This is a fairly massive post, but I just can't help it because The Wassaic Project was too awesome for words.
Wassaic is a beautiful litte town in New York, and the festival is run once a year by The Wassaic Project, an artist community that is based out of Luther Barn and Maxon Mills, which are beautiful unused farm buildings. This festival was nothing like the other ones I've been to recently; it is very small (I guessed that there were maybe 1,000 people there throughout the weekend, but at each performance there were between 50-200 people) and therefore had a great sense of community. I loved recognizing people as they moved from gallery to stage to campfire, and it was wonderful having all of the artists in our midst.
I went with my friend Peter and we had a great time trying to point out our favorite "urban woodsman" specimen. Has anyone heard about this? Apparently it's a new sub-classification of hipster. I think it's hilarious! Plus, I guess I secretly have a soft spot for urban woodsmen because I once dated a guy who my friends called "the arrogant lumberjack" because of his love for flannel, his beard, and complicated sentence structure.
Maxon Mills is probably one of the most excellent arts spaces I have ever been in. Because it is an old mill it is incredibly tall, so we ended up climbing dizzying amounts of stairs, but I think because of that we all got to know each other a little bit better...I mean, what's more of an ice breaker than rubbing up against someone in a tiny staircase? Most of the rooms that came off the stairs had tons of windows, and the soft natural light was a beautiful addition to the surreal feeling the art installations created.
I loved every bit of what we saw, but these were my three favorites:
Jonathan Bogarin, "Was it Evening or Afternoon"
Ben Cuevas, "Transcending the Material"
Henry Klimowicz's amazing cardboard installation was in the highest level of the mill, and it was like being in some kind of martian fairy cardboard cocoon. I wanted to stay there for hours.
During the day the music was on the Maxon Mills porch, and there was poetry in between sets. The poetry was a wonderful idea, because there is nothing worse than waiting through setups and sound checks for ages. Of the daytime sets Hannah Cohen's beachy vocals and Sebastian Blanck's amazing guitar skills were the standouts.
In the evening the party moved up to the Luther Barn, where the stage was set up at the bottom of a hill, complete with whimsical lights and the beautiful tiled roof of the barn as a backdrop.
Spirit Family Reunion started off with a sweet folk performance, and She Keep Bees followed with some hilarious moments and Jessica Larrabee's wailing siren of a voice. My personal favorite of the night were Pearl and the Beard. Each of them is such a strong vocalist, and their raging harmonies and the addition of a kazoo and various other interesting percussion instruments to their trio of guitar, drums, and cello made every song more exciting than the last. I swear, the cellist must have to replace her bow after every performance, she has so much energy!
What really made this festival wonderful was the free pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. I mean really, what more could you want?
My favorite questions from the weekend:
What kind of fairy are you?
How did you manage to Beadazzle your face?
Flower Headband: Homemade, Dress: Thrifted, Sandals: Gap
I finally put up a followers button and got a twitter. I feel like I have officially inaugurated myself into the blogosphere!
Also...I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get rid of underlines on links. Anyone know?