LIVE: Hudson Music Festival, 8/10-12/12

Young Paris (photo by Tim Livingston)
Young Paris (photo by Tim Livingston)

Photographs by Tim Livingston, Ruby, Stanley Johnson and Sara Ayers

The second annual Hudson Music Festival took over downtown Hudson for three days earlier this month, and it seemed as though there was music everywhere you looked – in the parks, in the restaurants, in the art galleries, in the parking lots and sometimes even in the middle of the streets. Folk, hip-hop, blues, rock, funk, country, punk, jazz and just about everything in between…

Some torrential rain made the outdoor Saturday sessions something of a washout, but even then there was plenty of good listening to be had at numerous indoor venues, especially the high-profile showcases at Club Helsinki and Basilica Hudson.

On Sunday, the weather was absolutely perfect, but unfortunately, the crowds were pretty thin. In the courtyard in front of a very cool antique shop, Lady Moon crooned her way through a batch of impressively soul-soaked original tunes, as well as solid cover of the classic “Stormy Weather,” while her band, the Eclipse, made sure the previous day’s storm clouds didn’t return.

Uptown at the 7th Street Park, Forever Autumn eased through their acoustic-doom styling in the mid-day sun, guitarist-vocalist Autumn Ni Dubhghaill and a cellist conjuring up some unholy sonic melding of “Broken English”-period Marianne Faithfull and Tom Waits.

At American Glory’s Blues, Brews & BBQ tent on Warren Street, the New York Funk Alliance churned through some vintage ’60s and ’70s nuggets, while we sipped on refreshingly cold, locally brewed Chatham Blonde Ale.

We did a lot of window shopping, poked our heads in a few art galleries, browsed around the Spotty Dog Books & Ale (our first time there, I’m embarrassed to admit, but certainly not our last), ran into quite a bunch of old friends, bought an arm-load of small-press anthologies at the Hudson Opera House book sale (five books for a buck!) and finally wrapped up the day with a post-Hudson Music Fest after-party at Dennis Herbert’s Folk Art Gallery with some good food, some sparkling wine and some equally sparkling conversation.

Tim Livingston’s review and photographs of Kris Perry’s “Machines”
Greg Haymes’ story and Sara Ayers photographs of the preview of the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art at Nippertown
Rudy Lu’s photographs of the Hudson JazzWorks concert at Albany Jazz

The Last Conspirators @ Club Helsinki (photo by Ruby)
The Last Conspirators @ Club Helsinki (photo by Ruby)
The Summit Five (photo by Stanley Johnson)
The Summit Five (photo by Stanley Johnson)
Lady Moon
Lady Moon and the Eclipse (photo by Sara Ayers)
@ the Blues, Brews & BBQ extravaganza in the American BBQ tent.
NY Funk Alliance @ the Blues, Brews & BBQ extravaganza in the American Glory tent (photo by Sara Ayers)
Erin Harkes and Blaze (photo by Stanley Johnson)
Erin Harkes and Blaze (photo by Stanley Johnson)
Wyld Blu (photo by Sara Ayers)
Park Duo
Forever Autumn (photo by Sara Ayers)
Sly Fox & The Hustlers (photo by Tim Livingston)
Sly Fox & The Hustlers (photo by Tim Livingston)
Stefan Jesse  (photo by Stanley Johnson)
Stefan Jesse (photo by Stanley Johnson)
1 Comment
  1. Stanley Johnson says

    A few requests for next year from a festival addict. Please highlight on the programs the locations of public restrooms or rent a few port-a-potties. Please note which entertainment venues are free and which expect “donations”. Please bring the tents closer together: The event was so stretched out that we would have had to return to the car and look for parking spots further down the street. Instead we didn’t bother because it would have wasted too much time. Please consider a few more food vendors or highlight in the program which restaurants would actually be open during the festival. Or maybe better, like in Schenectady recently, have food vendors offer things inside some of the many shops that were open. It’s great having so much variety in entertainment, but it would be better, as during Saratoga’s sucessful Hat’s Off and Final Stretch street festivals or at moe.down, having fewer bands do multiple sets. Maybe arrange the fest in some kind of circle or connected route, as does Mountain Jam, the Troy River Street Fest and The Old Songs Fest, so the same territory can be repeated in a shorter period of time. Or perhaps a shuttle bus to three or four central sites (we had to make an effort to actually see the Hudson River, which most communities would consider a major tourist attraction). Frankly, I felt bad for several performers who were performing for no one but themselves until we came along. If this sounds like a lot of crabbing, remember that this is Hudson, not Albany and definitely not NYC (although some of the antique dealers seem to labor under this illusion). It seems that the goal ought to be to get visitors to come and return, especially for next year’s fest, which could have the same crowd potential as the Troy fest or even, shudder, the Larkfest, which this year has the potential to be too damn big again. We had a good time this year in Hudson, but we could have had a great time, and that’s why I’m writing this. Some of this might also be applicable to the brou-ha-ha over September 8 in Albany, where competing events could instead be united by buttons and shuttle buses, sort of like First Night. Oh yeah, Albany kind of blew that one already…Well, Saratoga still does it. What do you think?

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