Festival Frenzy: A Weekend of Music & Happenings
No matter where you go this weekend—from Wassaic to North Adams, from Norfolk to Annandale-on-Hudson—you will find a one-of-a-kind festival. If it sounds too good to be true, it is because there is no way to take advantage of everything that is going on in our neck of the woods. Here’s our tip sheet for the weekend.
Wilco Solid Sound Festival
Where: MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
When: August 13 - 15
Who: WILCO, the thinking person’s favorite indie-alternative band, is not only playing at MASS MoCA but curating an entire weekend of the arts that takes place mostly on the MASS MoCA campus (with the larger performances presented at nearby Joe Thompson Field) include a comedy cabaret, family-friendly events including Story Pirates and Bread and Puppet theater, interactive music installations, a film series, yoga class, full access to the galleries at MASS MoCA, and a stellar roster of indie bands as well as a performance by the legendary Mavis Staples.
Why: Because MASS MoCA has become more than a cutting-edge contemporary art museum, it has become a multidisciplinary venue that celebrates innovation in all of the arts, and North Adams is a pedestrian-friendly, welcoming locale for a gathering of hipsters and aesthetes of all ages, and the city is pulling out all the stops to puts its best foot forward.
When: August 12 - 15
Who: Eve Biddle, Bowie Zunino, Elan Bogarin and Jeff Barnett-Winsby have curated a free festival that focuses on community engagement and facilitates artists and participants to exhibit, discuss, and connect with art, each other and the surrounding community in a rural village. While the festival attracts a large number of artists and music-lovers from Brooklyn who arrive by train and camp outside the Luther Barn, it also reaches out to the full-time local population and on Thursday, August 12, the Wassaic Project will kick off with a free Community Night from 5 - 7 p.m. to celebrate the work of artists from Dutchess and Litchfield Counties: Jeff Barnett-Winsby, Richard Deon, Ryan Frank, Hendon, Henry Klimowicz, Jesse Laliberte, Virginia Lavado, Phyllis Nauts, Francesca Palombo, Camilo Rojas, Safety & Wonder, Rachel Schapira, Matthew Slaats, Craig Wickwire, and Bowie Zunino. A 50/50 raffle will benefit the Wassaic Fire Department. There will 27 bands playing over the weekend, including several stars of the New American folk scene. The lineup includes the Luyas, She Keeps Bees, and Red Rooster.
Why: Because it’s rare a rare opportunity to be surrounded by hundreds of young artists and feed off their creative energy. Last year, RI witnessed a joyful coming together of weekenders, transplants and locals of all ages.
When: August 13 - 15
Who: Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Edmund Morris, best-selling author Simon Winchester, NPR’s Anne Garrels, the Tokyo String Quartet. Grammy-winner Suzy Boggus are among the artists converging on Norfolk this weekend. Already the summer home of the Yale School of Music, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and Infinity Hall & Bistro, the tiny town on the Massachusetts border has long been known as a haven for intellectuals and contributors to The New Yorker.
Why: With an old-fashioned village green and an architecturally stunning public library along with Great Mountain Forest and Haystack Mountain State Park, Norfolk epitomizes rural intelligence. Most events are free but some require reservations, and a few you’ll have to buy tickets for.
When: Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. (rain or shine)
Who: David Grover, the Berkshire Bateria and the Eagle’s stage band, local restaurateurs such as Scott Cole of Caffe Pomo d’Oro and the Merelles of Rouge will be participating in a day of eating and playing all centered on the humble zucchini.
Why: Because it’s an eclectic day featuring a Zucchini Catapult and Zucchini Decorating that reflects West Stockbridge’s quirky charm. And there are fireworks after dark.
When: Saturday, August 14, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Who: There’s a lot more than the usual chamber music and jazz when Music Mountain holds its 5th annual free family festival featuring stilt dancers and live puppets from Mortal Beasts & Deities, the Off Beats African drumming circle, Kenn Morr’s folk/rock band, an excerpt from TriArt’s Oklahoma! and ballerinas from the Nutmeg Dance Conservatory.
Why: Because 80-year-old Music Mountain needs to develop a new generation of music lovers, and there’s something magical about the mountaintop campus and acoustically perfect Gordon Hall, which was constructed from a Sears Roebcuk kit. And it’s a lovely spot for a picnic or eating burgers prepared by the Falls Village Volunteer Fire Department.
When: August 13 - 15 & 20 - 22
Who: Leonard Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra explore the work of Alban Berg (1885- 1935), the radical modernist composer.
Why: Because there’s no better place to listen to music than the Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, and there is no more scholarly conductor than Leonard Botstein, the visionary president of the college, who is an educator who loves to perform.
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