River to River Festival: 12 July 2012

rtb and I were supposed to meet up at the George Clinton concert at Rockefeller Park. I ended up at another concert a few blocks down. While we were walking between the two shows I was looking out over the Hudson River and all the people enjoying two great shows in Battery Park and I was thinking, “What a great city,” when rtb said, “Why would anyone live anywhere else?”

Earlier in the day rtb emailed that George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic were playing as part of the River to River Festival. Battery Park is only a few blocks from my office but with my lousy sense of direction I always end up walking 20 blocks out of my way to get somewhere 5 blocks away. This time I just kept walking west northwest and when I got to Battery Park City I could hear music so I walked in that direction and the place was packed so I sat on the stairs to the side of the stage and read rtb’s text that said she was standing on the other side of the stage. I decided to just sit and listen. And then I looked at the banners on either side of the stage and read the backwards lettering – Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival


and I’m thinking that I’m at the wrong concert. So I walk around World Financial Center Plaza and walk further uptown to where there’s another big crowd and I find rtb.

We were pretty much behind the stage and could only see about a third of the stage but at a George Clinton show that still can be 20 to 30 people. So I heard some of the funk and threw my arms in the air but never saw Clinton and I’m not sure if he was even on stage.

The show had started at 7pm and was over by 8pm so since it was still early we walked over to the other concert. We got there in time to find out that we’d missed Charles Bradley, so that was a disappointment. Next up was headliner Neko Case, who I don’t think of as a blues artist but it was free music and it was a gorgeous night. Also the stage is right next to the water and you can see the masts of the docked sailboats rock back and forth and feel the cool breeze. While rtb listened, I played on my iPad and found out that the day before Buddy Guy and John Mayall had performed and I was heartbroken that I’d had no idea. Buddy Guy and John Mayall played a free concert only a few blocks from me. How did I miss that?

So, for me, it wasn’t the best night of free music in NYC this summer but it was another incredible night in an incredible city. What a great city and why would anyone live anywhere else?

By Carene Lydia Lopez