Festival Fever: WordXWord Festival in Pittsfield, 8/11-18/12

Simply put, the fourth annual WordXWord Festival celebrates of the power of words.

Dozens of word-workers – authors, poets, storytellers, spoken-word artists and songwriters – are scheduled to take over downtown Pittsfield for a week-long celebration in a wide variety of venues from theaters and nightclubs to some more unexpected locations, such as a barbershop, a tapas bar and a bra shop.

Admission to all WordXWord events is free except for the festival’s roof-top launch party, which takes place atop the Greystone Building at 6pm on Saturday (August 11). NOTE: Tix to the roof-top party are sold out.

Following Saturday’s kick-off bash, the fest officially gets underway at 4pm on Sunday with a young adult Head-to-Head Haiku Challenge, and it all wraps up on Saturday, August 18 with the Poetry Olympics featuring four competing teams of spoken-word artists. In between, more than 40 different events will be held at a dozen different downtown venues, all under the WordXWord festival banner.

The core of the festival will be the spoken word masters including both local participants and nine featured visiting artists – Derrick C. Brown, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Anis Mojgani, Robbie Q. Telfer, Thuli Zuma, Taylor Mali, Jon Sands, Jeanann Verlee and Megan Falley – all of whom are nationally recognized for their published work, as well as their spoken word performances.

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But WordXWord also features words sung, and a slate of innovative songwriters will be presented at the Lantern throughout the week-long fest, including the quirky Mieka Pauley on Monday, alt-popster John Brodeur on Tuesday, the duo Tall Heights on Wednesday, a double bill of Justin Hillman and Justin Allen on Thursday and multi-instrumentalist Leo Crandall on Friday.

And WordXWord is also incorporating film into the fest for the first time this year, with two evenings of screenings at the Berkshire Museum. The area premiere of the award-winning film “Louder Than A Bomb,” an entertaining documentary about the largest high school poetry slam in Chicago, will be shown on Monday, while the Wednesday screening will feature an array of short films, including “You Belong Everywhere,” a documentary that chronicles poet Derrick C. Brown’s experience on tour with indie rockers the Cold War Kids.

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2012:

Hudson Music Festival @ various locations, Hudson, 8/10-12/12
Basilica Music Festival @ Basilica Hudson, Hudson, 8/10-11/12
moe.down @ Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Turin, 8/10-12/12
Blues, Brews & BBQ @ American Glory, Hudson, 8/11/12
Empire State Plaza Food Festival @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/15/12, FREE
SAWFest Music Festival @ Salem Art Works, Salem, 8/18/12
WGNA Summer Picnic @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, 8/25/12
Restoration Festival @ St. Joseph’s Church, Albany, 9/7-9/12
Port of Albany’s Riverfront Jazz Festival @ Riverfront Park, Albany, 9/8/12, FREE
Local Legends Live @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/8/12, FREE
FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/21-23/12
PearlPalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, 9/22/12, FREE
Hannaford Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/22/12, FREE
Kickin’ It Country @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, 9/29/12

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