Throughout the O-Positive (O+) Health and Wellness Festival weekend of Oct. 5-7, artists, musicians and even festival volunteers will be exchanging talent for talent with medical caregivers, doctors, educators and professionals for health screenings during an on-site weekend clinic. Various treatment modes and providers — general practitioners, occupational therapists, physical and sports therapists, dentists, orthopedists, massage therapists, chiropractics, acupuncturists, addiction counselors and others — will be seeing participants in a temporary clinic setting throughout the festival weekend, and will also offer follow-up office visit vouchers and continued care as needed. Plus, there will be the art and music which are giving the festival a nationwide reputation.
There are many gifts to offer, assured O+ organizer Alex Marvar, who explained those who contribute to the festival programming — artistically, musically or by volunteering at least four hours of time — receive clinic access in lieu of a fee. “It’s focused on the creative community because that fits in an arts festival model, but it’s also very equal opportunity,” she said. “Our goal is to throw a small music festival that everyone in our community enjoys attending, with the added bonus of creating a grassroots solution to inaccessible healthcare for at least a handful of the people who need it, because that’s the best we can do with our current resources, and we hope that other communities around America can use a similar model to celebrate some of their own artists and provide some health care to them as well.”
This year, organizers say they have received submissions from musicians (170 bands in all) and artists from all over the country and world. But they want to continue to emphasize “a strong representation of local talent,” so they honed the roster so at least 50 percent of the bands hail from Kingston and the Hudson Valley. The other half, Marvar said, are from locales ranging from Brooklyn to Britain.
All told, there’ll be about 40 bands and about 40 visual and performance artists this year, said Marvar. Announced so far are headliners The Felice Brothers and Richard Buckner; Hopewell and The Philistines Jr. will play too. (The rest of the musical lineup and venues will soon be released.) There will be a free screening of the acclaimed documentary “The Waiting Room,” a look at hospital waiting rooms in Oakland, Calif. through the vantage points of the uninsured or publicly insured.
The familiar wheat-based paste-ups bearing bold and curious images will be plastered from Keegan Ales to Wall Street, as well as less-lingering wall projections and more art installations. (Though fest organizers have decided not to expand into Midtown or the Rondout for walkability’s sake, there will be pieces of art “tucked about Midtown,” said Marvar.) Rosendale’s TMI (Too Much Information) Project will be performing 10 bold homespun narrative stories at Back Stage Productions. Dr. Sketchy’s Free Art School will also be setting up shop, offering an altogether different art class — pop-up drawing — hosted by “brilliantly unprofessional professionals.” Keegan Ales will be offering local, organic O+ Oktoberfest brew.