My Clearwater Revival

For hundreds of the volunteers who form the backbone of Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, the festival begins on Friday evening. We drive up the long, gently winding road into Croton Point Park, past meadows that cap a former landfill, past the beach and glimpses of the sloops Clearwater and Woody Guthrie moored just off-shore and past the County sign that tells would-be picnickers that the park is closed this weekend for a special event. It is late afternoon, or dusk and the anticipation is building. This weekend, we will see old friends, we will camp in the night owl (noisy) field or the quiet area, we may get wet (or sunburned), we will hear great music, we may dance a little (or a lot), we will sing, we will walk for miles, work for hours, eat great food, feel dirty and sweaty, and most likely, leave deeply gratified. And it all begins this Friday.

The festival runs all day on Saturday, June 19th and Sunday, June 20th. For those who are attending for the first time, here are a few tips:

• Don’t expect to see everything. There’s just too much going on: music, dance, storytelling, crafts, food, boats, environmental exhibits and activist booths. Use the program book to pick and choose.

• If your children are beyond the stroller age, but younger than, say 10, it helps to bring a sturdy wagon. Last year, my daughter Grace and I brought a wagon for the first time. We used it to carry our water bottles, foldable, lightweight chairs, sunblock, extra clothes, program book, etc., making it much easier to lug stuff around. When Grace got too tired, I indulged her in a ride. When it rained, I covered the whole thing with a piece of plastic, keeping our things dry.

• Prepare for the weather. Bring rain gear if there’s even the slightest chance of rain. Bring sun block and a hat no matter what. There is shade, but many of the performances take place in large sunny fields. Bring bug repellant for those evening hours when the mosquitoes emerge. Remember, this is an outdoor festival.

• Bring your own snacks and water. There’s some great food for sale and you should sample some, but there will be times when you’re far away from the food area, or just don’t feel like standing in line, and you’ll be glad you have refreshments handy.

• Obey the rules. Leave the dog at home. Recycle everything you can. Pay attention to the signs. Listen to the volunteers.

• Enjoy! Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival is the oldest and one of the largest music and environmental festivals in the country. And if you think you might like to volunteer next year, contact me for the inside scoop. You’ll make new friends and have a great time, all while supporting Clearwater’s work to protect and preserve the Hudson River and its surrounding watershed.

For more information about the 2010 Revival, including the list of performers, visit clearwaterfestival.org.

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