By Miriam Longobardi
The only thing better than great live music is great live music outdoors on a sunny day, relaxing in your lawn chair with a cold beverage in your hand looking forward to nonstop tunes for the entire day.
At the Pleasantville Music Festival, after I stake out a strategic spot near the main stage with easy access to the Beer & Wine Garden, I ease into the day by soaking up sun while I peruse the line-up of bands on the various stages. There is the main stage where the more well-known bands perform. The Beer & Wine Garden also has a stage and between acts on the main stage there is always a band playing there to keep the party rolling. Follow your nose and ears toward the Village Stage, located behind the bleachers conveniently flanked by local food and merchandise vendors. That stage features ongoing regional and local acts, many recognizable to anyone familiar with the Westchester music scene as well as talented newcomers.
Each stage has its own line-up of performers and I plan my day accordingly. As you tent-hop your way past the Village Stage through the vendor area you will find bouncy castles, kiddie rides, and fun for younger guests, and the festival air abounds. The music featured is an upbeat mixture of rock, blues, pop, and reggae and is representative of major national acts as well as the aforementioned regional and local talent. Each artist is hand selected from hundreds of submissions and is guaranteed to please. The Pleasantville Music Festival is sponsored by 107.1, the Peak radio station as well as many other local sponsors. The Festival culminates with headliners performing on the main stage after sunset and into the evening and my well-placed chair is perfectly positioned to enjoy the finale.
The only thing that tops one day of music and fun is two days and that’s exactly what you’ll get from the Clearwater Music Festival at Croton Point with the added benefit of knowing you’re supporting a worthy cause. This event raises money for the Clearwater Environmental Organization, founded in 1969 by folk music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger, who will be at the festival. Seeger’s organization features the majestic sloop The Clearwater which people may ride during the festival as well The Mystic Whaler, small boats and tall ships that will also be available, a great way to enjoy the beautiful waterfront during all the weekend’s festivities. The environmentally conscious theme of The Clearwater Music Festival carries over to the powering of the seven stages, all of which are either solar powered or use biodiesel fuel. There is an activist area where people can learn how to get more involved and what they can do to help protect our local environment as well as a Green Living Expo that teaches about products, services and technologies that can inform lifestyle and business choices.
This year’s festival features over 100 bands performing on seven stages, including stages for kids, a dance stage, and many large stages with all types of music being performed, including international acts. Family oriented, in addition to the music choices there is a plethora of roving jugglers and artists, face painters, a shady storytelling area, and even a musical petting zoo! The Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, a contemporary mask and puppet theater will be performing along the waterfront throughout the weekend. In addition to an expanded Artisan and Farm Market with food supplied by local vendors and locally sourced farm products, there are artisan and craft expositions, demonstrations and workshops. All these things while you’re surrounded by musical talents too numerous to list but be sure to visit the website below for an up-to-date list of artists scheduled to perform.
Among the milestones being celebrated at this year’s festival is Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday and Arlo Guthrie and the Guthrie Family will be performing. Also celebrating milestones are The Preservation Hall Jazz Bands 50th Anniversary and the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus’ 25th Anniversary. And let’s not forget that Pete Seeger himself just turned ninety! You simply can’t miss out on all this celebrating in the company of legendary artists all the while supporting environmental education, advocacy and research to help protect and preserve our majestic Hudson River.