Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
  Wilco and Solid Sound are a Very Big Deal

OK. It’s official now. Wilco is coming to Mass MoCA along with a lot of other cool stuff for three days in August. Estimates put ticket sales for Wilco’s only east coast event of the summer at around 10,000 people.

That’s right. 10,000 people, almost all of whom are driving in from somewhere else will be coming to North Adams for a weekend in August. Many of them will have money and time to burn. Can North Adams actually capitalize on this event?

I often hear about people who complain that Mass MoCA’s patrons don’t spend their money in North Adams. Well here’s the deal folks – If some of us can’t make some serious bucks off of the 10,000 or so folks who will be wandering around the area looking for food, lodging, supplies, sundries, and more… then there is something wrong with us - Not Mass MoCA - Not Wilco, but us.

Who is going to have a huge Saturday & Sunday Breakfast Buffet for hundreds of weary concert goers? Thay can’t all fit into the restaurants.

Who is going to sell their art, trinkets and knick knaks on the street?

Who is going to rent out bedrooms because the hotels are going to be overflowing?

This is a very big deal, even if you don’t like the band or the fans. DON’T SCREW IT UP! This is could be the beginning of something even bigger!

What? We have to do something???
I think Wilco is a brilliant programming choice even if it is "independently produced." But I do wonder just how they are predicting 10,000 when the Hunter Center at max can hold 900 people standing, 650-700 sitting.

From what I gather Wilco will do two shows themselves with lots of peripheral activity. But they are selling weekend tickets, so the Hunter capacity limits the number sold.

I also found this curious statement on the promoters site:

"On-site parking is free, but limited. Designated off-site parking will be serviced by a free shuttle. We strongly encourage carpooling, walking, bi- or uni-cycling and will provide convenient and secure bike valet services."

There are incredible possibilities with this event, and I hope it succeeds. The Berkshires is in great need for a popular-rock-mainstream live performance series, and if this is the leading edge of a move towards that, North Adams could be in for something different, very populist, yet tinged with contemporary music, art and old fashioned money.
Larry- There will be three stages set up at MMoCA. The main one will be in the huge field behind MMoCA that is partially owned by National Grid. There is definitely room.
Fantastic! This is a great story. I love the idea of a bike parking valet.
There was an event like this last year, though a bit smaller. Did anyone take advantage of that?

I love the bike parking valet, too, but where, exactly, did MoCA expect people to be biking from? And on what bike-friendly routes?

Ah, infrastructure.

Around here, is it a problem of "If you build it, they will come" or "Keep them coming until they force you to build it or they go away"? (Kind of seems like the latter.)
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