Mark Your Calendars For Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival

March 11, 2017 in news

With it already being March, the summer music festival season is right around the corner. Almost every weekend from May till October you can find a fest filled with musical acts, crafts, food and curiosities, but as far as this writer is concerned, the best of all of them happens in late June in the picturesque setting of North Adams, MA.

Solid Sound is the festival that was first launched by Wilco back in 2010. Curated by the band, the three day festival takes place as the amazing Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, an old factory in the downtown of North Adams, MA that has been converted into a gorgeous center for both contemporary visual art and performing arts. While the band original intended for the festival to happen every year, it now happens every other summer and it is scheduled to happen again this June, between the 23rd and 25th.

The last Solid Sound was the first one that I was able to attend and it was a fabulous time. The musical acts that Wilco put together for that festival included everything from veterans like NRBQ and Richard Thompson to newer acts such as Real Estate, Mac DeMarco, Ryley Walker and Parquet Courts.On top of this, Wilco played full shows on the Friday and Saturday night, while Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer played with their Tweedy band on Sunday night. It was an unforgettable weekend – possibly even more so because of the absolutely punishing rainstorm that pelted down on all campers on Saturday night – and one that I am looking forward to repeating in a few months.

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The line up for this year’s festival was announced very recently and, as expected, Wilco have done a great job bringing together some very diverse and interesting talent. Top of the list of must sees in 2017 has to be The Shaggs and Television. The Shaggs is a trio of sisters who released their one and only album, Philosophy Of the World, on a very unsuspecting public back in 1969. The trio has been tagged as ‘outsider music’ and ‘proto-punk” and this will be their first public appearance in sometime. Television created one of the best debut albums of all time in 1977’s Marquee Moon and is a band that influenced not only Wilco but also an entire generation of musicians.

Of course, that is just the tip of the iceburg of who will be playing. There are a number of Wilco side-projects taking part, including the Autumn Defense, On Fillmore, The Nels Cline Four and Tweedy, and the band has also asked Kurt Vile, Tortoise’s Jeff Parker, Dave and Phil Alvin and Canadian folkie Andy Shauf to play too, amongst others. Not to mention that band pal John Hodgeman is also curating a comedy stage for the festival too. Last time my wife went to see Tig Notaro give an excellent set. I am hoping that Reggie Watts will be back this year.

Set in the picturesque Berkshires, North Adams is a fantastic place for a fest like this. Nestled up in the mountains, there is lots to do outside of the festival as well as in it. Our experience at Solid Sound 2015 was the best time I’ve ever had at a music festival and I am really looking forward to doing it again this year.

If you want more information about it, please visit the Solid Sound Festival website.

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By Sean Palmerston

Sean Palmerston is a vinyl loving music nerd who also loves NHL hockey, Godzilla movies and hanging out with his kids. A former contributing writer to a number of publications, including Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs and VICE, Sean also runs the all metal webzine Hellbound.ca

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