Wilco sets sales for MoCA

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NORTH ADAMS -- They say the early bird gets the worm, but what does the "early worm" get? Specially priced tickets for Wilco's three-day Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA, which go on sale this Friday at 11 a.m.

The popular alt-country rock band announced the advanced ticket sales for the festival, running June 24-26, through its website on Tuesday, along with "Solid Ground," a city-run camping site adjacent to the Noel Field Athletic Complex.

"The band had a great time last summer which is why they decided to come back," Wilco's publicist Deb Bernardini, said Wednesday.

She said the band picked the June dates because they were the ones that worked best within its upcoming summer tour schedule, as well as for Mass MoCA.

Three-day passes for the festival will be available in limited numbers at an "early worm" price of $99. 50. The regular price for the three-day pass will be $124.50. A limited number of single day passes, sold in advance, will also be available at discounted prices -- $65 for Friday, June 24; $78 for Saturday, June 25 and $65 for Sunday, June 26. Children 6-years-old and under will be admitted free of charge, while weekend passes for children, ages 7 to 10, will be sold for $50 -- available for purchase only at the festival's box office that weekend. A limited festival line-up also was posted on Tuesday, including two headline concerts by Wilco, a comedy cabaret hosted by John Hodgman, and a Euclid Records pop-up store. Further details about the festival, including additional performers and events, will be announced in the months leading up to the concert.

Beginning Friday, tickets can be purchased online through the festival's website, www.solidsoundfestival.com or at www.massmoca.org, Tickets can also be purchased through the Mass MoCA box office, in person or by phone at 413-662-2111.

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Reservations for tent campsites, priced at $80 for up to two nights, and a limited number of RV spaces, at $100 for up to two nights, are currently available through the Mass MoCA box office.

"The city is very excited to offer camping this year," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said Wednesday. "It will allow us to keep another 1,000 or so people in the vicinity of the downtown. People will be able to walk back and forth to the event." He said the idea was proposed during several wrap-up meetings with the museum following the festival in August.

"One of the things many of the festival attendees identified is that they wished there were camping spots available closer to the action," he said. "It had been talked about briefly last year, but we weren't ready to take that leap, since it's a big undertaking." The camp sites will be located on the DiSanti softball and soccer fields, just south of the Joe Wolfe Field.

"What we're trying to do is create a tent city," Alcombright said.

"Mass MoCA is acting as the reservation service and facilitating the costs. The city is working out the logistics -- how to monitor the site, bring in Porta-potties, portable water, lighting and take care of the trash. It could be a big money maker for the city. Rough estimates indicate that if we sell 200 to 300 spots, it won't cost the city a dime to provide a lot of good will." Offering camping within the city became a logical step, following the smooth flow of last year's festival, he said.

"I think the city proved we could handle an additional 5,000 people," the mayor said. "Everything went quite well. This office didn=B9t get one call or one complaint from a resident about the concerts. I think the biggest and best indicators are that there was not one Wilco-related police call for the entire weekend. That says a lot for the organization and it says a lot for the people who came to the festival.

"Visibly, from what I could see, the crowd ranged in age from 25 to 55. It was a very interesting and compelling mix, with a large number of families with strollers. It was definitely a great family event and a really good impetus to continue hosting events like this. If we can handle 5,000 people, I'm sure we can handle 7,000." For more information, visit www.solidsoundfestival.com or www.massmoca.org.


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