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Wilco Solid Sound Festival

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the record stall was cool too...got a metal LP, some obscure funk LP, and one from Sunburned Hand of the Man. also grabbed a couple of the Numero Group cds, and a SSF t shirt.

 

also, my review and photos are up:

 

http://www.prefixmag.com/photos/solid-sound-festival-a-three-day-festival-of-music/

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- met lots of fabulous people.

 

This was probably one of my favorite things about going, many great people I'd love to see again next year. I met lots of Radiohead/Wilco fans so it went great.

 

I even got to chat with one of the guys guarding the bridge on the third night because I came at 12 and camped out until it opened up. He knew the 'walking slowly to the stage' thing wouldn't work, he said when I got the chance on the field to just run or my hours of waiting would have been worth nothing. Very cool dude, he said he'd actually been to a Wilco concert himself so that brought up lots to talk about.

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I wanted to go to this event so bad

 

but no way Im trekking out to spend the weekend in NA Ma without a bit more

great concept-I LOVE the idea of a wilco fest

but the musical end of the spectrum (in terms of content and volume) was just a bit weak IMHO

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This is going to sound stupid, but the music isn't everything. It wouldn't have mattered who was playing, it was about the people, the vibe, and an awesome setting (not even talking MoCA, I mean the berkshires).

 

You get big name bands, you also get big numbers, and lose the vibe. I shared peoples blankets, got invited to campsites to roast marshmallows (didn't go, but nice offer anyway), and was always running into my friends. And do I really need to mention the dunk tank again????

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I have to disagree with what dmada wrote. If they had bigger bands, the festival would have definitely turned out differently. The whole concept and execution was pretty flawless from the start. It pretty much came down to about $30 per day for complete access to Mass MoCa & everything else. I paid roughly $40 for my Wilco tix this past April in Boston. It's a f'ing steal, if you ask me.

 

I understand where you're coming from in terms of feeling that the bands were "weak", but I think the overall concept of this festival was to let Wilco kind of introduce their fans to music that they like and people may not have been familiar with. There's nothing wrong with spending $30 a day to have Wilco & then Tweedy cap off the day/night. Plus, you had all kinds of other stuff too like comedy, films, and some interesting stuff put together for children. Oh, and there was yoga....

 

Now the question is what will Wilco do next year. If they add some bigger local bands like Sonic Youth & Grace Potter then you can pretty much somewhat double this year's attendance and things would probably change in terms of satisfying everyone's needs on the campus and logistics in regards to seating etc. I think they'll use the same formula for next year.

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This is going to sound stupid, but the music isn't everything. It wouldn't have mattered who was playing, it was about the people, the vibe, and an awesome setting (not even talking MoCA, I mean the berkshires).

 

You get big name bands, you also get big numbers, and lose the vibe. I shared peoples blankets, got invited to campsites to roast marshmallows (didn't go, but nice offer anyway), and was always running into my friends. And do I really need to mention the dunk tank again????

 

i agree! i hope they keep it a Wilco and side projects with a bunch of obscure bands they want us to hear. I'm Listening to the Brenda debut as i type, and I feel my collection has benefited from Solid Sound.

 

Big acts bring more head aches for the attendees IMO. The shear fact of the venue being a museum is reason for Wilco to hope for what they got. Wilco fans and only Wilco fans. He knows we behave for the most part. :cheers

