New York is never short of crowded summer music festivals. But there are only so many you can attend—by the time September rolls around, every lineup starts to look the same and it can be pretty easy for even the most fervent audiophile to burn out. As the season comes to an end, Basilica Soundscape returns for its sixth year with an avant-garde experience for music fans looking for a more intimate fest. Taking place from September 15–17, the weekend brings together art installations, literature readings and eclectic music performances under the rustic roof of a former 19th century factory in Hudson, NY. Here are five reasons why you should take the short train ride for this upstate gem.
1. Its lineup is one of a kind
Basilica Soundscape’s bookings have always been a refreshing alternative to the typically middling festival billings, incorporating a unique aesthetic that combines indie-folk, experimental electronic and black metal. This year boasts performances from the energetic political punks Priests, pulsing footwork producer Jlin and Serpentwithfeet’s neo-classical styles of pagan gospel. Also taking the stage is cathartic singer-songwriter Zola Jesus, whose recent full-length (Okovi) exposes personal narratives of gaining strength through painful times.
2. In addition to the super cool venue—a giant former factory—there'll be immersive art installations
The festival invites visual artists to create captivating exhibits throughout the venue grounds. Roam the Main Hall for aluminum sculptures by New York’s renowned Marianne Vitale and observe collages from one of Instagram’s most beloved photographers, Jesse Draxler. Others include multimedia works (What’s Up In Cuba) from emerging student artists at Cuba’s Top Institute of Art, and Emma Kohlmann’s illustrated wallpaper and watercolor paintings that will be part of a newsprint zine for purchase.
3. There's no overlapping sets, so you won't miss anything
Each event has its own time carved out, which creates an inclusive environment for both the audience and performers. You’re never faced with the dilemma of choosing between acts or having your show drowned out from noise a few stages over. You can actually see everything!
4. The lineup features much more than just bands
Between music sets, you can check out readings from some of this year’s most fascinating authors, including Darcie Wilder of the slick Twitter transcendent collection Literally Show Me a Healthy Person. In attendance will also be poet Morgan Parker, who explored the complexities of black female identity in her critically loved There Are More Things Beautiful Beyoncé, and performance author Eileen Myles, whose words have enriched 20 books over the past three decades.
5. You get a chance to experience the sense of community in Hudson
From on-site activities to curated local vendors, creating a communal weekend is at the core of Basilica’s annual festivities. Sift through regional goodies at the Mini Farm & Flea on Sunday (free admission all day) or treat yourself to brunch by residence chef Nicole LoBue of Alimentary Kitchen. You can also opt for the greener option and camp with fellow festival goers at Meadowgreens, which will include shuttle service to and from Hudson—no need for a car here.
For more info, including the full lineup and ticket information, visit basilicahudson.org/soundscape.