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Pete Seeger honored at Clearwater festival

Pete Seeger and his banjo 2009
Pete Seeger and his banjo 2009
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Folk singer-songwriter and activist Pete Seeger was honored on Saturday at the first Clearwater Festival since his death.

The founder of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater passed away in January at the age of 94. During the weekend of June 21-22, Clearwater celebrates its annual music and environmental festival. Eventually, Pete Seeger memorable life was celebrated during the first day of the event. Grammy winners folk artists Tom Paxton and Tom Chapin among others performed on Saturday highlighting the banjo and covering songs from The Weavers and Almanac Singers, bands founded by Seeger.

Over 100 artists in seven stages and about 25,000 spectators are gathering to enjoy two days of music and family activities at Croton Point Park in Weschester County, New York. The Mavericks and Lucinda Williams are among the performers.

The festival was originally founded by Pete Seeger as a folk music picnic with the purpose of raising funds “to build a boat to save the river.” In the mid 60's the Hudson river ecosystem was basically dead, at a point there was no maritime life whatsoever and the water was extremely contaminated. These incidents captivated the attention of Seeger who in an urge to clean it up and bring back life started a series of nomadic style concerts alongside the river. Pete and his friends performed dockside the Hudson literally passing his banjo case to collect donations. Thus, 40 years later the festival has grown into the country's largest environmental celebration. The Sloop Clearwater is a world renowned educational ship which along with The Mystic Whaler spend the spring conducting award winning educational programs for students of all ages.

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival is produced by the nonprofit, member-supported, environmental organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. All proceeds go directly to support Clearwater’s environmental research, education and advocacy efforts to help preserve and protect the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as communities in the river valley. Learn more at