The Hudson Project, Music & Arts Festival

Fecha Viernes, 18 Julio 2014 | Autor Escrito por Sara Woerthman | Categora News

festival-hudson-01The fields of Winston Farm, Saugerties came alive once again in devotion to music. Twenty years after Woodstock '94, the first-ever Hudson Project featured a plethora of sound: indie, alternative, electronic, hip hop and reggae. The stellar lineup, playing from July 11 – 13, included Yacht, Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, Three, !!!, Matt & Kim, Gold Panda and Moby.

The crowds' energy was palpable as we piled into a yellow school bus that voyaged through the small Catskill Mountain town of Saugerties, New York, taking us to the festival grounds. Your inner child charged forth as your mind reflected back on those youthful days of summer camp! Not to mention; I was returning to my old stomping ground (born and raised in the Hudson Valley) and happened to be surrounded by a group of my childhood friends.

The festival grounds were full of whimsy – walking in; you were amidst a psychedelically-lit Ferris wheel, circus tents and yard games. Ladies shimmering in body glitter and guys donning headdresses frolicked about, hoisting rage sticks with oversized photos of cartoons, random celebrities and bioluminescent jellyfish (amazingly beautiful). If the music wasn't enough, you could take in a host of performance artists, interactive art exhibits and workshops. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the food and libations were awesome! Local cuisine featured scrumptious vegetarian options and the cold craft beers were an absolute god-send in the summer heat.

Gazing around, it was immediately evident that this was a "next generation" music festival. We were one of the few groups of 30-somethings, with a mommy-to-be friend among us (8 months along – she's AMAZING). Hudson Project was not a Bonnaroo-esque cross-generation affair -- it was a gathering without any profound higher purpose. Contrary to the Woodstock Festival generation, whose focus and music reflected the ideals of world change, the ethos of the Hudson Project was simply "dance." And the mostly 20-something crowd, who pranced about in their elaborate costumes and body paint, lived to dance! And we were amazed at the distances some had traveled. A young man, practically twitching with excitement, boasted about his 22-hour ride up from Alabama. Others we encountered had journeyed over from the far west. It was rather surprising how few locals crossed our path.

As dusk settled, we basked in the cool breeze and, feeling refreshed, were ready for Modest Mouse. Isaac Brock commanded the stage and the group jammed out in their jilted folk-rock style, starting off with "Satin in a Coffin" and seguing into "Dramamine," "Cowboy Dan," "World At Large," "Third Planet," and "Cities Made of Ashes."

Modest Mouse was the perfect appetizer before the main course -- we were hyped and eager for our next propulsion into euphoria, the Flaming Lips. Bringing a full-on mind/body psychedelic experience, their set featured cascading strings of lights, giant dancing mushrooms, confetti explosions and, of course, Wayne Coyne's notorious hamster-ball crowd surfing. With the energy dialed way up, we danced to the sounds of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," a cover of The Chemical Brothers "The Golden Path," "Race for the Prize," "In the Morning of the Magicians," and "Do You Realize??"

No need to leave the festivities at day's end; a tent city of thousands arose where the party continued into the morning. Packed in tight, the transient community embraced one another -- strike up conversation with your neighbor and share a beer!


Saturday arrived with a vengeful sun -- our tents turning into saunas by 7:00am. Languidly, we slowly made our way to the solace of a tree's shadow and awaited the sunset performances. Rain is often a bummer during music festivals, but after a hot, sunny day, the arriving storm was a treat. When the rain subsided, we were surprised by a fireworks display blazing across the sky behind our tent city.

We headed back out to the grounds to catch Matt & Kim, quite possibly the coolest duo on earth and a total embodiment of the festival's free-spirit theme. Kim, with a permanent Cheshire cat grin, revved up the crowd with her infectious, manic energy. When she wasn't destroying her drums, Kim was climbing on her set, walking over the crowd, twerking, and getting everyone dancing. The set was an awesome combination of club hits and their own works, with covers of Salt‐N‐Pepa's "Push It," Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," Master P's "Make 'Em Say UHH," Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode," and closing out with their own peppy hit, "Daylight."

There was a huge hype about Kendrick Lamar, but the most notable aspect of his performance had very little to do with the artist and everything to do with the atmosphere. During a time when everyone is attached to their cell phone, Kendrick called out to see the display screen lights. Rather than a blue glow sea of screens, the crowd held up lighters. Again, I became immersed in nostalgia -- as a youth, fans held their lighters high, until their fingers burned. It was a beautiful nod to the prior generation.

Moby closed out the night, with a set concentrated more on his DJ skills, with old school house and electro beats. The floor was an absolute mud pit. But the ferocious energy supplied had you digging your feet into the mud, forcing you into a quasi-noodle dance, replicating those crazy blow-up sky dancers often seen outside of car dealerships. The light show's pyrotechnics illuminated the onlookers in a dreamlike aura.


Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Sunday morning we awoke, bleary-eyed, hung over and sunburnt... but content. And, being skeptical of the impending rain, we cracked open our final beers and set about packing up our gear. Smiling, we huddled together for one last snapshot and departed from our bubble of good music and free expression.

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