North Adams residents encouraged to rent out rooms for Solid Sound 2013
NORTH ADAMS -- Anticipating local hotels, motels and campgrounds soon will be booked solid for Solid Sound 2013-Wilco's Music and Arts Festival in June, Mass MoCA officials have arranged for a service to pair festival-goers with area residents with rooms to rent to attendees.
To help festival-goers stay in the immediate area for the three-day event, the North Adams museum has a partnership with Airbnb.
com, an online listing service that helps arrange short-term rentals of spare rooms, apartments and homes. Festival organizers hope area residents, especially those in proximity to Mass MoCA, will use the service to rent their spare rooms, homes or apartments at a nominal price during the weekend of June 21-23.
"I'm really excited about this," said Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson. "I use this service when I go to a big gathering of experimental plane enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wis. It's a very small community and the way they deal with the crowds is every church, sports club, and community member uses it as an opportunity to sell their empty spare bedrooms. I've stayed in other people's homes on several occasions."
In collaboration with the contemporary art museum, members of the band Wilco, a popular alternative rock group, assemble the three-day music, art and comedy festival.
The Wilco Solid Sound Festival is now in its third year after taking a year off in 2012.
The festival was attended by 5,900 people in 2011 and generated an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million in revenue for area businesses in each of the first two festivals.
With the release of single-day tickets on Wednesday, Thompson said he was sure that ticket holders would begin to snap up available hotel and motel rooms even faster.
"As sites fill up, we wanted to find a way to be able to keep a lot of the ticket-holders in our neighborhoods," he said. "It's tricky to bring a large amount of people into this area with a limited amount of accommodations. We know that Solid Ground (campground) is selling out fast and the No. 1 question we get when people buy tickets is about available accommodations. We had the idea to put the word out to people in North Adams to use Airbnb.com."
Thompson called it "an opportunity to keep these visitors local and for residents to put a few extra dollars in their pockets."
"I think we could fill 200 or 300 rooms pretty easily, if that many people signed up," he said. "You can rent a spare room for $50 to $100 a night, for two or three nights. Multiply that by a few hundred rooms and that turns into a very large economic impact."
Airbnb.com allows individuals to register their rentals for free and receives a small percentage of the rental fee, as it handles online bookings and rental transactions.
"We're encouraging people to register with Airbnb.com now, as it takes a few days for a listing to be accepted," Thompson said, adding that the site has a set of verifications and standards in place for both those looking for accommodations and those renting.
The site will be recommended to ticket holders both by the museum and on the official festival site, www.solidsoundfestival.com.
"We expect to use Air bnb.com for FreshGrass in September as well, so once your lodging offerings are listed, you will be good to go for that event too," Thompson said.
FreshGrass, a bluegrass music festival, is planned for Sept. 20-22.
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