Wilco Sets June Date for Return Engagement

By Larry MurrayBerkshireOnStage.com
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Solid Sound brought thousands of fans to North Adams last August.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Yeah, they want to build anticipation, and we are going to have to wait another few weeks for the ticket information and official announcement, but the dates for the second annual Solid Sound Festival have been set for June 24-26, 2011.

Happily it will once again be held on the extensive campus of MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts) in North Adams. Music lovers who attended last year loved the integration of Wilco with cutting-edge contemporary visual arts. Performances included far more than Wilco, and were tucked on small stages between buildings as well as the main stage that was pretty well-hidden from view to all but paid attendees.

The first Solid Sound Festival took place this past Aug. 13-15, 2010, and included a handful of other bands and artists including Mavis Staples and Avi Buffalo, a comedy stage, and special activities for children. Well over 10,000 people attended over the weekend. Towards the end of last year’s event guitarist Jeff Tweedy said "Let's do it again next year," and the crowd endorsed the sentiment. And indeed, Wilco is keeping true to their word.

The event helped put North Adams and the beautiful Berkshires on the radar screens of urban Americans from Chicago to Kalamazoo and pioneered the concept of a weekendlong festival in which attendees could only buy a three-day pass, not individual days. As a result virtually every lodging and campground space in the Northern Berkshires and Southern Vermont sold out prior to the festival, a first for the area. The financial impact of the event was estimated to be somewhere upwards of $1.5 million in extra lodging and restaurant sales.

This year the event is in the June shoulder season, which should make more rooms available since it is well before the high tourist season that begins immediately after their appearance with the opening of Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

So get out those calendars and block out the dates, more news will surely follow as 2011 gets under way.

More on the arts and theater in the Berkshires can be found at BerkshireonStage.com.

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Storm System Could Bring Region's First Nor'easter of Season

The dusting of snow the Berkshires got on Wednesday — after enjoying temperatures in the high 50s the days before —may have been a warning of things to come. 
The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has posted a winter storm watch for the Berkshires this weekend and some forecasters say this could be the first Nor'easter of the season. 
"It looks like as we go forward we are going to see a strengthening storm coming up the Eastern Seaboard, but the forecasting dilemma, and it always is, is the exact track of the storm," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said on Thursday.
NWS is warning of heavy snow and accumulations of 6 inches or more in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. The storm is expected to hit Saturday morning and run through Sunday morning. Travel could be difficult because of covered roadways and low visibility. 
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