The Hudson Project’s made its debut this year in Hudson Valley, New York- but the inaugural year didn’t go exactly as expected.
The festival boasted a massive lineup with genres ranging from EDM, Hip-Hop, R&B, Rock, and Blues. It wasn’t just that the genres were vast, but the artists from each genre were all masters of their craft. You could go from the bouncy pop sound of Yachts, to an adjacent stage to hear groovy saxophone dubstep of Moon Hooch, to dancing the rest of the night as Flying Lotus melted your face off (which believe me, Flylo melted every single face in that tent). Top Dawg Entertainment’s Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad was all it took to intrigue dedicated hip hop fans who could also be enticed by the psychedelic rap of Flatbush Zombies, the loud and excited persona of Action Bronson, or the chill vibes of Atmosphere who asked us to put our hands up just about every time he went into the hook (we were happy to oblige the request). ZZ Ward sang us some blues and Modest Mouse’s lead singer Isaac Brock went so hard that he cracked his guitar.
Every single performance blew me away.
There were two stages and two tents in the venue, each placed strategically to allow quick movement from one location to another and minimal sound bleed. Once a performance ended on The Empire Stage (the mainstage) the performers on the nearby Explorer Stage would immediately begin their set, which made it very easy to just walk back and forth. If you were willing to miss the last song on one stage then you were practically guaranteed a spot up front on the other stage.
The Circus Tent was home to mostly dance music and was my favorite spot during the weekend to discover new DJ’s and electronic producers that made me move so much my body is still sore. Audrey Napoleon, Keys N Krates, Excision, and Flying Lotus are some of the performances I was able to catch inside the Circus Tent, all of who brought the tent down.
The Catskill Cave always seemed to be way under capacity, partially because the entire ground was a massive mudpit- a major festival downer. Jon Hopkins was the most memorable set of the weekend, filling the Catskill Cave with his orchestra of synthesizers and pads that made everyone’s jaws hit the floor and nearly brought me to tears (no joke). Moon Hooch plastered smiles onto everyone’s faces and redefined what we know as dubstep with their saxophone and drum ensemble that has gotten me the most excited I’ve been about a new band, ever. Four Tet’s big head of curly hair was all you could see from the audience as he he filled our ears with the most versatile DJ set ever heard from a human being. He played an African tribal song right after a deep house beat, what else is needed?
The Hudson Project had a smooth first two days. The third day was not.
At 5:00 PM an announcement interrupted the performances that informed everyone the festival was temporarily shut down due to a dangerous storm approaching. Everyone was asked to quickly return to their vehicles and wait out the storm until further notice. The production company MCP later cancelled the rest of the performances (including headliner Bassnectar’s much anticipated set). The storm did indeed hit, and the people who had been told to seek shelter in their cars soon became stuck in them as the grounds turned to a giant puddle of mud. Some people were stuck in their cars for as long as 16 hours.
By a stroke of luck my group decided to depart the festival after the announcement, and were on the road home while everyone else was stuck in the mud. When I returned home on Monday (July 14) evening there were reportedly still guests trying to get their cars unstuck, writing on the Hudson Project’s Facebook page asking for food and water. The Festival has since issued a statement apologizing and will issue face value refunds for all Sunday tickets.
With the exception of the final day, the festival was definitely a smash and something worth checking out for next year.
Edited by Valerie Reich
Follow us: @LLMusic_Group