Seeger Fest: 5 Days Of Free Events Honoring Pete Seeger and his wife Toshi

Pete and Toshi 4


MUSIC FOR OCCUPY is a proud sponsor and producer of

“Seeger Fest”

Next Week kicks off ONLY official, family-run Memorial for folk legend Pete Seeger – it is a free five-day event with speaker Harry Belafonte and performances by Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, Paul Winter Consort and Amanda Palmer

Produced By Music For Occupy’s Jason Samel, Grandson of Pete Seeger Kitama-Cahill Jackson, and Gina Belafonte, daughter of Harry Belafonte 

NEW YORK – There is no better place to honor folk legend Pete Seeger than on a pier that juts out into his beloved Hudson River. He and, his wife of 70 years, Toshi are largely responsible for cleaning up the Hudson River making it fishable, swimmable and drinkable. And there are no better people to headline the opening night of the five-day long Seeger Fest than the The Chapin Sisters, who bring a new tone to old songs while being inspired by their musical family that includes their father Tom Chapin, uncle Harry Chapin and close family friends Judy Collins and of course, the late Pete Seeger.

In addition to playing old songs, The Chapin Sisters are prolific songwriters whose words, voices, and guitar-style draw from many genres including pop, blues, folk and psychedelic rock. They have reached new audiences while garnering the respect of those who came before them.

Just as The Chapin Sisters are inspired by their uncle’s activism around hunger issues, their father’s social and environmental activism, they too see music as a tool for social change. They are using music as a way to get people inspired. They frequently play benefits to get people behind causes and feel that music can inspire people to make a difference in the world.

After the concert, where The Chapin Sisters will be joined by Kristen Graves, Adira & Alana Amram and others, there will be a screening of the Emmy-award winning documentary, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. This film chronicles Pete Seeger’s life as a musician and activist and includes interviews with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie and many others.

This event will be at Hudson River Park’s Pier 46 in Greenwich Village on July 17that 7:30 PM.

This event kicks off event forSeeger Fest, a one-time event that is the only official memorial for Pete Seeger. All Seeger Fest events are free.

“Instead of having a traditional memorial service for my grandfather, I am creating five days of concerts and activities that represent his life and will inspire people to continue his legacy through music and activism,” says Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Seeger’s grandson andSeeger Fest organizer.

The two other large-scale events include A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Sunday, July 20 at 4 PM. Doors open at 3 PM. This concert will include speaker Harry Belafonte and performances by Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, Holly Near, Dar Williams, Fred Hellerman of The Weavers,Paul Winter Consort and many others. The next day, Cahill-Jackson has teamed up with Harry Belafonte’s daughter, Gina Belafonte and they are producing and hosting New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger. This program will include performances from Occupy This Album artists and beyond with indie-rock artist Amanda Palmer, punk-rock band Anti-Flag, Steve Earle, Rebel Diaz, Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root and many others. This program will be on Monday, July 21 at 6 PMat SummerStage in Central Park.

These three concerts, Hudson River Park’s Pier 46, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and SummerStage in Central Park represent three parts of Pete and Toshi Seeger. Each venue is providing their space free of charge to Cahill-Jackson.

The first night honors the Seegers’ love for the Hudson River, their dedication to young folk musicians making their mark on music and activism, and their admiration of how documentary films can allow people see a world they never knew existed. The Seegers made films about music throughout the fifties and sixties.

The Lincoln Center Out of Doors concert is the show where the audience will be waiting for Pete Seeger to come out on stage. It is the most similar to his concerts with a mixture of well-known and less-known musicians, with songs that tell a story about the world with words that inspire people to stand up for what is right.

The SummerStage concert shows the future of music and activism. While the other shows are more traditional folk-based programs, this one isn’t. Pete Seeger used to say that “there are as many types of folk music as types of folks.” This program shows that. With hip-hop, reggae, punk and indie-rock, this event truly shows how Pete Seeger was a man who inspired all genres.

Pete Seeger was 94 years old when he passed away in January, and in those 94 years he had become a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, he was the man who wrote songs like Turn! Turn! Turn!, and championed songs such as We Shall Overcome, Wimoweh, This Land is Your Land, Little Boxes andGunantanamera. To them, he was a person you saw in concert at the annual Clearwater Festival in Westchester, at his annual Thanksgiving concert at Carnegie Hall or recently at his Madison Square Garden birthday bash. Those large Pete Seeger events were certainly a part of who he was. However, there was also a more personal side.

On Friday and Saturday, people will have an opportunity to remember Pete Seeger – the friend, the neighbor, the family member. The Bardavon Opera House, a 150-year old theater where Pete Seeger played hundreds of benefits, has opened their doors to host the only official memorial service for Pete Seeger. The Lincoln Center Out of Doors Concert could be thought of as the musical component of the same event. The Bardavon program will have friends, neighbors and relatives speak as well as the relatives of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, Ledbelly and The Weavers member Lee Hays speak as well. This event will be on Friday, July 18th at 7 PM.

On Saturday, people can see what being a part of a community truly looks like. Four communities that were near and dear to Pete and Toshi Seeger are hosting a unique one-time event that honors their longtime friends, Pete and Toshi Seeger.  The New York City events include a community festival in the South Bronx and film and photography exhibit on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The South Bronx Seeger Festival will feature performances by hip-hop, folk and blues artists as well as free food and boat rides. This event is hosted by Rocking the Boat and will be at Hunts Point’s Riverside Park, Lafayette Ave. and Edgewater Rd., Bronx, NY. This will run from 12 to 5 PM. That evening will be Pete & Toshi Seeger: Ninety Years in Photographs. A film and photo exhibit of rarely seen pictures of Pete and Toshi Seeger at El Taller Latino Americano, 2710 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10025 at 8 PM.  This is the only event that it is not wheelchair accessible. Seeger family photos will be publicly displayed for the very first time that show his work with people like Woody Guthrie, Ledbelly, Dr. King, his international work as a lifelong student of world music and his local work cleaning up the Hudson River in communities that once hated his liberal views.

While Pete worked closely with El Taller and Rocking the Boat in New York City, he worked on a daily basis with the Beacon Sloop Club, in his hometown of Beacon, NY. The Beacon Sloop Club is opening their doors to a song circle and potluck supper, where people can picture the place where Pete and Toshi Seeger spent much of their time – a rustic clubhouse without heat or running water just steps from the Hudson River. This potluck and sing-a-long will be on Saturday from 5 to 8 PM.

Pete and Toshi Seeger met square dancing in 1939. At Camp Woodland in Catskills, he learned two virtually unkown songs from counselors – Guantanamera and four verses for his song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? He literally brought Guantanamera around the world and continued singing the new versus to Where Have all the Flowers Gone? for the rest of his life. Because of this unique and virtually unknown piece of history, Seeger Fest is hosting an event at the Ashokan Center in the Catskills. The event will consist of a Camp Woodland reunion featuring Joe Hickerson, who wrote the additional versus to Where Have all the Flowers Gone? and a square dance in the evening with musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason of the famed-songAshokan Farewell. The square dance will be at 7  PM.

All eight of these events make up Seeger Fest, which is the official memorial service and celebration honoring Pete and Toshi Seeger and only Pete Seeger tribute put on my family member. It is the brainchild of the Seegers’ grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson who is running the entire five-day long event with a team of dedicated volunteers.


“Lots of people have asked me if Seeger Fest is raising money for anything,” says Cahill-Jackson. “I tell them no my grandfather’s death isn’t about raising money for something. It’s about raising awareness and inspiring everyone to make a difference just as my grandparents did for over 90 years.”

All information about Seeger Fest can be found