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Hi from Las Vegas airport; I missed my connector, so my 45 minute layover is now 3.5 hours because of a thunderstorm. I will be the first to admit that I was one of the complainers when I found out the festival was in a tiny town with no hotels around and an airport 40 minutes away. Why so damn inconvenient?! Now I am embarrassed by such ridiculous thoughts. This was a brilliant, amazing, and very special weekend. I learned a lot at Mass MoCA, and loved having so much time to soak in the art. Life is incessantly chaotic at home...I never make enough time for such important things. Being in a tiny town with a lot of downtime was so, so refreshing! I met some cool people. I hugged my old friends a lot. I drank good beer. I sweated during the midnight DJ spinning funkdown in courtyard C (whilst playing my air tambourine). I checked out some new music (Sir Richard Bishop is moving to Portland soon)! I ate ice cream 3 days in a row! I laughed, I cried, and I came home with great memories, a reinforced obsession for the best band in the wold, a coffee mug, and five t-shirts (me, hubby, kiddos)...2 shirts for me! Bravo to Wilco for a truly awesome weekend. And I mean "awesome" in the true sense of the word. My only regret was not dunking you, Jeff. There's always next year, right??

 

Back to Oregon I go. And I really hope to see more of the "old VC originals" next year. We should never outgrow the hobby of rock tourism. It's just too damn fun,

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OMG! I forgot to mention that I was on the same flight as Mavis Staples from Chicago --> Albany on Friday! We chatted, I gave her a free drink ticket, and she waved at me from backstage on Saturday!!!!! I LOVE that woman. Bring her back next year!!!

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a truly wonderful weekend of music, art and theater. I can't really add anything more than what's already been said. I've seen Wilco over twenty times and Tweedy maybe three or four and these past two performances were top notch. Nels Cline Singers was delightful as was the Baseball Project, Vetiver and Autumn Defense. We camped with our 9 and 4 yr-old girls so we didn't get to see everything as we didn't want to push it as we were looking at very long days for them already. That said I commend the organizers for the kid friendly scene. Really enjoyed the exhibits at MassMoca as well. Now to my complaint, and it's minor, some would say even trivial in the scheme of such a perfect confluence of sound and vision that was this past weekend, but being a beer judge and all around beer geek I have to say it: the beer choices left a lot to be desired. When they first announced the fest and I read online that no alcohol would be allowed in I called MassMoca and was assured that they would be providing local craft beers. Well, Magic Hat just doesn't cut it in my book nor are they local. to make matters worses three of the four booths were serving only fruit beers (#9 -apricot & Wacko - cherry? what was with that fake red color?). IDon't get me wrong I like fruit beers when they're done well or from Belgium, or both. I could have lived with their Blind Faith IPA but only one booth that I found was selling it and they ran out! And like I said the other booths were ONLY selling the fruit beers. There are a number of independent craft brewers in Western Ma, southern VT and New Hampshire so not sure why they had to get the beer from way up in Burlington VT. Hopefully next year they'll offer more diverse and eclectic choices. Price was right though, $5 is very reasonable. I've read that the music series in Holyoke Ma at Mountain Park and Newport Folk Fest sell only Magic Hat so maybe Magic Hat's just throwing down a ton of money to get exclusive beer rights. Strange though as Lagunitas Brewing from Petaluma, CA was listed as a sponsor on the Solid Sound web site. The only Lagunitas I saw all weekend was the bottle of IPA that Mike Mills was drinking during the Baseball Project set. Too bad it wasn't for sale to the general public as it's a far superior brewery to Magic hat IMHO.

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the beer choices left a lot to be desired. When they first announced the fest and I read online that no alcohol would be allowed in I called MassMoca and was assured that they would be providing local craft beers. Well, Magic Hat just doesn't cut it in my book nor are they local. to make matters worses three of the four booths were serving only fruit beers (#9 -apricot & Wacko - cherry? what was with that fake red color?).

 

Wacko's made with beets, that's where the red comes from.

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I wanted to go to this event so bad

 

but no way Im trekking out to spend the weekend in NA Ma without a bit more

great concept-I LOVE the idea of a wilco fest

but the musical end of the spectrum (in terms of content and volume) was just a bit weak IMHO

couldn't disagree more. I got exposed to music I otherwise had not listened to, and the great vibe of the entire weekend was a direct effect of the fact that this was a Wilco and Wilco friends event. Maybe you had to be there in person to appreciate how great it was that the lineup of music and art was exactly what it was. My life was not missing anything during my time at Solid Sound.

