s mission to protect the river. Clearwater’s grassroots efforts have resulted in the passing of landmark legislation including The Clean Water Act. Funds raised at the festival will go directly to Clearwater.
“My hope is if you’re coming for the music because you love the lineup, you check out the Clearwater information and discover that because of Clearwater’s efforts, you could swim in the Hudson now,” says festival director Steve Lurie. “Maybe you even become a member and maybe you sign a petition and maybe you also walk away as a supporter.”
Fun for the Whole family
Catering to families, a special stage will host performances for kids, juggling and roving artists, storytelling, and more. Festival-goers can visit the “Working Waterfront” and take free rides on small boats or purchase sail tickets for the tall ships.
Guests can explore the Handcrafter’s Village, the Green Living Expo, and visit the many tents and exhibitors. An Artisanal Food and Farm Market will sell food sourced from the Hudson Valley.
About twenty thousand people are expected over the course of the weekend. Ticket prices through June 15 are $68-$280 depending on whether they are day passes or weekend plus camping passes. Prices are higher at the gate. Clearwater Members receive a 20% discount off the non-member prices. Kids 11 & under are free.
The Pleasantville Music Festival is New York’s Backyard Jam
Less than a month after the Clearwater Festival, the Pleasantville Music Festival will take place on Saturday July 14th at Parkway Field in Pleasantville. Artists will include The Psychedelic Furs, The Lone Bellow, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Cracker, John Hall, Lizzie and the Makers, and many more.
This event has grown considerably since it began fourteen years ago as a small folk festival attracting about five hundred people. Upwards of 5,000 people are expected to descend upon Parkway field, setting up chairs, blankets and tents for the day.
Winners of the Battle of the Bands, a competition amongst Westchester residents 26 or younger, will perform original songs on stage and open the festival. Last year, Byram Hills High School graduate Ari Perakis and his band Riiza won and opened atthe festival.
Who is in the Crowd
“We are a music festival for people who like the idea of a music festival more so than the actual reality of a music festival,” says Pleasantville Music Festival director Bruce Figler. Mr. Figler is referring to the manageability of the festival for a family. “It’s just one day, you can park at Pace University, take the shuttle over, enjoy the music, bring your kids, and then go home. You don’t even need a babysitter.”
This contemporary rock music festival aims to appeal to the average Westchester homeowner, likely in their forties or fifties. Festival organizers strive to satisfy different elements within that demographic, whether it be people who like jam bands, acoustic music, top 40 hits, or hard rock.
“We try to arrange the lineup in such a way that everyone who comes will be able to see someone they know and like,” says Mr. Figler.
To entertain the children, there will be a kid zone with face-painting, rides and amusements. There will also be a vendor village with various merchants and a food court. Beer garden sponsor Captain Lawrence Brewing Company will serve beer to adults.
Tickets are $45; $30 for students or seniors; free for children 12 and under.
Both festivals are zero-waste events, using sustainable practices to reduce waste and protect the environment.