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Stories From Main Street: Clearwater Festival To Honor Pete And Toshi Seeger

Musician Pete Seeger performs in the Clearwater Benefit Concert Celebrating Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Musician Pete Seeger performs in the Clearwater Benefit Concert Celebrating Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Singers at a festival this weekend at Croton Point Park will pay tribute to Clearwater’s late founders Pete and Toshi Seeger.

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival was inspired by the late Pete Seeger’s desire to clean up the Hudson River. Over 40 years ago, the Seegers built the sloop the Clearwater, a floating classroom to help in the fight to clean the river.

Organizer Steve Lurie said the idea of the festival started in the 1960s.

over forty years ago

“There were these folk picnics, they were called back then, to raise money,” Lurie told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

Clearwater Festival To Honor Pete And Toshi Seeger

clearwaters great hudson river revival Stories From Main Street: Clearwater Festival To Honor Pete And Toshi Seeger
WCBS 880's Sean Adams reports

Today, the festival at Croton Point Park attracts 25,000 people. This year, it’s taking on a special meaning.

“It’s really important for me that we honor both Pete and Toshi,” Lurie said. “Pete and Toshi met at a square dance originally, so we’re doing a special square dance on the dance stage that’s going to honor how they met.”

It also includes performances by Lucinda Williams, Rufus Wainwright and Norah Jones plus a diverse roster of musicians.

But music is only part of the festival. All proceeds benefit the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., a nonprofit which seeks to protect the river and its adjacent waterways and wetlands.

“They learn about what’s going on with the Hudson River, they get in the sloop, they hear about some education on the river,” Lurie said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Remembering Pete Seeger

Seeger died earlier this year at the age of 94, after surviving his wife of 70 years by about seven months. Lurie said this is a chance for the public to remember an American icon.

“He really walked with giants — political, social and environmental giants,” he said.

“He was a teacher and an activist and a great musician,” said close friend singer-songwriter Tom Chapin. “Here’s a life — one of the really important historical figures musically and politically.”

the sloop Clearwater
the sloop Clearwater
The 2014 Clearwater Festival will

The 2014 Clearwater Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson. Festival gates open at 9 a.m.

For more information, visit www.clearwaterfestival.org.

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