Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Down by the River

I'm back from 7 days doing sailing/environment education with the Clearwater Foundation and 3 days at the Hudson River Revival (a.k.a. Clearwater) Festival.

Every day aboard the Mystic Whaler with Captain John, First Mate Pat and crew doing sail/art/history/water testing/biology/navigation training and at the festival were unique and wonderful but the absolute highlight was coincidentally being moored in Beacon the evening the city honored Pete and Toshi. As a part of the ceremony Pete sang three songs. I of course joined in, which is nothing out of the ordinary at a Pete concert, but because it was in the city council chambers I guess others were not so inclined. Afterwards in the lobby, about to meet him in person I was apprehensive what to say, instead he approached me, hand outstretched, and with a twinkle in his eyes said "thank you for singing, you were the leaven that made the bread rise...." (which he also uses in the introduction to "Rise Up Singing") but nonetheless I was floored!

View the Pete Seeger / Forrestall 4th grade (with Dan Einbender and Terry Udell) concert here (starts at about 18:00).

Read the proclamation at the end of this post.

Read festival tradional media and blog accounts and view pictures here, here and here.

The festival itself is one of the greenest I have attended. Some observations you may wish to share with other festival organizers:

  1. Separate, clearly marked barrels for trash and recyclables.
  2. At each set break, stage announcement to remind all to pick up around their seating areas and on the grounds and use the recycling barrels.
  3. Provide soy-based utensils and recycled paper plates and napkins for the volunteer food tent, green room and public dining areas.
  4. Provide composting stations for food waste at the volunteers dining area and food court; staff with volunteers to help patrons use the correct barrels. (Keeping garbage out of the trash in festival camping areas during the heat of Summer is more sanitary and reduces the fly population).
  5. Require food vendors to use soy-based utensils and paper cups (no plastic).
  6. Registering with Zimride and associating the application to its Facebook fans page.
  7. All stages were powered by either solar or bio-diesel generators (which are extremely quiet, I'd say at least 50% quieter than regular diesel and 75% quieter than gas).
The Clearwater Festival was very easy to get to by public transportation. One can take one of several buses from Boston to NYC (I took Fung Wah , an experience in itself), then the subway to Grand Central to the Metro North Railroad. The festival provided a free shuttle service between the Croton train station and the grounds.

Mark your calendars to attend the next Hudson River Revival Festival, but you can get involved with the Clearwater organization now.



Pete and Toshi Seeger Honorary Residentship

Whereas the following statements in this proclamation are known to be true:

Pete Seeger has international distinction as an American folk music singer and songwriter, was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1994, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, won his first Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1997, won the prestigious 2009 Freemuse Award, won his second Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2009, and has been honored by the forty fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Pete Seeger has inspired the universal values of peace, justice and freedom for millions of people throughout the world, in the songs he has written “If I Had a Hammer”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”. Pete has generously passed on his appreciation of music and the environment to Beacon school children though classroom and auditorium sing-a-longs.

In 1968 Pete founded the sloop Clearwater which has reached international recognition for brining attention to the environmental cleanup of the Hudson River and has been an inspiration for the environmental movement all over the globe. On this historic day, an agreement will be ratified for the Beacon Harbor to be the home port of the Sloop Clearwater and for the White House of the University Settlement Camp to be the permanent Headquarters of the Clearwater organization. It is because of Pete and Toshi’s fondness for the University Settlement Camp that this location was selected.

Pete and Toshi Seeger worked together with the Beacon community to reclaim a waste site on the Hudson River into a picturesque place now known as the Riverfront Park. Pete and Toshi are vital members of the Beacon Sloop Club and participate in yearly riverfront cleanups, projects, festivals and activities. Pete and Toshi frequently attend events at the Howland Center and participate in Martin Luther Day Celebrations throughout the city. Always together, Pete and Toshi are a couple that exemplify the commitment to marriage, shared values and a life long partnership.

Therefore be it resolved that on this the Fifteenth Day of June in the year two
thousand and nine, on behalf of the Council of the City of Beacon and its residents, we hereby proclaim Pete and Toshi Seeger to be honorary residents of the City of Beacon.

Honorable Steven K. Gold, Mayor

Provided by Colleen Swift, Executive Assistant to Mayor Steve K. Gold, used with permission.

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