Wellness requires center-stage at inaugural O+ Festival | The Berkshire Eagle


By Benjamin Cassidy, The Berkshire Eagle

NORTH ADAMS — DJs and MCs are widespread at arts festivals. MDs? Not so substantially.

However, in the O+ Festival’s lineup, you are going to come across medical doctors and other well being pros mixed in with artists and musicians. That is since the new North Adams festival will be supplying totally free well being and wellness care to its performers and volunteers in the midst of art, music and wellness programming on Friday, May possibly 10, and Saturday, May possibly 11. (A couple of wellness events will also be held Sunday, May possibly 12, at Hancock Shaker Village.) The notion is to present underinsured inventive forms with well being sources and info that can serve them beyond O+ as they try to navigate the complicated U.S. well being care technique, in numerous situations with out employer backing. Even though festival attendees can not take benefit of such solutions, they can verify out acts such as Grammy-nominated duo Les Nubians, which will execute at the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art’s Hunter Center on that Saturday evening. The concert will cap a day that consists of 55 events at a variety of websites about North Adams.

“On the outdoors, any one from the neighborhood can come and take pleasure in a festival with very good music — regional music — astounding art and workshops and wellness and activities,” O+ North Adams Festival Director Jessica Sweeney stated, “but genuinely the core of this festival is to fill the gap [in] well being care for artists and musicians, freelancers in unique.”

The artists’ clinic will be set up in Mass MoCA’s Constructing six, according to O+ North Adams Communications Director Makayla-Courtney McGeeney. Musicians, artists and volunteers obtain access to “an all round verify-up (blood stress, ears and eyes, and so forth.), physique and power perform such as a massage and reiki, and dental perform,” McGeeney wrote in an e-mail. Musician, artist and volunteer stroll-ins are acceptable for verify-ups. Dental appointments with Carver Dental need to have to be produced in advance.

“I am genuinely excited since I have not been to the dentist in forever, and I am like, ‘Yes, I’ve got a dental appointment,'” visual artist Danielle Klebes stated.

The North Adams resident is at present building one particular of the festival’s murals outdoors of Tres Ninos. Vincent Ballentine is also creating one particular at the Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont shop at 166 State St. Public art has been a staple of O+ gatherings in other cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Haverhill, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Kingston, N.Y., exactly where O+ was founded in 2010. A video about the opioid epidemic in North Adams and the city’s developing arts neighborhood helped attract the nonprofit to the northern Berkshire city that Klebes initially visited as an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker back in 2013. She’s drawing from that expertise in her mural, “Outside Recreation.”


“I wanted to capture the trail spirit mixed with the old postcards,” Klebes stated, alluding to vintage North Adams imagery that appears down on the city.

Klebes arrived in North Adams about a year ago, getting a North Adams Project grant from Assets for Artists. Although she’s nonetheless early in her profession, the artist born in 1989 stated that she has gone via periods with out sufficient well being care. She has been fortunate adequate to have it at the appropriate moments, although.

“I had a freak eye issue the finish of final year, wracked up $30,000 in health-related bills that I paid like a compact fraction of. So, that was astounding,” stated Klebes, who is at present covered by MassHealth.

Klebes is aiming to have her mural carried out by the time the festival begins. On Friday, May possibly 10, a particular Elks Lodge kick-off concert featuring Humble Digs, And The Little ones and Aubrey Haddard will be accessible for advance wristband-holders starting at eight p.m. The subsequent day, the festival will commence in earnest with a farmers market place and well being expo at The Green. Yoga, Pilates, mindfulness meditation and fitness sessions are some of the morning’s other offerings. That afternoon, festivalgoers can hear Hill Haints, Nick Stanley, Belle-Skinner and Mamma’s Marmalade, amongst other musical acts. At evening, Krista Speroni, who performs as Spero, will open for Les Nubians. The musician operates on musical projects in Boston and the Hudson Valley, but has been gigging a bit in North Adams lately. Participating in the city’s initially O+ Festival carries weight for her.

“I undoubtedly believed it was a good chance for my project, my music, the path of my band,” Speroni stated of the festival, “but on the grander scale of items, extra critical scale of items, I really feel like, what a cool notion for a festival. A lot of musicians that I know are circulating in the gig economy, choosing up jobs wherever we can. And as numerous of us know, well being insurance coverage could or could not be a issue for these persons, like myself. I feel it is just a genuinely epic way to organize about providing solutions to persons, to artists that we worth, and displaying that appreciation.”

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at [email protected], at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.

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