NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — What's now a field of snow will bloom with tents in June as music lovers descend on the city for the Solid Sound 2 Festival.
The city is teaming with Solid Sound host Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts and the local ROPES program to organize and operate the temporary camping area, dubbed "Solid Ground." Up to 300 tent campsites and 10 recreational vehicle spots will be marked out at the Noel Field Athletic Complex between Steele and Disanti fields behind the former Modern Liquors for June 24, 25 and 26.
Commissioner Mark Vadnais points out where 'Solid Ground' will be situated to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
More than 5,000 people attended last August's festival — curated by band Wilco — filling inns and hotels and packing into the Historic Valley Campground. Noel Field was suggested last year as a possible camping site; this year, the city's being proactive in placing Wilco fans within walking distance of MoCA and the downtown.
Half the tent sites and all but one of the RV lots have been reserved as of Friday, said Chiara Morrison at MoCA's box office.
The Parks and Recreation Commission last Wednesday reviewed preliminary plans for usage of the fields and where the tents will be located. Portable showers and toilets will be placed at the field and Paul Markland, public works director, said his department would mark out the sites with lime. Open fires will be prohibited. Golf carts will be used to shuttle campers and equipment from the parking areas and ROPES will provide an element of security and a concession.
"I went to ROPES because they have a solid support in place," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "A good majority of them either were or are involved in law enforcement. ... It puts some form of security automatically in place."
ROPES, or Respecting Other People, Encouraging Self-esteem, is an annual summer day camp for kids that the North Adams Police Department has been operating for years. Many of its volunteer staff are local emergency responders.
"They just needed an organization willing to take on this event," said police Lt. David Sacco, one of ROPES' founders. "Because it is a city-based organization, it's kind of a win-win for the city."
Campers are being charged $80 for a 15-by-18-foot, single tent site for the weekend. An RV spot is $100. The MoCA box office is handling reservations and notifications and will get a small slice of the fee; the rest will be shared between the city and ROPES after costs, such as field repair or portable conveniences.
The Parks Commission expressed concern over damage to the field but the mayor said he expected the costs to be covered by the fees.
"Unless we have a really, really soggy weekend, I don't see a problem," he said. "Basically we committed to the fact that any repairs will come out of the proceeds."
Sacco said he didn't also see an issue with security at the site, based on last year's family-friendly, laidback crowd.
"I have never ever seen a more well-behaved crowd," said Sacco. "We're not anticipating any problems."
The dates will bump the annual LaFesta Baseball Exchange to July.
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I'm a native of North Adams and find myself in a state of shock by the decision of Parks Commission. They know the use of the field for this purpose is wrong and they just gave in to another Alcombright folly. The fields will be ruined after all the money which has been invested. The Modern Liquor building is a disgrace and embarassment for anyone to see including those who will come to North Adams.
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