CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - It's been 25 years since Peg Seip of Montclair, N.J., last attended Clearwater's annual Great Hudson River Revival Music & Environmental Festival at Croton Point Park.
"I've been trying to get here; 2011 was a very challenging year so I need to have some fun," said Seip, who was planning to camp overnight with her friend K.C. Wagner of New York City. "It's very positive, really great music. This many committed people in one place. It's really nice. It's great."
"It's the past and the future all together," said Wagner. "Some things never change. Every person all making a difference."
Seip and Wagner were among the more than 10,000 people already at the two-day festival early Saturday afternoon. Parking at the park was filled by noon and the lot at the nearby Croton Harmon Train Station was nearing capacity by 4 p.m.
Bill and Alex Meeks drove from Brooklyn with their two young children upon a recommendation from Bill's sister, who lives in Peekskill.
"It's nice to get out," Bill said. "We hear there's a lot of fun activities for the kids and the music is great."
Throughout the weekend hundreds of artists were scheduled to perform on seven stages, all powered with sustainable energy from solar, bio-diesel and wind sources. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people in lawn chairs and on blankets took advantage of the picture-perfect weather to enjoy Tom Chapin and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
For more than 40 years, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, which was founded by music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger, has been championing the protection of the Hudson River and other environmental causes. The festival is designed to offer families an opportunity to enjoy music, celebrate the river and inspire and educate the next generation of environmental leaders.
An Activists Area included such organizations as Amnesty International. Vietnam and Iraq Veterans Against War, Americans for Campaign Reform, Food and Water Watch and IPSEC Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition.
Paula Cook of Connecticut returned to the festival this year with her husband after visiting for the first time in 2011.
"I grew up with this type of music," she said. "I was listening to a band last year and Pete Seeger was behind me. That was fabulous. We just enjoyed it and we like to support it."