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FreshGrass Kicks Off at Mass MoCA

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
Cassandra Cleghorn of The Wandering Rocks, a Williamstown-based band, performs at FreshGrass on Friday evening.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — FreshGrass — it's the bluegrass music festival at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art that just keeps growing.
At its third year, Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson expects around 3,500 festivalgoers on Saturday, which will double last year's figure of around 1,600.
"There's an interest in bluegrass," Thompson said. "The lineup, I think, is super."
Thompson credits the festival's growth with the word-of-mouth circulation, the reasonable price ($78 for the entire festival), the family-friendly atmosphere and the entire museum open for view.
Friday night kicked off with the Williamstown-based group The Wandering Rocks at the Courtyard D stage and will continue all the way into Sunday evening, featuring the Wood Brothers, Leftover Salmon, the Del McCoury Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, and many more.
"We know their songs, it's fantastic," Thompson said Friday night during The Wandering Rocks set.
Single-day tickets, regular admission for Saturday and Sunday is $38 dollars for adults, $28 for students and $18 for children from ages 7 to 16. Children under 7 can enter for free.
There's also a handful of local vendors, including Desperados, How We Roll, Village Pizza and Spice Root.
"We're hoping for a good, good response," said Vijay Narula, who operates Spice Root with his family. Narula said they'll be offering a wide variety of food, including vegetarian options all weekend.
Residents also took the opportunity to volunteer and work at the festival, including City Councilor Nancy Bullett, who was introduced to FreshGrass previously by her friend Richard Taskin.
"I couldn't go to a better one," Bullett said. "People are laid back, it's great, it's a good night."
For more information on the festival, visit FreshGrass.com.

Wilco Delivers Solid Set, Hints at Return to MoCA

Staff Reports

Wilco worked a sensational 2 1/2 hour set Saturday night at Mass MoCA's Joe Field. Lead singer Jeff Tweedy thanked the thousands in attendance (official number of tickets sold have yet to be released by event organizers):

"Thanks for letting us take over your town, or at least part of it," he said.

The freight train could be heard during one of Wilco's songs, and Tweedy quipped:

"You guys hear that train go by? We made that happen. It's part of our installation."

Tweedy also got the fans involved, letting the masses sing the first two verses to "Jesus, Etc." He said it was one of the top three renditions he's ever heard from an audience.

The band's frontman also made reference to coming back next year, which garnered a huge roar from the crowd.

Still plenty more to come Sunday on the third and final day of the Solid Sound Festival. Keep it here at iBerkshires.com for more coverage.




Tags: Wilco, Solid Sound Festival      

Almost Time for Wilco

Staff Reports

Wilco is set to take the stage in about an hour. The crowds around Mass MoCA are swelling and the anticipation for the big set is building. Check back later tonight for updates on attendance figures.

Jeff Tweedy prepared for his band's show by taking a swim — or several for that matter. Tweedy, along with other members of Wilco, hopped aboard a dunk tank earlier this afternoon. The money raised will go to local charities to support arts education.

Here's a picture of Tweedy bracing for impact.


Todd Barry took to the Hunter Center stage at about 4 p.m... Had the crowd in stitches...




Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche gave an explanation/demonstration of his drum installation at the Sol Lewitt .... Best moment came when Kotche looked at one of the drums and said, "Oops, looks like somebody bled on this one." Who said art wasn't supposed to be painful?


Bunch of music today! Here are a couple photos. ..

Time for the big show , and then a big extravaganza on Main Street. Check back to iBerkshires.com later for updates and more photos.


So some would argue golf might not be a sport, but how about an art form?? Wow, they really have just about everything to offer at MoCA this weekend.


Tags: Wilco, Solid Sound Festival      

Names From the Traveling Wall

Staff Reports

Susan Macksey, formerly of North Adams, sent us some photos of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, better known as simply  "The Wall."

This particular 250-foot-long traveling replica is called "The Wall That Heals."  It was situated at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

She sent pictures of the names of five Northern Berkshire men that are engraved on the wall: Peter Foote of North Adams, Russell Roulier of Adams, Tristan Hayes and Francis Bissaillon of Williamstown, and Peter Cook, who is listed under North Adams but was actually from Clarksburg. The Clarksburg VFW Post is named for him.

"Last month, some friends and I rode down to Bethel Woods, N.Y. to see the "Wall That Heals" — the traveling Vietnam War Memorial," Macksey wrote us this weekend. "I'm sorry that they are a little late for Memorial Day but I hope you can use them for your website."

We told her we'd find a way to use them. After all, any day is Memorial Day. So here are the photos she sent:

  From top left clockwise, Francis H. Bissaillon, Peter A. Cook, Peter W. Foote, Tristan W. Hayes and Russell R. Roulier, all casualties of the Vietnam War. For more information about Massachusetts names on the wall, click here.  


Tags: Vietnam, photos      

Northern Berkshire Relay Raises $125K

Staff Reports

The fifth annual Northern Berkshire Relay for Life turned out a record crowd on Friday night, May 21. More than 200 cancer survivors walked the red carpet for the traditional Survivors' Lap at Noel Field in North Adams.

Relay organizers said this was the biggest event yet, with more than 1,000 team members, friends and family raising $125,000 to date - up $1,000 just since Sunday. Donations can still be made by contacting Laura.Baran@cancer.org.

The top team so far is Everday Heroes with $3,900; top individual fundraiser is Joan Bator of the Hike to Strike team with $1,386.

The weather was beautiful for this year's event, after last spring's rainy night. Still, the 2009 Relay raised more than $124,000 for cancer research and patient and family support.

Photos of this year's event will be posted later Tuesday.

Tags: Relay for Life      
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