By: Andy McKeever On: 05:19PM / Friday June 24, 2011
Javier Higuera was one of the first to arrive at Noel Field for the Solid Sound Festival. Higuera drove from Arizona — stopping in major cities on the way — for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Solid Ground expects to be filled to the brim.
According to Police Sgt. David Sacco, a founder of the local ROPES program, 250 tent slots and all 10 recreational vehicle spots have been sold and the campers have been trickling in all morning. Each tent can have up to four people.
"Check in started at 11 a.m. and they've been filtering in consistently since then," Sacco said Friday afternoon. The ROPES organization, lead by local emergency responders, is coordinating the camping area at the municipal park.
The site at Noel Field is expected to be full by 8 p.m. and the ROPES volunteers of more than 200 will be helping concertgoers and keeping order. The team has been shuttling people to the site by using golf carts; the threat of stormy weather does not seem to be a deterrent.
"In case of severe weather we're suggesting they head to their cars," Sacco said. "The Eagles Club also called and said that if we needed to have a mass exodus, they'll open up for us."
Some 5,000 concertgoers are coming to the area from all over the country and beyond. Sacco said there are two reservations from Canada and one from South Africa. ROPES Program coordinator John LeClair said he has seen people from across the country including Ohio, Wisconsin and California.
Well-prepared camper Javier Higuera was all set up by 1 p.m. after driving from Arizona to attend the festival. Higuera left his home on Saturday and has been stopping at major cities along the way.
ROPES set up vendors that expect to be open until 1 a.m. or even later depending on business.
"I've never been east of Denver before," Higuera said. "This is a trip of a lifetime."
Higuera is meeting up with a friend on Sunday and will be driving back – hitting even more cities along the way. Higuera said he does not have to be back to work until July 5, so he is enjoying the vacation.
The campers are flowing in with cases of beer and wine, grills, Frisbees and Wiffle ball bats.
Police are not expecting any problems. LeClair said that last year police had "zero" incidents and he expects the same this year. Medical staff and security will be on site throughout the festival, he said.
"This isn't a mosh pit," LeClair said. "They are all very nice."
By: Andy McKeever On: 11:06PM / Tuesday April 26, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tickets for Wilco's Solid Sound Festival are selling quicker than last year.
"We'll have at least as many as we had last year and probably more," said Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Director Joseph Thompson on Tuesday. "Ticket sales are tracking nicely above what they were at the t-minus 80 days, year-to-year count."
One of the big reasons tickets sales are up, Thompson told the Mass MoCA Cultural Development Commission, is because it is being held earlier in the summer and there are more available hotel rooms.
"It was the mayor's idea actually, to try and shift the program away from July, August into September, June or May when reservations were softer," Thompson said. "There were probably 1,000 or 1,500 more rooms available in a 30-mile radius."
The event could have been larger last year but lodging had been too difficult to find, Thompson said. Additionally, about half of the tent sites and 10 recreational vehicle sites at Noel Field Athletic Complex have been sold.
"Those are selling well. I think we are up to 165 tent slots," Thompson said. "People are excited that they can walk from the tent site to the event."
Also regarding housing, Thompson said that last year there were a lot of rooms and houses that were rented for the weekend.
"It did happen last year. There were a lot of Craigslist listings," Thompson said. "People were selling even access to their showers on a per-use basis."
The success of the festival has even led MoCA officials to begin planning another concert event for August. The event, which will be much smaller than Solid Sound, is still in the planning stages and officials have yet to decide on the band.
"It will be some for 1,000 or 2,000 people," Thompson said. "We need to find the right band for the right price."