Updated from previous post on redbankgreen‘s All Good page.
It began back in the mid-1970s as a free festival of music, food and environmental awareness at Sandy Hook.
Inspired by the work of the iconic folk singer and pioneer activist Pete Seeger and his Hudson River excursions with the sloop Clearwater — and founded by Bob Killian, a Shore-based singer and songwriter best known for his hyperlocal anthem “I Like The Jersey Shore” — the all-volunteer Clearwater Festival has soldiered on through the years in several locations, most recently at Long Branch’s Pier Village.
On Saturday, the New Jersey Friends of Clearwater presents the milestone 40th annual edition of the daylong event at a brand new host venue: the Larrison Hall Commons area at Lincroft’s Brookdale Community College.
Dedicated to the pioneering efforts of Seeger (who passed away last year at age 94) and Killian (whose return to Monmouth County for the occasion is a highlight of this year’s festival), Clearwater 2015 is an eight-hour burst of activity from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. that promises three stages’ worth of live music, kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors, environmentally themed informational displays and plenty of free parking on the sprawling BCC campus.
More than 3,000 attendees are expected to enjoy the sounds and sights at this year’s free-admission festival, with donations and proceeds from vendor sales benefitting the ongoing programs of the nonprofit New Jersey Clearwater. It’s year-round slate of activities includes a Traveling Environmental Festival program that’s brought its message to an estimated 35,000 New Jersey schoolchildren in recent years.
Then there’s the recently launched “Pete’s Banjo” — a reproduction 19th-century era “garvey” boat that will play a role in the Clearwater organization’s educational and awareness endeavors as it travels the area’s waterways. For the Festival, a Sustainability Roundtable discussion will be hosted at 1 p.m., featuring representatives of the volunteer organization Transition Monmouth.
Of course, the local-organic music has always been the Clearwater Festival component that’s made the most wonderful noise, with previous stages boasting performances by Seeger himself, as well as New Jersey musical mainstays such as Glen Burtnik and Pat DiNizio, and a certain unscheduled guy named Bruce who showed up looking for a gig one fine day. For the BCC event, guest of honor Killian headlines an eclectic roster that features next-gen bandleader Nick Clemons, the original pop of Middletown-based the Wag, the funk-jam sounds of veteran Poppa John Bug, globetrotting minstrel James Durst, plus local lights Arlan Feiles, Ingrid Heidt, Dale Lakata, Jim Crawford and many others. Take it here for a detailed breakdown of featured acts, stage schedules and links to artist bios.
Killian sticks around Lincroft following the festival for another event of interest Sunday afternoon, when he headlines a “Pete’s Gang” celebration that salutes the life and music of Seeger in story and song.
Hosted at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County on West Front Street, the 3 p.m. event promises the participation of Fifi and Adam Bro, members of Seeger’s Hudson River Sloop Singers, who worked with the master songsmith over the course of more than 40 years. Attendees are welcome to “bring a Seeger song” and take part in an open mic session at the conclusion of the event, for which admission ($10 adults; $5 kids 12 and under) is available at the door. Call (732) 747-0707 for more info.
Sponsorships and donations of time and funds are always welcomed by the Clearwater volunteers, with extra help always welcomed for the festival, and details on supporting the Red Bank-based nonprofit available by calling (732) 784-8547, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org