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Four years ago, a small band of artists, musicians and doctors in Kingston, NY got together to create the O+ Festival, an art, music and wellness event where participants are compensated with health and wellness services.
Healthcare for artists is a difficult proposition these days at best. The O+ Festival is designed as a grass-roots, band-aid solution to accessible healthcare for the creative community.
“Artists are not only being pushed out, but they’re not able to get the healing they deserve,” Concra told the Guardian, saying the first festival was such a hit that it took on a life of its own. “Once we do it, once people go, then they really get it. And it goes back to the age-old idea of trade.”
Long before modern health insurance debacles, doctors and dentists were members of their communities, and people would pay them with whatever they had to offer. But today, larger and larger companies providing care in collaboration with insurance companies, even the basic community clinic is becoming a thing of the past.
“We’re breaking down that access to care barrier, because some many people don’t know where to start,” Concra said, saying he was surprised at the flood gates opened by his simple idea. “Now, we’re at the point where we have 220 bands applies for 40 spots...We were not prepared for the amount of need in the artist community.”
The fourth O+ Festival in Kingston took place last month. The first O+ Festival outside of Kingston is happening this weekend (starting tonight!) in San Francisco.
Festivities begin tonight at The Center SF on Fillmore Street and will continue throughout the weekend in the Lower Haight and Mission Creek districts.
Events are happening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and include music, art, yoga, DJs, healing and more!
Need more background? Here's musician Richard Buckner performing and talking about why the O+ Festival is so important. (Richard played O+ Kingston in 2012 and received $700 in dental care that weekend.)
Admission is $15 for a single day and $25 for all three days.