Solid Weekend at Solid Sound
By Julia Sullivan
With Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival under our belts, Annalena and I felt like old pros by the time we rolled into MASS MoCA for a few hours of tabling last Friday. While we weren’t lucky enough to snag a spot inside the actual Solid Sound Festival, we set up in some prime territory right beside the entrance. Needless to say, there was a lot of traffic. Hot, thirsty, sunburnt, and curious traffic. Lucky for these festivalgoers, we came fully prepared with hundreds of fans, water bottles, hats, and information. It was a wonderful weekend for stuff.
Friday evening, before the afternoon heat subsided and the festival entrance guards stood down, we found ourselves before a line of hundreds of anxious, sweltering people. Our freebies were in high demand, and we could hardly keep up. While I ripped through boxes of fans and answered the common “What’s this all about?” question, Annalena donned the Asian longhorned beetle costume, which made for some great entertainment for our captive audience. By the time we were ready to pack up for the day, we’d already made a considerable dent in our supplies and gotten the word out about invasive insects.
The following day was long but productive. Without hundreds of festivalgoers held helplessly before us, we broke out the prize wheel to entice people. We continued to give out fans but made people do a little work to earn water bottles, frisbees, beach balls, DVDs, hats, and tree shirts. We let people read up on the Asian longhorned beetle and/or the emerald ash borer, tested their knowledge with a couple quiz questions, and eventually let them spin to win. And as always, our stickers and tattoos were a hit. It was awesome to see people milling about with creepy invasive insects all over their arms.
We gave away the last of our supplies on Sunday morning. Solid Sound cleaned us out of a truck’s worth of stuff! What seemed a less than ideal location at first ended up working to our advantage, allowing us to interact with almost 700 people over the course of the weekend.
While this festival was different in many ways from Clearwater, the array of heartening responses from the people we interacted with felt just as good. Whether we heard “I remember you guys! I still have my frisbee from last year,” “Oh wow, good to know. I’ll get firewood where I camp,” or “Yeah, I know all about this. I don’t move firewood,” our work this weekend served to both raise awareness and enforce what some people already knew. We’re thankful for the awesome weather we’ve had at both of our events so far and looking forward to what the rest of the summer brings!