 

Nice write up in today's NY Times:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/arts/music/17solid.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=wilco&st=cse

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If Wilco was the promoter (and Tweedy did refer to it as "our" event), then the third hand information I was told was wrong. Could be. But I was led to believe that Higher Ground out of Vermont was the promoter. And if that is the case, and the promoter guaranteed the performers a certain payment and paid the costs and took the risk of recouping on ticket sales and merchandise, etc, then it's possible that an event that was hoping to sell 8,000 tickets (I had read that number somewhere) and sold +/- 5,000 could sustain a $$ loss somewhere. Regardless, the vibe all weekend was so relaxed and fun I also got no sense that the band members walking around or in the dunk tank (!) were worrying about the finances. Hoping my info is wrong, 'cause I want them to do it again next year.

So there was a promoter. According to the story in today's NY Times, Alex Crothers was "one of the promoters." He must be one of the Higher Ground people.

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Wacko's made with beets, that's where the red comes from.

There are beets in it from what I've read but my guess is that color is the result of food coloring or added sugar and fruit (or beet) syrup Natural beet would ferment out and leave little color unless used in enormous proportions, which in turn would boost the abv. Wacko is only 4.5% abv so my guess is artificial coloring and flavoring. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/96/48190

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And I really hope to see more of the "old VC originals" next year. We should never outgrow the hobby of rock tourism.

Amen to that! I'll echo what so many people have said: it was a fantastic event from start to finish. I know it must have been a bit challenging to organize and sell as many tickets as they wanted, but the whole thing was wonderful for the fans. I absolutely hate music festivals, but I loved Solid Sound. It felt like bizarro summer camp. Playing with the drums and stomp box station, wandering around the museum, seeing old friends and making new ones, pancake breakfast at the church across the street, dunk tank, ice cream, puppets, movies, comedy, music, dance parties, jam sessions, midnight samosas, running into the talent in the oddest (and not-so-oddest) places. Thanks to Wilco and all of the other performers, attendees, and volunteers for a beautiful weekend.

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To quote myself (my facebook page), this was "the single finest weekend of my life... no lie". Words WILL fail me here, but I'll try. I used to go to ridiculous lengths, sacrifice, and expense to catch the Grateful Dead whenever and wherever I could. Few of my family, friends, co-workers understood. But they never experienced those "moments".., a six hour drive each way, madness in the parking lot before and after the show, a blown radiator on the beltway at rush hour, etc, all for that "moment". Everything would click musically, a Stella Blue, maybe a Crazy Fingers, it didn't really matter what song, but it always came at least once per show, when I knew I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be... at the fleeting, floating center of the universe. In that moment I would be moved to tears by the majesty, the beauty, the frailty of our existence, and my soul would be flooded with the purest of gratitude that I had been simply allowed to stand right there, right then. I felt that way again, some fifteen years later, during Jeff's set, standing in the rain, the Berkshires as backdrop. Some three thousand people, a festival audience no less, outside, and you could hear a pin drop... Such respectful, loving fans of a such a respectful, loving band.

 

Thank you Wilco, thank you MassMoca, thank you Higher Ground, and thank you EVERYONE that performed and attended. It was wonderful beyond my feeble words.

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To quote myself (my facebook page), this was "the single finest weekend of my life... no lie". Words WILL fail me here, but I'll try. I used to go to ridiculous lengths, sacrifice, and expense to catch the Grateful Dead whenever and wherever I could. Few of my family, friends, co-workers understood. But they never experienced those "moments".., a six hour drive each way, madness in the parking lot before and after the show, a blown radiator on the beltway at rush hour, etc, all for that "moment". Everything would click musically, a Stella Blue, maybe a Crazy Fingers, it didn't really matter what song, but it always came at least once per show, when I knew I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be... at the fleeting, floating center of the universe. In that moment I would be moved to tears by the majesty, the beauty, the frailty of our existence, and my soul would be flooded with the purest of gratitude that I had been simply allowed to stand right there, right then. I felt that way again, some fifteen years later, during Jeff's set, standing in the rain, the Berkshires as backdrop. Some three thousand people, a festival audience no less, outside, and you could hear a pin drop... Such respectful, loving fans of a such a respectful, loving band.

