Sleep Beneath the Art Stars


At last year's Wassaic Project Festival. Photo: Scott Indermaur

At last year’s Wassaic Project Festival. Photo: Scott Indermaur

The promise of a party has always lured atypical visitors to museums (see MoMA PS1’s Warm-Ups and the now defunct Brooklyn Museum dance parties). But how about camping in a rural, upstate town as a way to lead New Yorkers to art? For the past six years The Wassaic Project Summer Festival has done just that, and if you have no weekend home or summer share to escape to, then a weekend of live music, film, dance and art await you in Wassaic, New York. There, a former mill reinvented as a multi-disciplinary art space in the tradition of Donald Judd’s army base in Marfa, hosts a weekend-long, free arts festival every August. This year’s edition starts on Friday and promises 100 artists, 25 bands, and a film program of features and shorts that kicks off with a conversation with Martin Starr, aka Bill Haverchuck of “Freaks and Geeks,” in the cattle auction ring (just to give you a sense of the bucolic surroundings). The town is a two-hour train ride on Metro-North, and the Wassaic Project, spread out over 13 rolling acres, is a 10-minute walk from the station, where shuttles will be running to and from the festival all weekend. If you choose to sleep beneath the stars, the fee is $40 per person in advance to set up camp (kids under 10 free), and if you don’t have a tent stashed in the back of your closet, you can rent one through Thunderbird Teepee or Tent & Trails. It’s not exactly “glamping,” but with food vendors on site, late night dance parties, and exhibits in a historic grain elevator, it will be way more memorable and fun.

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