ELLIOT STEPHEN COHEN
"Dear friends; all of you good folks at today's festival; I'm sorry I cannot be with you today," read Clearwater chairperson Dr. Barbara Fleischer onstage in Long Branch, from a letter sent by the iconic music legend.
"I'm aged ninety-four, and I cannot do what I once did. I hope all of you will sing..and the voices of The New Jersey Friends of Clearwater will resound in the skies! Love to you all- Old Pete Seeger."
With perfect weather and a truly spectacular beach and ocean in the background, there was plenty of great music and food at the eight hour event. While many environmenal concerns have been the backbone of the Clearwater organization made famous by Seeger through his diligent efforts to clean up his beloved Hudson River, this year's theme was "Superstorms, Droughts, Melting Ice Caps- Fight Climate Change."
Four stages featured such talented singer-songwriters as James Durst, Ingrid Heldt, Spook Handy, Tommy and Abby Anton, and Jan Christensen who was making his 32nd consecutive New Jersey Clearwater appearance.
The day's events came to a near rocking end with the high energied band Goldenseal headed by the charismatic Joe Hughes. Then many of the day's performers gathered onstage for a thoughtful twelve song encore, ending the long day's proceeding in a manner that would have made Seeger proud.