Summer’s Hottest Ticket? Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA
Chicago-based Wilco is making a habit of touring our region in summer. Last year, the literate, prolific, politically progressive band played Dutchess Stadium; the previous summer Wilco made an improbable and magnificent appearance at Tanglewood. The area has made an indelible impression on the band, who will be back again this August 13 - 15—their only East Coast appearance —to launch, headline, and curate a new, three-day festival of music, comedy, art, film, video installations, and more at MASS MoCA, a venue that seems downright intimate by comparison. And MASS MoCA has given you a scant 48 hours notice of this groundbreaking event; tickets go on sale Friday, April 9.
In addition to concerts by Wilco, fronted by Jeff Tweedy, the Solid Sound Festival will include performances by the band members’ side projects, including Glenn Kotcheʼs On Fillmore, The Nels Cline Singers, The Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, and Mikael Jorgensenʼs Pronto, though one wonders how these individuals have time for other projects given Wilco’s grueling touring schedule. Among the festival’s many participatory events, guitarist Cline will demonstrate his Solid Sound Stompbox Station, an interactive guitar pedal exhibit; and stringed-instrument experts will lead workshops.
How did Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival end up at MASS MoCA? Says museum director Joe Thompson, “We got a call from one of the band’s representatives a couple of years ago. They had enjoyed playing in the Berkshires at Tanglewood but wanted a bit more time, space and context to develop a more interactive, lasting relationship with their audiences, and with new audiences. They wanted to experiment—we love experiments ourselves and have enjoyed developing the concept in partnership with the band, its management, and Alex Crothers of Higher Ground, in Burlington, Vermont who is unlike any music producer I’ve ever met.”
Tickets for Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival go on sale Friday, April 9, at 10 a.m. through the band’s website or MASS MoCA’s, or in person at the MASS MoCA box office at 11 a.m. Tickets to the three-day extravaganza are a relatively gentle $86.50—$99.50 after June 1, though it’s unlikely any will be available by that time. Given how quickly the band sells out much larger venues, we encourage you have your credit card ready on Friday morning. Should you need to be the first to know everything about this event, you can follow developments on Twitter.—Bess Hochstein