Wall Street, Kingston, NY, during O+ Festivalilluminated hula hoopWilly MasonNicole Atkins & Irina YalkowskyKingston festival businessticket table

the guest listmilling aboutvisageRick Altman Triobehind BSP (Back Stage Productions)a wall of paste-up art
homeless Doraeye EXISTprenatal EXAMis that you, Belle?don't jump!pharmaceutical colonialism
girl with a musketcranial faucetcoilsx-rayed paintbrushesCrown Street artumbrellas

O+ Festival, Kingston, NY, a set on Flickr.

I caught a bit of the scene over the weekend at Kingston, NY’s second annual O+ Festival, a “festival of art, music and wellness… wherein artists barter their contributions directly for medical, dental, and other wellness services from art-loving health care providers.”

Admittedly, I missed almost all of the performances (except for a great opening-night show by Nicole Atkins and Willy Mason) even though it was located only 30 minutes away from where I live. However, I made some contacts and have been intrigued enough by the festival and its mission to want to write about it further. In a nutshell, the event seems familiar enough as an initiative in arts-based urban revitalization, with all its familiar promises and shortcomings.  But while it’s unclear whether the event is a significant step toward revitalizing an old rustbelt city, it seems very interesting as an alternative to the increasingly predictable and commoditized urban music festival.

More on these questions later; until then, here are the photos I took. You can find many, many more pictures and media at the O+ Festival Facebook page.  And do take a look at its website for more of their story.