 

Thank you Wilco, thank you MassMoca, thank you Higher Ground, and thank you EVERYONE that performed and attended. It was wonderful beyond my feeble words.

 

Very well said jimthedrummer. I'm with you all the way in everything you wrote, from all the years of the Dead shows to Wilco/Tweedy in the Berkshires.

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Hi from Las Vegas airport; I missed my connector, so my 45 minute layover is now 3.5 hours because of a thunderstorm. I will be the first to admit that I was one of the complainers when I found out the festival was in a tiny town with no hotels around and an airport 40 minutes away. Why so damn inconvenient?! Now I am embarrassed by such ridiculous thoughts. This was a brilliant, amazing, and very special weekend. I learned a lot at Mass MoCA, and loved having so much time to soak in the art. Life is incessantly chaotic at home...I never make enough time for such important things. Being in a tiny town with a lot of downtime was so, so refreshing! I met some cool people. I hugged my old friends a lot. I drank good beer. I sweated during the midnight DJ spinning funkdown in courtyard C (whilst playing my air tambourine). I checked out some new music (Sir Richard Bishop is moving to Portland soon)! I ate ice cream 3 days in a row! I laughed, I cried, and I came home with great memories, a reinforced obsession for the best band in the wold, a coffee mug, and five t-shirts (me, hubby, kiddos)...2 shirts for me! Bravo to Wilco for a truly awesome weekend. And I mean "awesome" in the true sense of the word. My only regret was not dunking you, Jeff. There's always next year, right??

 

Back to Oregon I go. And I really hope to see more of the "old VC originals" next year. We should never outgrow the hobby of rock tourism. It's just too damn fun,

 

 

It was great to see you and get to hang with you and the Wafer a few times. It felt a lot like a class reunion -- or maybe a summer camp reunion. Regardless, I'll be happy if we can swing going next year.

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We drove up from NC for the weekend (1500+ miles round-trip) and overall it was a fantastic weekend. It was great meeting so many VC folks for the first time. One of the highlights for me was hearing "Simple Twist of Fate"...I never thought I'd actually get to hear it live.

 

There were a lot of things about this festival that were done the right way: the number of volunteers and security, parking, the variety of merch, food and beverage availability, etc. The music that we were able to see was great - the sound was well mixed and at a good volume.

 

But, like any first-year festival, there are things that need to be re-thought for subsequent festivals. I heard several people say, "This was my first festival, and it was perfect!" I'm a regular attendee of festivals, both small and large, and this one was great...but far from perfect. Before I get into my criticisms, let me make it clear that I had a wonderful experience and will attend again next year.

 

Joe's Field should have been utilized for the entire event. Was there any point during the weekend when two bands were playing at once anywhere onsite? With 4 stages set up, it could have been done without too much audio bleed-through. Bands could have been simultaneously playing in Courtyard C and Joe's Field, or Courtyard D and Hunter Theatre. But Hunter Theatre was too small. When a band is only playing one set at a festival, it sucks to not see them because their set is in a tiny venue. Why not use Joe's field for all of the Wilco side-projects? And can you imagine the crowds around the Courtyards had attendance been higher?

 

 

but no way Im trekking out to spend the weekend in NA Ma without a bit more

great concept-I LOVE the idea of a wilco fest

but the musical end of the spectrum (in terms of content and volume) was just a bit weak IMHO

 

I'm assuming by "volume" you mean the number of acts, right? I would have gladly paid double the ticket price to see more music. But I understand that this was a Wilco event, and the bands either involved Wilco members or were picked by Wilco. However, I would have enjoyed being introduced to a few more "local" bands. Has anybody else ever heard Angry Johnny & The Killbillies?

