The Hudson Project opened its doors on Thursday July 10, 2014, slated with one of the best lineups of the year, MCP was bringing the heat for the inaugural year of the event. The first few hours after gates opened Thursday night were very hectic as attendees scrambled to fill the campgrounds; people were extremely frustrated when they discovered that in order to pass from the north parking lot to the Bronx & Queens campsites they had to drag all their belongings down a hill, through an second security checkpoint, over a wooden staircase bridge, then once reaching the campground facing even more confusion as staff would attempt to redirect mobs of people into separate areas. After everyone finally got their tents and tarps set up the excitement could be felt in the grounds as campers began celebrating safely reaching their destination.

Day one was kicked off with a bang as new campers continued to fill the grounds regularly, the festival was opened by the sounds of Lettuce, Moon Hooch, Audrey Napolenon, Nightmares on wax, then followed by later performances with the likes of Keys ‘N Krates, Atmosphere & The New Deal’s reunion show after a 3 year hiatus. (Unfortunately Kill Paris was unable to perform due to issues at the airport.)

The venue was set up with 2 outdoor stages and 2 covered dance tents, while the proximity was a concern when the map was released, the venue ended up perfectly capturing the event. It was clear that all the preforming artists at the festival was putting all their heart in to their sets to make The Hudson Project into a magical & amazing experience. The late night sets included Excision, Flying Lotus, STS9, & The Flaming Lips, all of whom commanded their respective stages with dazzling light shows and stunning lasers.

Day two brought a lot more of the same energy very early as Exmag (check out our interview) opened up the Circus tent to a packed crowd. Everyone was eager to get their funk on with a daily lineup that included Big Gigantic, Griz, Bonobo, Gold panda & many others. Griz even made a surprise appearance with his saxophone during Exmag’s set to play along with their remix of “Fall in Love to Fast”. Jumping ahead to Big Gigantic, whose set will always be remembered as one of the highlights of the event as they dominated the main stage with a packed crowd while leading the crowd through 2 rainstorms. Shortly after, I ran into the media tent to protect my camera from the rain I had an interesting conversation with a fellow photographer that I believe very accurately summarized the night:  “If anyone other than Big G was on right now this fest would be over.” And he was correct, the passions of the crowd they attract triumphed over the showers and were left with a magical feeling afterwards of unity over the event.

Day three: This is the day that will forever live in infamy to the events attendees, only a few acts were able to play their sets before the venue was shut down due to warnings from the national weather association.  The Floozies & Project 46 both played greats sets in the Circus tent before the event ended. Many people headed the ominous black cloud’s warnings early and prepared by making trips between the car and campground early in the day allowing them to leave quickly when the event was canceled. Other people were much more stubborn and demanded to stay on the grounds in order to spite the event.  Overall the storm was made of two 30-45 min bursts of heavy showers and lighting, but the mud it left its mark, earning the event the nickname “Mudson Project” as people spent hours in their cars stuck with no way out except to be towed out by a tractor or ATV.

While there were many flaws and imperfections, I still strongly believe that The Hudson Project was one of my favorite events attended in the past few years, it’s just a shame that it gained a bad reputation due to my generation’s usual internet bitching. The energy that Big G commanded during their set along with the unity felt from enduring all the hurdles set before us made a strong energy of brotherhood, but unfortunately the cancellation of the biggest day of music was the final straw that sent many people to resent the event and its organizers.

Written by: Rashid Lebz