The inaugural Hudson Project Music & Arts Festival will take place in Saugerties, New York this coming weekend and boasts, for my money, arguably the deepest, most eclectic independent artist lineups of any festival this summer.
When festival organizers MCP Presents first announced the festival months ago, it was met, by me anyway, with great skepticism. Their staple Camp Bisco was rumored to be canceled for the year (it later was made official) and Hudson was seen by many, including myself, to be somewhat of a make-up for the beloved decade plus running festival. Moreover, it was a considerably
ballsy risky move to put tickets on sale and ask patrons to simply have faith when purchasing their advanced tickets without any kind of reputation or hints of a lineup.
I steered clear when making my initial summer festival plans.
Then the lineup was announced.
I am well on my way to writing a formal apology to MCP. But I’ll wait until next Monday.
For now, I’ll just gush about the absolutely incredibly lineup. With little exception, I could not have curated a better one, especially not one that encapsulates the current state of independent music and all its wonder across the country and beyond. The hardest part will be making Sophie-like choices (is that a thing?), especially on Friday. Let’s get right into it.
Friday’s schedule is filled with more conflicts than the Middle East. (Too soon?) What conflicts you ask?
Well, after I enjoy jamming to Tauk, who I’ve been praising for the better part of the last year and who I knew who would festival staples this summer, I have to decide which brass section to go with. All Sax or a variety? That is to say, am I getting down and dirty with some sexy saxophone NYC subway dubstep with Moon Hooch (2:45-3:45) , or am I gettin’ funky with Lettuce (3-4)? Then, am I stayin’ true to my Philly roots with Dr. Dog (4-5) or do I want Mr. Marco Benevento to tickle my ivory (4:15-5:15)? Hip-Hop legends Atmosphere (6-7) or am I to run the instrumental trap with Keys N Krates (6:15-7:15)? Am I willing to sacrifice some Modest Mouse (8-9:15) to let Kill Paris finish serenading me with the keytar (7:30-8:30?).
All of these decisions are leading up to the ultimate death by choice: STS9 (9:15-10:45), Odesza (9:45-10:45), or Savoy (10-11)? I mean, do I want straight jamtronica, downtempo glitch grooves or lasers on lasers on lasers? WHY BASED GOD!? WHY!?
I’ll figure it out, I guess. Then it’s pretty safe to assume I’ll be checking out The Flaming Lips (10:45-12).
Saturday is much easier, for me, anyway. I’m excited to check out a lot of acts for the first time, including Twiddle, Exmag, Luminox and Bonobo before Big Gigantic melts my face off for at least the third time this summer. Then it gets a little tougher as my indie-go-to Matt & Kim floods into Disco Biscuits’ Brownie side-project Conspirator, which bleeds into Kendrick Lamar’s headlining set, subsequently overlapping with Griz. Sacrifices must be made, and as far as first-world problems go, I welcome the problems I’ll have Saturday night.
Not your typical “turn down” Sunday, either. We go hard early, as I’ll be checking out the must-see Floozies in the early afternoon, who kicked ass opening for Lettuce recently at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington. Lunice & Action Bronson will be my go-to for some solid hip-hop game. I’ll get out of Action in time for the end of Emancipator’s set, always a pleasure. I’m excited to see what Capital Cities brings to the table Sunday evening, and then, of course, the man, the myth, the legend. The real bass god, Mr. Lorin Ashton, himself, Bassnectar.
I have not been this excited for a festival in several years. However, I am reserving my open apology to MCP until after the festival. I maintain hesitations. Specifically, I have seen the map, and I am slightly nervous about the lay-out and geography. Sound bleeding from the various stages is a concern of mine, but I admittedly am unaware of the scale so there could be way more distance between stages and tents than I am imagining.
I’ve just given you my probable schedule, which is somewhat necessary to provide the best coverage for you guys. However, if you’re attending, and I hope that you do, may I make a festival veteran recommendation? Don’t make a schedule. Go with the flow. Maybe skip out on an artist you’ve seen a couple times for artists you’ve never heard of. I tend to find new favorite artists at festivals when I had previously never even heard of them. I’m sure I’ll come back with a few after Hudson.
So to recap the recap: Amazing lineup. All the conflicts. Serious questions of sound quality.
Regardless of who you go to see, GO. Have fun. Stay hydrated. Buddy system. Stay off your cell phone. Live in the moment. Yada yada. And then I guess we’ll see if it’ll be back for another year, especially if Bisco comes back.