The music festival as we know it today has its roots in the Hudson Valley. And while the producers of the Hudson Project, which comes to Winston Farm in Saugerties from July 11 to 13, acknowledge the area’s rich musical history, they’re more interested in carving out a history of their own than in becoming a part of the past.
“It’s interesting,” said Kevin Earle, marketing director of MCP Presents, the Denver-based promoters putting on the Hudson Project. “The area is storied in the jam-band scene, but at the time of the Woodstock Festival, that was the cutting-edge music. It wasn’t called ‘jam-band’ music or classic rock as we know it now. We really believe that with the lineup we have, we’re on the cutting edge of all kinds of musical styles, as well as having some classics in there.”
The lineup is eclectic, with nods to electronica, indie, hip-hop, soul and even the jam-band scene. While Mountain Jam, the ten-year-old festival that takes place at the base of Hunter Mountain, has increasingly expanded its horizons across multiple genres, Earle said that the Hudson Project is geared toward a decidedly younger demographic. “Mountain Jam is a fabulous festival, but it caters to a more traditional and older school clientele and type of music,” he said. “We believe that we represent the younger generation and new, up-and-coming music that’s indicative of that.”
That up-and-coming music includes hip-hop sensation Kendrick Lamar, electronic deejay and producer Bassnectar, indie-rock heroes Modest Mouse and psych-rock giants the Flaming Lips. The undercard is no less eclectic, with Holy Ghost! Matt & Kim, !!!, Flying Lotus, Dr. Dog, Tokiomonsta, STS9 and more acts appealing to a broad range of tastes.
“We’re firm believers that not any one person listens to any one style of music,” said Earle. “Electronic music is the flavor of the day, and there’s a lot of really fantastic electronic music artists out there. But going to some of these major EDM festivals, you hear the same rhythms and the same beats, and eventually the same songs over and over. That’s not really our cup of tea. We listen to hip-hop, we listen to Modest Mouse. We believe in diversity in life and in musical tastes. It’s amazing when you put together this many styles and genres in one location and see the different kinds of people that come out to it.”
Another thing that the Hudson Project has in common with Coachella, Bonnaroo, MCP-produced festivals like Counterpoint and Camp Bisco, and even Mountain Jam is the availability of on-site camping. “That creates a totally different vibe,” said Earle. “[Non-camping] festivals [like the New York City-based Governor’s Ball] are great as well, but you come in, you go to the show and you leave. There’s no real sense of community, and it’s a completely different experience when you’re living on the land with fellow festivalgoers for several days in a row.”
Earle thinks that the experience will be enhanced by the setting. “Finding out it was the old Woodstock ’94 site was extremely attractive – to know the land was viable and could hold a festival of the size and caliber we’re trying to do,” said Earle. “And going out and visiting the site and the area and seeing the natural beauty of the land; it was just a win/win. The close proximity to all the major metropolitan areas, especially New York City, also makes it a really attractive place.”
Tapping into the musical history of the region is MCP’s relationship with Woodstock Festival co-creator Michael Lang, who Earle said has served as an advisor to the Hudson Project. “It has been fantastic,” said Earle. “He’s a legend in the industry. He’s a champion of the area, of the property and of music festivals as a whole. He’s been giving us input when we’ve asked, but he’s been hands-off for the most part. He’s there as a consultant when we need him, but realizes this is our show and is here for support.”
People attending the festival each day will arrive in a variety of ways, including shuttles from New York City and other locations. MCP has been working to minimize the projected traffic congestion. The daily attendance expectation is for approximately 20,000 festivalgoers: fewer than ten percent of the crowd that attended Woodstock ’94.
In addition to the larger stages, Earle said that a local stage in the center of the field will feature music from around the Hudson Valley and New York City. Artisanal food and local craft beer will be woven into the fabric of the festival, as well as art installations and interactive experiences.
Three-day passes to the Hudson Project currently cost $199 for general admission, $229 for general admission plus camping. Those prices will rise to $225 and $255 respectively at an as-yet-unspecified date. Three-day VIP tickets plus camping cost $499, while three-day platinum VIP-plus-camping tickets go for $799. Single-day general admission tickets cost $95, while single-day VIP tickets cost $175. There are a wide range of parking and travel passes and group camping rates, as well as various “glamping” options for pre-pitched luxury tents.
For more information on the Hudson Project, visit www.hudsonmusicproject.com.