Pete Seeger was more than a singer and an activist, he was, and continues to be, an inspiration. From bringing songs like Guantanamera and Wimoweh to the United States to turning the traditional song I Will Overcome to We Shall Overcome and teaching it to Dr. King, Pete Seeger has truly changed the world. Seeger passed away on January 27, 2014; a short six months after the loss of his wife of seventy years, Toshi. In death, much as in life, the humble and yet larger-than-life Seeger couple continues to inspire. Their influence can be found in all genres of music and their spirits continues to motivate community awareness, and activism for social and environmental change.
One of the many people whose lives the Seegers’ touched immensely was their grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, who grew up in the log cabin that his grandparents literally built. Now at age 33, the loss of his both his grandparents in such a short time has inspired Cahill-Jackson to bring his grandparents’ community together with a few new faces to put on a one of a kind memorial celebration.
Cahill-Jackson has brought various parts of his and the Seegers’ community together to create Seeger Fest,a five day festival featuring a variety of events taking place throughout the Hudson Valley and NYC.Co-executive producers and creators of Seeger Fest include his wife Jeannine Cahill-Jackson and lifelong family friend Kalynda R. Klementis. The dynamic team of festival producers include: Gina Belafonte, actress, activist, film producer, and daughter of legendary Harry Belafonte; Toshi Reagon, producer, musical director and folk-rock singer; Jason Samel, record producer; and Janae Desire, television producer.
Seeger Fest will take place from Thursday, July 17th to Monday, July 21st and will include music, movies, and community activities that commemorate and celebrate the interests and lives of Pete and Toshi Seeger. The diversity and variety in the five days’ worth of events reflects the expression which Pete Seeger is known to have lived by, “Think Globally, Act Locally”.
July 17th, the festival opens with a film screening of the Emmy-award winning documentary, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. Shown on PBS in the American Master series, the film brings to light both his local and global efforts. Against the backdrop sunset on the Hudson River, Cahill-Jackson will welcome everyone with live music by The Chapin Sisters, whose family first met Toshi Seeger in the 1930’s. As well as Alanna and Adira Amram, whose father has worked with Pete and Toshi championing music and social justice since the 1960’s. Before the screening there will also be a Q&A with producers and musicians featured in the film.
This event will start at 8:00 PM at Pier 46 on the Hudson River on Thursday, July 17th.
The second day, July 18th will be the only official memorial service for Pete Seeger featured. It will be at the equivalent to Pete Seeger’s “hometown” theater in Poughkeepsie, New York and will include stories and songs from those closest to Seeger.
It will take place at The Bardavon Opera House, 55 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY.
July 19th, the third day of Seeger Fest, will be a day for the public to meet Pete and Toshi Seegers’ favorite communities and have a little fun! There will be a community celebration with music and rowing along the Bronx River hosted by Rocking the Boat in the Bronx at noon. An exhibition of film and photography at El Taller Latino Americano at 8 PM on the Upper West Side. A community sing-a-long and potluck supper at The Beacon Sloop Club in Beacon from5-8 PM. And a square dance at The Ashokan Center in the Catskills at 8 PM.
July 20th showcases a memorial concert at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The music director will be singer Toshi Reagon and Cahill-Jackson will be hosting. The show will include the musicians with whom the Seegers worked the most. These musicians include Adira and David Amram, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters, Jimmy Collier, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Michael Moore, Holly Near, Martha Redbone, George Wein, Dar Williams, The Vanaver Caravan, Paul Winter Consort, Peter Yarrow and Dan Zanes, plus surprise guests.
The Memorial Concert at Lincoln Center Out of Doors will be at 4 PM on Sunday, July 20th, a special date commemorating Pete and Toshi Seeger’s wedding anniversary.
The final day of Seeger Fest will feature a concert that brings together the past, present and future in a musical amalgamation of multi-generational artists inspired by Pete Seeger. Established hip-hop, punk and indie-rock artists will appear amongst a younger generation of folk singers along with multi-generational performers, confirming that the Seegers’ legacy lives on. Cahill-Jackson has partnered with Gina Belafonte and the non-profit, Sankofa, to put on a concert that will bring the future of music and activism on stage.
The concert will be at Central Park SummerStage and it is called New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger. The lineup includes Anti-Flag (acoustic), Aurora Barnes, Toni Blackman, The Chapin Sisters, Rebel Diaz, Steve Earle, DJ Kool Herc, James Maddock, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dan Zanes, Mike + Ruthy, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Nyraine, Amanda Palmer (acoustic), Michael Glablicki of Rusted Root.
Seeger Fest Events Calendar
7/17, 8:30 PM:
Hudson River Park Trust presents
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, an Emmy-award winning documentary on Pete Seeger’s life as a musician and activist.
Pier 46 & The Hudson River, NYC.
Riverside screening with a Q&A before film with producers, musicians in the film, and Pete Seeger’s grandson.
7/18, 7 PM:
Bardavon Opera House presents
A Memorial Service for Pete Seeger
Bardavon Opera House, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Limited Seating, Reserve Tickets at www.bardavon.org.
Friends and family gather to share memories, stories and songs.
7/19, ALL DAY: Events throughout the Hudson Valley and the Hudson Valley that honor Pete and Toshi Seeger’s commitment to community.
o Beacon Sloop Club presents
Song circle and potluck supper in honor Pete and Toshi.
5 to 8 PM: Beacon Sloop Club, 2 Red Flynn Dr., Beacon, NY 12508
o The Ashokan Center presents
A Square Dance commemorating how the Seegers met.
8 PM: Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, NY
Rocking the Boat presents
Music, food and rowing boats in celebration of the lives of Pete and Toshi.
Noon to 6 PM: Lafayette Street and Edgewater Rd., Bronx, NY
o El Taller Latino Americano presents
Film and photography by Pete and Toshi Seeger.
8 PM: 2710 Broadway, New York, 10024
(third floor walk-up – NOT wheelchair accessible)
7/20, 4 PM: Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents
A Memorial Concert for Pete & Toshi Seeger
Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Amsterdam and W. 62St., NYC
Artists who worked with Pete and Toshi Seeger come together to honor their friends and mentors.
Musicians include: David Amram, Tom Chapin and Chapin Sisters, Jimmy Collier, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Michael Moore, Holly Near, Paul Winter Consort,Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi Reagon, Martha Redbone, The Vanaver Caravan, Dar Williams & Dan Zanes, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary)
7/21 at 6 PM: City Parks Foundation presents
New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger
SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield (near E. 69St. and 5th Ave.) Central Park, NY
Hip Hop, Punk, Indie-rock and folk artists come together to in tribute to Pete Seeger.
Musicians include: Anti-Flag Acoustic, Aurora Barnes, Toni Blackman, The Chapin Sisters, Rebel Diaz, Steve Earle, Michael Glablicki of Rusted Root, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, DJ Kool Herc, James Maddock, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mike + Ruthy, Nyraine, Amanda Palmer