The Hudson Project Music Festival, held at the site of Woodstock ’94, had at least one thing in common with that festival: pouring rain and mud. They both were quickly renamed appropriately, Mudstock and Mudson Project.
Unfortunately, the storms that rolled through Saugerties Sunday evening came at the end of the festival and were severe. With torrential rain, high winds and lightning storms in the forecast, the County Health Department shut the festival down around 6 p.m. Attendees still played in the mud in parking and camping areas, but there was no live music soundtrack.
While some chalked it up to the risks of outdoor music festivals, others said the show should have gone on.
“We go to 10 or more concerts a year, and I haven’t seen anything like this closing,” said Sammy Joseph of Long Island. “I thought the music was amazing, but I wasn’t happy with some of the aggression I saw.”
Joseph said she wasn’t happy with the attitude of some of the police officers, who were a presence at festival checkpoints and parking areas but not inside the performance area.
“I understand they were doing their job,” she said, but they seemed too aloof.
Kevin Hackett of Athens, NY said the lineup was excellent, but Sunday night’s acts should not have been cancelled.
Christine Jenkins of Burnt Hills, NY had a different take. “It was disappointing; very unorganized and too muddy,” she said.
The biggest disappointment for most we spoke with was missing the Sunday headliner.
“I wanted to hear Bassnecter,” said Siena Facciolo of Montpelier, VT. She was still around Monday, picking up snacks at the Sunoco Mart off Rt. 32. Too tired on Sunday night to drive home, she decided to stay over at the site.
“I would call it Mudson, not Hudson,” said Water Baldwin of Montpelier. “The grounds were not made for this. We had two good days, but they were not really ready for the rain.”
With hundreds of cars still stuck in the mud on Monday morning, and some stranded attendees running low and food and water while a handful of tractors towed out vehicles, the Hudson Valley chapter of the Red Cross set up a shelter at the Kiwanis Ice Arena. That morning, it was announced that the shelter might be operational for 24 hours and additional shelters might be set up at other sites, but that proved unnecessary, at it closed at 2:30 after serving around 50 people.
With the concert in the past, Nick Fusco, who operates the Sunoco Mart, looked back on a weekend of work, with more to come. The floors were muddy and there were long lines at the registers.
“It’s a tradeoff,” he said. “The place is a mess, but we did a lot of business. We’re hoping the festival promoters will help with the pick up.”
Fusco said those who found fault with the festival should give the organizers time. “You have to remember this is the first festival since 1994, and they are still learning about the site and the area and the disastrous weather. I’m sure they will do better as they go along.”
Among the mess left behind were 25 pairs of shoes, Fusco said. However, he described the young concert goers as respectful, “and we had no issues with them. This seemed to be a good spot to stop in; they felt safe here and they did the best they could.”