A visit to Solid Sound 2015

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the band Wilco in developing art and design for them is seeing the impact on the fans. There is no better way to see the Wilco fan engage in the comprehensive experience of their world than at Solid Sound, the music and arts festival curated by Wilco at MASS MoCA, the contemporary arts complex in the Wast Adams, deep in the lush green Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. More than just a three day music festival, Solid Sound is a complete cultural experience.

festival catalog

We designed the festival catalog, poster and advertising artwork for Solid Sound. As with any Wilco project, it is fulfilling as a designer to be part of something larger that makes an impact on the life and culture of fans. Wilco played two amazing nights, and in a first for the band, a night in an all acoustic "uplugged" set which 

Released at the festival: a book of Wilco tour poster art. The book was a compendium and history of the amazing posters that have been commissioned for Wilco's 20 years. We are thrilled to have some of our posters included and it was an honor to write the foreword for the book.

Rita Houston of New York's WFUV interviewed Jeff Tweedy and Spencer Tweedy of the band Tweedy. 

Check it out:  http://www.wfuv.org/content/tweedy-solid-sound-2015-interview

WFUV also did a live broadcast of the Wilco set:  http://www.wfuv.org/content/wilco-solid-sound-2015

WFUV DJ Carmel Holt wrote:

Wilco's opening night set at Solid Sound 2015 was the band's first-ever, all-acoustic performance, but what made the “unplugged” experience so remarkable was not just hearing these beloved songs as we’d never heard them before, but the fact that the sound was still so... Wilco. The “acoustic versions” of songs can sometimes feel watered down or softened, draining certain songs of their punch, or there can be a tendency to shy away from songs that might seem odd in an acoustic arrangement and stick to quieter material instead. But Wilco delivered some of their most killer moments of the night with tunes we are definitely accustomed to hearing loud (“Bull Black Nova,” “I Got You (At The End of the Century,” “A Shot In The Arm,” “Outta Mind (Outta Sight)” and a fantastic “Walken") plus songs you might expect to be part of an acoustic Wilco set (“Misunderstood,” “Hummingbird,” “Jesus, Etc.,” “Forget The Flowers” and the Uncle Tupelo favorite, “New Madrid.” Other highlights were rare performances of “Company In My Back” and “She’s A Jar.” 

Wilco's record label DbPM celebrated the band's 20 year anniversary by using one the the gallery spaces at MASS MoCA to produce an interactive timeline of Wilco's cultural history.

As a designer who has had the pleasure of working with Wilco to create artwork for five of their album releases, it is always personally gratifying to see people interact and appreciate the artwork. Even more so in a setting like this, where the scope of all of the artwork could be seen together over the course of the years.

Visitors were encouraged to add their favorite Wilco memory to the gallery push pin walls.

One of the most exciting aspects of Mass MoCA as a site for the festival is that there is a world class art museum in the middle of the festival, often you can hear the live music from one of the stages walking through the galleries.

The logo we created for the Solid Sound festival made it's way onto the beer cups...the album art for Summerteeth was used by SmuttyNose Brewing Co on their bottles of limited edition brew for the festival.

The logo we created for the Solid Sound festival made it's way onto the beer cups...the album art for Summerteeth was used by SmuttyNose Brewing Co on their bottles of limited edition brew for the festival.

Clever use of logo design:  dresses made by Mass MoCA using wrist bands from festivals past.

Jeff Kaye and D'Addario hosted a cool #DrumsWithGlenn contest. 50 lucky winners got to build a drum and perform beside him in the world premiere The Immortal Flux, a newly commissioned orchestral piece written by Kotche for D'Addario.

Inside and outside of the facility, all over the campus, its a pretty festive atmosphere.

Despite the rainy grey skies...we all showed up and had a great time.

My wife Julie and I had a so many laughs. Captured here by Wilco photographer Zoran Orlic.