The Hudson Project | 07.11 – 13.2014 | Winston Farm | Saugerties, NY

The Hudson Project

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Winston Farm, Saugerties, NY
July 11-13, 2014

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Photos By: August J Heisler

Additional Photos and Words By: Justin Elliott

 

Within hours of the festival being called off negative banter hit the social networks and news spread like wild fire fueled by a steady wind, highlighting all the things “wrong” with The Hudson Project. But first, let’s talk about the good, which was abundant the first couple days of the festival.THP-FF-005_1024x683
 
The festival site and and subsequent off-site parking was only a few minutes off the interstate and easily found. And though I love a nice scenic view while going through the mountainous twists and turns on the way to some events (traveling around the country for these festivals has also caused me to really appreciate the locations more), it’s nice to be able easily arrive, unload, and get set up for the days ahead, after spending hours in a car.
 
Waking up to clear skies and a cool breeze set a great tone for the first day. Vendors were primed and ready for service. Hungry festival goers had many food options even in the early hours of day one. I took some time to walk the grounds a bit. All the camping sections were named after the Big Apple. Brooklyn this way, Manhattan that way, Queens and the Bronx just around the bend gave the farm a bit of New York flare. Too bad there was no L train, though, as walking through all the boroughs was definitely tiresome.
 
There were five stages total, three being under tents. This lead to a bit of overlap in sets, so paying attention to the schedule and picking out when you want to see who is important, to prevent missing out on any act that attracts you.
 
Highlighting someone my favorite acts: I’ll start with Atmosphere. For those unfamiliar, this indie rap duo laid the path for many underground hip hop THP-FF-141_512x768artists. Forming in the mid-nineties, always repping the southside of Minneapolis, they’ve created top-chart albums, an artist-owned record label, and a huge dedicated fan base. When they hit the stage I could see a glimpse of how they’ve grown so. Demanding the attention of everyone in front of him; Slug introduced his crew, gave props where due, interacted with the crowd, and aimed to please anyone who’s been in for the long haul. Pulling tracks from their catalog dating back to ’95 he said. Definitely had the largest draw of fans during any of the daytime sets.

 

the NEW DEAL is back! After announcing they were taking a break two years ago they left an audience, myself included, clinging on for their return to stage. Welcoming a new drummer, Joel Stouffer out of Toronto, the NEW DEAL started scraping off the rust at The Hudson Project. If you’re familiar, one could almost tell they were feeling each other out on where they wanted to go with the set. Unfortunately they only had an hour but once they found each other’s sound they took off. They tease some of their recorded work but this band thrives on improvisation. Their music flows with the crowd and vise-verse, almost directing each other it seems; the NEW DEAL throws a straight up dance party! They just announced a huge tour so if you haven’t seen these guys before do yourself a favor, find a date and venue near you, and go boogie!

 

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STS9, another band introducing a new member, Alana Rocklin, has replaced bassist and longtime frontman, David Murphy. A pretty powerful change for any band, especially for a long time presence in the EDM jam scene such as Sound Tribe. After hearing Alana slap on some string I’m compelled to say it was for the better. She seems to be a breath of fresh air for the group, her tone distinct and commanding. Clearly she knows the catalog, pulling out throwbacks like “Moonsocket” and “Monkey Music”. The Tribe set at Hudson was impressive to say the least.THP-FF-184_1024x683
 
One could go on and on with reviews of all the performers that were lucky enough to hit the stage before the weather closed in on us so in an effort to keep this readable I will sum it up: The Hudson Project was built to bring a very diverse lineup to us, the fans. Ranging from The Flaming Lips to Kendrick LamarTwiddle to Bassnectar, a Tokimonster here and a Moon Hooch there, Hudson teased all genres. And due to no Camp Bisco this year MCP Presents brought Conspirator in to fill a piece of that void. Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits recognized that I’m sure and brought some fresh baked Biscuits with him. The Flaming Lips came through with a very powerful set. Flat Bush Zombies came with a clear intention to wow the crowd; bringing some high energy hip hop also. Moby, techno god, filled the circus tent to the max to close out day two.

 

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Now, onto the “bad”…
Though meteorologists aren’t always precise, they were on point Sunday. Approx. 4:30pm the organizers of The Hudson Music Project announced that all concerts were to be delayed due to an alert from the National Weather Service of a potentially dangerous storm was closing in on Winston Farm. “No ACTION BRONSON??” I thought to myself. That was just the tip though. Minutes after the first announcement came another one: AllTHP-FF-597_1024x683 remaining acts are canceled and all patrons are to evacuate.
 
All around festival goers were in disbelief. No Bassnectar? Evacuate? What festival does that? Well, Hudson did. A majority of staff, EMS, police officers, vendors all left, leaving 20,000 people in the fields, with a sentiment of “Good Luck”, and a sense of urgency for attendees to pack their campsite and get inside their vehicles. They also shut down the shuttle service, leaving a majority of campers with no way to get to their car which was offsite a few miles away on strange, to most, roads. Anyone with onsite parking wasn’t going anywhere either. A majority of those vehicles ultimately were towed out of the field-turned-mud-pit called onsite parking.
 
For the first time in my life I was labeled a “refugee.” The American Red Cross came in and set up an aid station for festival refugees. The Hudson Music Project had abandoned us and a national non-profit came in to offer a helping hand. Some folks went fourteen or so hours without food or water due to conditions while tow trucks and tractors tried to make their way through to their vehicles. Like many I used an inflatable mattress to raft my gear around the flooded out bridge that everyone had to at one point walk over to enter the festival grounds– a refugee I was.
 
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All that being said, when Hudson and mother-nature gave us lemons, many of us made lemonade in the form of mud slides and rain dance parties; festival shenanigans everywhere. Sharing with and caring about your neighbor was the theme for the final night. Lesson learned Hudson, and I will always come more prepared for unlikely scenarios like we had over the course of the weekend. And for what it’s worth it’s been twenty years since an event of this caliber was hosted at Winston Farm, the last being ’94 Woodstock. MCP couldn’t predict or control the weather factor and as a result the powers to be at The Hudson Music Project are refunding portions of ticket costs and reaching out to their fan base in an effort to make next year’s event better for us, THE FANS!
 
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…:: August J ::..
…:: Justin Elliott ::…
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