 

There were a few bad apples in the volunteers, but that's to be expected at any event. Still, I overheard a few disturbing comments from volunteers, like, "Don't bother complaining, because we don't want to hear it" (to the crowd waiting for Joe's Field to open for Wilco).

 

[/rant]

 

let the flaming commence...but please understand that I had a great time, and simply want to provide constructive criticism. I talked with Joe Thompson over the weekend, and intend to thank him via email for such an outstanding weekend.

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Had a great time! Would do again....and again....and again. It exceded my expectations and whatever the final attendance was should be the cap. 8,000 people would not have been a comfortable experience. Everything went really well. Camping was fantastic, made some friends and had a killer breakfast at the Hub each morning. On the last night it was cool chilling with the sing-a-long crowd at the bar on the corner (Holiday bar, maybe?) accustic guitars and such outside. Great, great weekend!

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To quote myself (my facebook page), this was "the single finest weekend of my life... no lie". Words WILL fail me here, but I'll try. I used to go to ridiculous lengths, sacrifice, and expense to catch the Grateful Dead whenever and wherever I could. Few of my family, friends, co-workers understood. But they never experienced those "moments".., a six hour drive each way, madness in the parking lot before and after the show, a blown radiator on the beltway at rush hour, etc, all for that "moment". Everything would click musically, a Stella Blue, maybe a Crazy Fingers, it didn't really matter what song, but it always came at least once per show, when I knew I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be... at the fleeting, floating center of the universe. In that moment I would be moved to tears by the majesty, the beauty, the frailty of our existence, and my soul would be flooded with the purest of gratitude that I had been simply allowed to stand right there, right then. I felt that way again, some fifteen years later, during Jeff's set, standing in the rain, the Berkshires as backdrop. Some three thousand people, a festival audience no less, outside, and you could hear a pin drop... Such respectful, loving fans of a such a respectful, loving band.

 

Thank you Wilco, thank you MassMoca, thank you Higher Ground, and thank you EVERYONE that performed and attended. It was wonderful beyond my feeble words.

 

Very well said, I was also a DeadHead, and a taper, I see the connection, oh my old touring buds think I'm nuts they don't "get it". I put Solid Sound up there with any Dead experience I ever had, including Europe '90 (or my first Dark Star in '89). I only wish I hadn't sold all my old taping gear to buy guitars, but then again I get much more use out of the guitars :^)

 

After meeting all of the band except Jeff, hell Glenn even sat and talked with us in the middle of the On Fillmore set (he was playing some tambourine w/ducks or something at the time), my wife is now on board, and she wants to catch a show in Chicago for the home town experience (and how dignified is that)!!!

 

It's too bad I just joined this forum and I don't really know anybody here, I do know how cool that is from my Rust/Human Highway (Neil Young) connections, it would have been cool to meet some of you. I am a longtime fan, and have seen the band many times, and yet I have to admit I haven't seen Jeff play the bass since the only time I saw Uncle Tupelo (Toad's in New Haven back in '91) so I was in tears just seeing THAT on Sunday.

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It's too bad I just joined this forum and I don't really know anybody here, I do know how cool that is from my Rust/Human Highway (Neil Young) connections, it would have been cool to meet some of you. I am a longtime fan, and have seen the band many times, and yet I have to admit I haven't seen Jeff play the bass since the only time I saw Uncle Tupelo (Toad's in New Haven back in '91) so I was in tears just seeing THAT on Sunday.

 

As a long time member of both rust and VC i can tell you, you will find a number of rusties here. i met long time rusties Harry O and Sara S after the Brenda set in the breeze way. And a added bit of coincidence the room i stayed in at the House on main B&B in Williamstown was called "Rust" :worship

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