by JD Eiseman
Now in its sixth year, the O+ Festival is a three-day, community-run celebration of art and music that simultaneously creates a bridge for working artists to access healthcare. In exchange for contributing to the festival’s programming, musicians, artists, and volunteers alike will receive a screening of their health needs and appointments with healthcare providers and wellness specialists of their choice at an on-site pop-up clinic throughout the three-day weekend. The clinic will be staffed by professional, licensed, volunteer care providers including general MDs, physical therapists, dentists, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, addiction counselors, and nutritionists. O+’s long-term goal is to develop a community model wherein perpetual access to health and medical resources for artists can “become a reality and a normality.”
O+ is dedicated to presenting a diverse array of musical talent and this year’s line-up brings an eclectic program of over 60 local, national, and international artists to a multitude of venues throughout Upper Kingston, including the Old Dutch Church, Keegan Ales, BSP, Stockade Tavern, Elephant, and The Anchor.
This year’s highlights include Widowspeak, who have recently released their third full-length record All Yours, a slow-rolling, blissed-out collection of dream-pop seemingly made for soundtracking a drive through the Catskills on a brightly lit October afternoon. Also set to perform are Quilt, a four-piece psych-folk outfit out of Boston who have released two quite good 60s-leaning LPs on Brooklyn-based label Mexican Summer. The new generation of Western Massachusetts indie-rock, which is having a sort-of moment within certain circles of indie-rock press, will be represented by two of the scene’s brightest lights, And the Kids and The Sun Parade. In addition, Corey Glover (of Living Colour), singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, Albany-based The Parlor, indie stalwarts Screaming Females, art-punk sisters Prince Rama, and the reunited ’80s power-pop band The Bongos will all be on hand.
Each year, the O+ Art Committee selects dozens of high-profile and emerging artists to exhibit public artworks throughout the streets of Kingston. Featuring a wide spectrum of art forms, O+ has exhibited sculpture, site-specific installations, film, light installations, and performance art, transforming the city’s walls, storefront windows, and public spaces. International street artist Gaia, whose 2013 “Artemis Emerging from the Quarry” mural, continues to inspire residents and visitors of Kingston, will curate the murals for this year’s festival. “Gaia’s belief in the power of murals to affect change, coupled with his deep understanding of street art and its creators, will help the O+ Festival demonstrate to the community how the arts are connected to wellness,” says Joe Concra, executive director of O+.
The weekend-long celebration will also include a kickoff parade featuring the Hungry March Band; a late night literary salon and collage café; unlimited classes in yoga, dance, meditation, and sound healing; bike rides for all skill levels; and a wellness expo and conference, featuring topics of particular interest to Hudson Valley residents and the larger creative community.
All-access wristbands are available now and can be purchased online. Wristbands are sold on a pay-what-you-can donation basis, but a $50 donation entitles the wristband holder to discounts and freebies on goods and services for one year at festival-supporting local businesses. This year’s festival takes place October 9 through 11 throughout Upper Kingston, NY.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.opositivefestival.org.