O+ Mission & Background

The non-profit O+ Festival (pronounced O-Positive) re-envisions community wellness by connecting musicians, artists and health & wellness providers to build a more sustainable solution to community wellbeing. We exchange the art of medicine for the medicine of art. O+ Festivals grow neighborhood by neighborhood, forming stronger communities and improving health.

O+ helps integrate social responsibility into communities by subverting the healthcare model from within through a bottom-up collaboration of people power and collective action.

By exchanging the art of medicine for the medicine of art, O+ empowers communities to take control of their collective wellbeing.

Our mission is to build long-term relationships between creatives and health and wellness providers to help strengthen local communities. Our year-round efforts culminate in one-day (Bronx, NY) and weekend-long (Chicago, Kingston, NY, Petaluma, CA and Haverhill, MA) celebrations, during which underinsured artists and musicians create and perform in exchange for a variety of wellness services donated by local doctors, dentists and complementary care providers. The entire community experiences the healing power of art and music as well as wellness education and offerings that take place throughout the experience. By involving other nonprofits and local businesses, we improve the physical and mental health of the participating artists, musicians, volunteers and members of the community while revitalizing its economic health.

We are an organization that was founded on the principle of redefining how people “pay” for what is valuable to them and the unique gifts that each of us bring to our community. O+ started as a conversation amongst friends about how they could get one of their favorite bands to play in Kingston, and when the dentist of the group offered to provide free dental care in exchange for the band to travel and play in Kingston, the idea of “The Art of Medicine for the Medicine of Art” was born.

Our “What’s It Worth to You?” model to collect donations instead of charging ticket fees catalyses a new way to think about how much we value community. At our October 2015 celebration in Kingston, NY, the LO+VE our community expressed for the O+ Festival resulted in more than $30,000 collected for ticket donations from the 2,500 guests and volunteers who attended. The weekend included 60 bands, 25 artists, Wellness EXPO+ and seminars, unlimited EXPLO+RE classes (yoga, meditation, sound healing), late night literary SALO+N, and 4 bike rides for all skill levels.

In the first five years, our flagship in Kingston provided 7,000 hours of clinic visits and dental visits to more than 750 artists and musicians. In our 6th year, our 2015 O+ Wellness Clinic volunteer providers delivered care to 222 O+ Festival artists, musicians and volunteers, who received 497 wellness treatments (nursing, primary care, integrative medicine, acupuncture, massage, Reiki, aromatherapy, mental health, podiatry, chiropractic, Ayurveda, energy healing, matrix energetics, polarity therapy and shamanic healing sessions). In addition, there were 64 dental visits (total of 145 dental treatments, including cleanings, screenings, X-rays, treatments and fillings)!

O+ Festival received an Art in Public Places award in 2014 from County Executive Mike Hein and was featured in the Christian Science Monitor as one of “7 Groups Making Communities More Compassionate”. We are a new economy-focused organization looking to creatively and sustainably solve problems within our community. Taking the healthcare and economic problems our neighbors and community face into our own hands, we co-create a better solution that has real impact in our world that can be used as a model by others to in turn do the same within their communities.

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