The fourth annual Basilica Soundscape music and arts festival is almost upon us, bringing joy and anticipation to independent music connoisseurs and exiled bohos in upstate New York alike. Tickets are going fast, but Sound It Out got a press pass, and we’re gonna use it! Here’s what audiences at this two-day event can look forward to.
As in years past, Basilica Soundscape emphasizes thoughtful curation and intimate setting over the increasingly interchangeable line-ups and environments of the big-league music festivals. Contrasts and connections across genres and forms is the name of the game, and this year Soundscape draws from the bracing attack of Health, Wolf Eyes, Sannhet, and Viet Cong; the indie-folk of Weyes Blood and Circuit Des Yeux; the idiosyncratic songwriting of Perfume Genius, Jenny Hval, and Lydia Ainsworth; the avant electronics of Actress and the Haxan Cloak; hypnotic repetitions of classical Indian music (Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar) and percussion ensemble (Triangle Trio); plus readings, visual art, and their fusions. I’m looking forward to seeing guitar hero Chris Brokaw (of 90s bands Come and Codeine) back poet Holly Anderson — a kind of nod to the Patti Smith/Lenny Kaye readings that kickstarted the punk-era downtown milieu that has been quietly relocating to the riverfront city of Hudson, where Basilica Soundscape takes place.
Of course, the star of the event promises once again to be the site itself: the Basilica Hudson, a former glue factory now in the hands of ex-musician Melissa Auf Der Maur and filmmaker Tony Stone. Located literally across the tracks from the Hudson train station, this cathedral of lost industrialism is compact enough to hold about a thousand people, while offering nooks and crannies to house film screenings, pop-up stores, food trucks and (this is important) space to duck out from the volume. The festival organizers have even set up camping accommodations that include a shuttle bus back and forth to the event. Hudson is a two-hour Amtrak train ride from New York City’s Penn Station and a three-hour roadtrip from Boston. In the downtime before festival doors open on Friday and Saturday, you can shop and eat in Hudson, idle along the scenic Hudson River, or take short drives to farmstands and historic landmarks. On Sunday, wind down with brunch and a free, family-friendly regional farmers/flea market on the venue premises.
For tickets and further information, go the Basilica Soundscape website.