Solid Sound Filling Up 'Pop-Up' Campgrounds
|Campers set up their gear on Solid Ground at the Noel Field Athletic Complex.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — If you partition it, they will come.
The three main camp sites for Solid Sound Festivalgoers are just about filled up. Solid Ground, Hoosac Valley Campground, and Camp Aggie resemble giant grids ready to host a portion of the over 7,000 concert goers to visit the Berkshires this year for the event.
Throughout the day Friday, concertgoers have been filtering through Cheshire, Adams, and North Adams with tents, coolers, grills sleeping bags, and the occasional guitar for pre-concert serenading.
Solid Ground, located at Noel Field Athletic Complex is at capacity with 375 plots accommodating four people each having all been reserved. This is also the case for the Hoosac Valley Campground, which has room for 245 campsites.
The newcomer this year is Camp Aggie located on Bowe Field in Adams.
Camp organizer Chuck Felix said Camp Aggie was the designated overflow camp and it was only expected to hold 10 to 15 campers, however, this is quickly changing.
"We didn't except much but we are up to over 40 now and we expect more to come throughout the weekend," Felix said. "It's good for us, and it makes a lot of money.
Adams Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco said although there is no official plan to bring people from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus to Adams, he is hopeful some will make the trek south — especially with camps now in both Cheshire and Adams.
"Anytime an event like Solid Sound occurs you always see an increase in foot traffic, and even though the event is in North Adams, we will see increased foot traffic this weekend," Mazzucco said. "Although it [Camp Aggie] won't be that large, it's still individuals choosing to stay in Adams for the weekend who will undoubtedly do some shopping, eating, and drinking here and take some time to see the Town."
Mazzucco said the creation of Camp Aggie shows the need for more outdoor recreational lodging in the area, which is something he hopes to accomplish with the Greylock Glen.
Mazzucco said next Solid Sound he would like to have a more formal effort to tap into the foot traffic North Adams will see.
"We may be two separate towns, but we really need to look at the whole of the northern Berkshires as one community," he said. "What's good for part is good for the whole."
However, the Camp Aggie workers are doing their own advertisement.
With a fist full of maps pointing out places to eat and visit in Adams, Felix is doing his part.
"I'm handing out these maps and telling people about some of the great places to eat in Adams," Felix said. "North Adams gets most of the action, and I think it is important to redistribute it a little."
Solid Sound opens at Mass MoCA on Friday night and runs through Sunday.
Solid Sound Success Leaves Impression
|Joe's Field was packed for Saturday night's Wilco performance. Left, Natalie Barnes was one of 15 'talk to a townie' volunteers. She didn't have too many people walking up to her asking questions, but rather found herself 'spilling information' while waiting in lines.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — They came, they rocked, they ate, they shopped.
Some 7,500 to 8,100 music fans descended on the city at the height of the Solid Sound Festival at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts this weekend.
The visitors filled parking lots, campgrounds and restaurants in the downtown area over the three-day weekend.
That economic impact in the city was important, but not as much as the impression they'll be leaving with.
"The message they bring back home is priceless," said Mayor Richard Alcombright on Sunday morning, as residents and visitors strolled the street market on Main Street. "They're bringing that message home to Montana, Newfoundland .. New Brunswick ... they came from all over the country."
The mayor said he'd spent some two hours at the Solid Ground campground at Noel Field Athletic Complex talking with festivalgoers who'd expressed their appreciation of the city and the welcome they'd received from residents.
"I think it gets better each and every time," he said, pointing to the increase in attendance. "From the last one, there's a noticeable difference."
The beautiful weather may had much to do with the higher traffic volume after the last festival's wet weekend. On Saturday night, a Wilco fans packed onto a dry Joe's Field, sprawling on blankets setting up lawn chairs or just swaying to the beat.
They happily hooted in return to the whistle of a train heading into the Little Tunnel and then roared as Wilco took the stage.
Far in the back was Wilco Command, headquartered in Pittsfield's mobile police command center. Police, fire and ambulance personnel were operating out of the center and ambulances were stationed nearby for the exit onto West Main Street.
Closer to the action was a first aid station run by North Adams Ambulance Service with four-wheelers borrowed from the North Adams and Florida fire departments — a way to get patients from the crowded venue to the ambulances.
General Manager John Meaney Jr. said they'd been treating mostly scrapes and bumps but several concertgoers had been taken out Friday night (and a number on Saturday night) for a variety of reasons, including a little too much festival fun.
"We're prepared and ready," said Meaney on Saturday night.
|North Adams Rotary ran through 5,000 hot dogs by Saturday evening.|
Despite the thousands of people over the past three concerts, Alcombright said by Sunday morning, no arrests had been made.
"This speaks volumes to everyone one who is involved in this weekend," said the mayor.
Concertgoers tried to express their appreciation with their wallets. "We had people trying to give us $20 for a Band-Aid," said Meaney. "We told them no, that's not necessary."
That generosity made an impression on City Councilor David Bond, who had volunteered at the North Adams Rotary tent selling hot dogs and soda.
"Within the first hour, we made $150 in tips," said Bond, who was gratified that "everybody's wallet was flowing" to help the causes the Rotary supports.
They also emptied the Rotary of hot dogs on Saturday — all 5,000 they had.
Wild Oats Market was also running on empty by the time Wilco took the stage. Gregory Roach said he'd made sure to bring twice as much as last time but that still wasn't enough. "I don't know what I'm going to feed them tomorrow," he joked.
Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Maloney said the festival had been a positive for the city, including his wife, Nichole's, bakery Luma's Muffin & Mug, which had a line waiting for it to open.
"I've never sliced so many bagels in my life," he said.