Big Plus: O-Positive festival coming Columbus Day weekend

You might have begun to notice new images on certain buildings and walls in Uptown Kingston — some colorful, some whimsical and some downright provocative. As auburn leaves signal the advent of autumn, the outbreak of art heralds the second annual O-Positive (universally rendered as O+) art, music and wellness festival. There will be over 30 bands between Friday night and Sunday evening of Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 7-9, during which musicians and artists swap their gifts and talents with doctors and health care professionals.

A suggested donation of $25 gets you a hospital wristband good for the entire weekend to enjoy every venue, ranging from spoken word performances to a “self-health” event on Saturday open to the public to a weekend full of musical performances from a generous spectrum of genres.

According to event coordinator and resident artist Joe Concra, this year the festival is highlighting a documentary straight out of its own backyard — Marwencol — about a Kingston man’s fantasy world he created after a severe coma-inducing beating outside of a Kingston bar.  Another highlight is that Keegan Ales will be roll out its own special limited-edition brew which will be available at every venue called O+ Oktoberfest, a custom blend of hops and honey, crafted exclusively for the fest. One dollar of every pint sold will be donated to the festival. An expansive 30-by-40-foot fiber art installation by Lisa Lozano will be hung in the cemetery of the Old Dutch Church between two trees.


According to Concra, event organizers are additionally pumped about the addition of doctors and expansion of medical services to be offered at the Kirkland Hotel, where musicians and artists will be seen on a triage basis. “We have more doctors and health providers, and for me, that’s different,” said Concra. “Last year we had 40, but this year is more like 60-70 [professionals].  Everything from massage to regular doctoring.  The Institute for Family Health is signing people up — artists and musicians — who will be able to pay on a sliding scale. The Institute for Family Health will also be keeping a database. This year we are also just giving out more information about how to take care of yourself too.”

Concra is referring to a health exhibit and several-hour workshop on Saturday filled with useful emotional and physical health information which will also include yoga instructors and meditation practitioners.

Concra is enthused about the spoken word performance of gritty, real-life stories called RISK, which will be podcast, and added that one or more of the O-Positive doctors will be boldly sharing a story as well. Another visual performance he says is worth catching is Linda Montano, who will do an “art-life counseling session” at the Xclusive Boutique at the corner of Wall and North Front. (Montano last year conducted the seven-hour spoken-word “Glandathon.”)