Yes, this is a cheap excuse for a recap because Day 1 here at the Hudson Project is actually still going on while I’m writing this. And my mother always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Therefore, we’re simply not going to talk about my experience getting here, checking in, waiting in line for a shuttle, waiting in another line to get into the venue, all of which took me from midnight last night to 4 am.

We won’t talk about that.

What we will talk about is how their lineup and the performances have thus far almost made up for my arrival experience. Almost.

I’ll have a full photo album later in the week for you. Until then, here’s a quick rundown of day 1 at Hudson Project:

Most people forgot about their struggles getting in last night and some really good performances helped. Tauk kicked things off under the tent at the Catskill Cave to a real solid crowd for it being only 1:30 pm. Though it helped that the Cave was fresh at the time.

Tauk @ Catskill Cave - Hudson Project

Tauk @ Catskill Cave – Hudson Project

Lettuce drew the biggest crowd by far at the Explorer stage (a smaller stage to the side of the main Empire stage) and, in fact, outdrew many mainstage acts for most of the day. Their set was a little loose and jammy for my tastes but everyone else seemed to like it so good for them. Still fun, though.

Lettuce @ Explorer Stage - Hudson Project

Lettuce @ Explorer Stage – Hudson Project

Dr. Dog was a serious crowd pleaser and Marco Benevento started 15 minutes late and played to the smallest crowd I saw all day. Shocking and sad considering Benevento is arguably one of the most talented solo musicians here this weekend.

Atmosphere brought the heat. It was obvious from talking to many of the festival goers he was high on everyone’s list and it showed. He drew the biggest crowd I had seen at the time and played a real solid mix of classics, old rarities, fan favorites and tracks off his latest album. I’ve seen him over half a dozen times and he never gets old, in large part to his ability to refresh his lyrics and seemingly freestyle every night.

Atmosphere @ Empire Stage - Hudson Project

Atmosphere @ Empire Stage – Hudson Project

Many people were able to see Keys N Krates for their first time and they got the Circus tent hyped as evening was starting to set in. Kill Paris had to cancel their set due to a late flight. I was bummed, but that meant I didn’t feel bad about watching a real good Emancipator set instead. Modest Mouse attracts the strangest mixture of emo kids, stoners and hipsters, but was still able to put on a good show. Bro Safari was probably the rowdiest crowd I’ve seen so far tonight and they really turned things up a notch, along with a pretty good STS9 set on the Explorer stage.

Bro Safari @ Circus Tent - Hudson Project

Bro Safari @ Circus Tent – Hudson Project


Odesza @ Catskill Cave - Hudson Project

Odesza @ Catskill Cave – Hudson Project

I split my time between Odesza in the Cave who seemed to put their audience into a blissful trance with their set. Savoy was on the opposite end of the spectrum and gave Bro Safari a run for their money for most energy. In spite of Savoy’s lasers and confetti, Bro Safari still takes it.

I’m currently writing this while The Flaming Lips are playing to a smaller crowd than I anticipated at the Empire stage. I’m only maybe 100 yards or so from the Empire (stage right) and about 200-300 yards from the Circus tent, which bringing attention to my second biggest complaint so far:  noise bleed.

I hate to say I told you so but… But I knew it was going to happen. I was at the front of the stage watching Odesza and could hear STS9. Right now I’m significantly closer to the Flaming Lips stage, but I can hear almost all of Excision who is performing right now at the Circus tent. That’s not to mention the car alarm that continues to go off behind me.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I know that technically The Hudson Project is a first-year festival. However, the organizers are not new. MCP Presents has put on several festivals this year alone, and has been helping the Disco Biscuits with Camp Bisco for some time now. They should really have organizational things like stage set up, preventable flooding areas, and transportation worked out. The ground in the Catskill Cave as well as the Circus tent is so muddy it’s just eating people’s shoes right off of their feet. There are puddles of straight mud and water. I’ll be shocked and honestly disheartened if the organizers don’t arrange for some kind of absorbent to be put down considering we have two more days and tens of thousands of more people to come.

All of the severe issues aside, the vibes have remained quite positive, which I have to attribute to the absolutely A+ lineup and the kind of music fans the acts attract. There is truly plenty of food and water and drinks with zero lines for any of it. The port-a-pottys are… well… they’re port-a-pottys. I’ve experienced better, I’ve experienced worse.

Oh yeah, I got to meet Michael Lang. That doesn’t suck.

Follow us on twitter @TriStateIndie for live updates right from the festival grounds.

UPDATE – 11:55 PM – It appears, though nothing confirmed or official, that someone in the crowd at the Flaming Lips set had a bad reaction to the strobe lights being used. Wayne stopped the show as a result. Music has been stopped there for several minutes now. Doesn’t sound like they’re starting up any time soon.

Saturday’s lineup includes Moby, Kendrick Lamar, Big Gigantic, Matt & Kim, ZZ Ward and many others.

For full lineup info – click here. 

Hudson Project continues through Sunday and Tickets are still available – click here.