Solid Sound Festival Returns to Mass MOCA on June 23!


Every two years, the popular band, Wilco, organize their own special music, art, and comedy festival called Solid Sound. I’ve attended two of these over the past six years, and each was indeed memorable, with perfect weather, lots of creative and delicious food, and the music of Wilco to top it all off.  I interviewed Deb Bernardi, one of the festival organizers, about this year’s festival and what’s new and fun for 2017.
The Solid Ground Tent site at Solid Sound, where 350 campers bed down during the 3-day festival.
The Solid Ground Tent site at Solid Sound, one of two areas where 350 spots for 2800 to campers bed down during the 3-day festival.

One of the best things about Solid Sound is that it’s curated by Wilco, and fans of the band are always interested in Jeff and Company’s favorite groups.  Can you tell me about some of this year’s lesser-known yet most likely surprisingly talented performers and why they were picked to play the festival? Perhaps you can mention a few standouts, bands that we don’t know yet, who Wilco picked. 

“Phew tough question – every artist on the bill qualifies as talented and a standout, but some that festival-goers might not yet know include Joan Shelley, Kacy and Clayton, Andy Schauff, Max Hatt/Edda Glass. 

Are there any new aspects to this year’s festival? Anything layout wise, or different that will be new to attendees this year?

MASS MoCA is always one of the main attractions of Solid Sound, but this year, given their massive expansion, it’s safe to say it will feel like the first time, even to folks who’ve attended every one since we started in 2010.

The museum, already one of the world’s largest, has added approximately 130,000 additional square feet this month with the opening of Building 6, an entire floor worth of exhibit space. So wandering the vastness of Mass MoCA will be even better this year.  It’s now a massive 260,000 square feet HUGE!

Max Hatt and Etta Glass, among the dozens of performers at Solid Sound Festival 2017.
Max Hatt and Etta Glass, among the dozens of performers at Solid Sound Festival 2017.
Based on ticket sales from the past, do you have a breakdown of who attends the festival, by the numbers? How many people approx come up from NYC?  Any breakdown of the audience you can provide will be helpful.

The NY-metro area and Boston-metro area are home to many festival attendees but we literally have had audience members travel from 47 states and 13 countries, so it’s a pretty broad range.

What are the activities this year for families?   

List of specifically family-friendly activities are here:
How many people buy the camping passes, is this growing, are there more campers each year?

We’ve expanded our camping accommodations each year. The two official campsites – Solid Ground and Camp Aggie –  have 350 plots each, in total, accommodating approximately 2800 people.

Finally, what album will Wilco be playing on Friday night?

As chosen by the audience, they’ll be playing Being There.