Image: Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy at the 2011 Solid Sound festival. Residents are being encouraged to rent out their spare rooms for this summer’s event due to a lack of accommodations. (Transcript file)

By Jennifer Huberdeau, North Adams Transcript
Posted: 02/28/2013 12:13:30 AM EST

NORTH ADAMS — The 2013 Wilco Solid Sound Festival is just over four months away, but Mass MoCA officials are worried that local hotels, motels and campgrounds will soon be booked to capacity for the three-day festival in June.

In an effort to allow ticket holders to stay in the immediate area, the festival has named Airbnb.com, an online listing service that helps arrange short-term rentals of spare rooms, apartments and homes, as its official partner for alternate accommodations. Festival organizers are hoping local residents, especially those in close proximity to Mass MoCA, will use the service to rent their spare rooms, homes or apartments at a nominal price during the weekend of June 21-23.

“I’m really excited about this,” Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson said Tuesday. “I use this service when I go to a big gathering of experimental plane enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s a very small community and the way they deal with the crowds is every church, sports club, and community member uses it as an opportunity to sell their empty spare bedrooms. I’ve stayed in other people’s homes on several occasions.”

With the release of single-day tickets Wednesday, Thompson said he was sure that ticket-holders would begin to snap up available hotel and motel rooms even faster.

“As sites fill up, we wanted to find a way to be able to keep a lot of the ticket-holders in our neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s tricky to bring a large amount of people into this area with a limited amount of accommodations. We know that Solid Ground is selling out fast and the number one question we get when people buy tickets is about available accommodations. We had the idea to put the word out to people in North Adams to use Airbnb.com.”

Thompson added, “It’s an opportunity to keep these visitors local and for residents to put a few extra dollars in their pockets. I think we could fill 200 or 300 rooms pretty easily, if that many people signed up. You can rent a spare room for $50 to $100 a night, for two or three nights. Multiply that by a few hundred rooms and that turns into a very large economic impact.”

Airbnb.com allows individuals to register their rentals for free and receives a small percentage of the rental fee, as it handles online bookings and rental transactions.

“We’re encouraging people to register with Airbnb.com now, as it takes a few days for a listing to be accepted,” Thompson said, adding that the site has a set of verifications and standards in place for both those looking for accommodations and those renting.

The site will be recommended to ticket holders both by the museum and on the official festival site, www.solidsoundfestival.com.

“We expect to use Airbnb.com for FreshGrass in September as well, so once your lodging offerings are listed, you will be good to go for that event too,” Thompson said.

FreshGrass, a bluegrass music festival, is planned for Sept. 20 to 22.

The essentials

2013 Solid Sound festival tickets

Single-day tickets: $65 for Friday, $84 for Saturday, $65 for Sunday

Three-day passes for the festival are still being offered for a limited time at the ‘early bird’ price of $124. The regular price of a three-day pass is $149.

Three day passes for children age 7-10 are $50. Children ages 6 and under are free.

Solid Sound Festival lineup

Friday, June 21: Wilco, The Relatives, White Denim and Yo La Tengo playing live to the film ‘The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller.’

Saturday, June 22: Wilco, Neko Case, Low, Yo La Tengo, Foxygen, The Dream Syndicate, Lucius, Mark Mulcahy and Sam Amidon. John Hodgman’s Comedy Cabaret featuring Reggie Watts, Al Madrigal and Jen Kirkman will take place during the afternoon.

Sunday, June 23: The Blisters; Mikael Jorgensen and Greg O’Keeffe; Nels Cline and Julian Lage, Glenn Kotche’s On Fillmore, backing a live performance of the public radio show Radiolab; The Autumn Defense; Border Music featuring Mark Ribot and David Hidalgo; Os Mutantes; and Medeski, Martin & Wood with special guests.

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