2008 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main site.

August 22, 23, 24 2008

Press Releases

Children's Activities at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

July 2008

Maki’s children’s activities tent on the festival grounds
bustles with a unique variety of activities all weekend.
Photo by Sandy Richardson

The sign says it all! Maki mixes up a playful concoction for a
young festival goer, while an unidentified volunteer looks on.
Photo by Sandy Richardson

By Cheryl Olson

In 2005 when Ontonagon resident Katie Maki attended the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, she wrote a suggestion on a piece of paper, “needs children’s activities” and placed it into the festival’s suggestion box. At that time the busy mother of 3 children, ages 10, 8, and 4, was not only unaware of the significant impact her suggestion would have on the festival... but also that she would be adding another task to her already lengthy to-do list.

Sometime after the festival was over, Maki was a contacted by coordinators saying “We saw your suggestion in the box, it is a great idea... we agree that a children’s activity area would be wonderful and we would love for you to be lead coordinator on the project.” She agreed without hesitation and for the past two years, the children’s activities area project at the music festival has been near and dear to her heart.

Maki has always been a visible leader in area children’s causes, including spearheading successful fund raising efforts and community support for a new playground at the Ontonagon Township Park... enjoyed and frequented by hundreds of children each year. In addition, Maki founded a local playgroup, is a member of Parents Education Group (P.E.G.) at school, a girl scout leader, and a member of People for Peace. She is an RN, BSN and works at Portage Health System in Houghton and Grandview in Ironwood teaching childbirth classes, offers breast feeding support and is a doula.

It was clear to the music festival organizers that she was a champion for the children, working tenaciously to achieve goals for their betterment. With Maki on board, the children’s activity area was on a fast track to becoming a reality.

With two years as coordinator of the children’s activity area behind her, Maki has seen growth each year...last year she requested more volunteer help to handle the stream of smiling children. While there are volunteers to help with the activities, from the beginning Maki was adamant that the activities area was not intended to serve as day care. Her sign that read “unattended children will be given espresso, and a free puppy” summed it up with perfect unoffending wit, creating many a smile from passers by. Approximately 50 children participated last year.

Some of the activities planned for the children this August include: Making Pirate Treasure Boxes, Paint Your Own T-Shirt and Visor, Fishing Game, Face Painting, Lake Superior photo frame making, parachute games... and many other fun surprises. There will also be hula hoops and bubbles galore on hand. There is no charge for attendees to participate in the children’s’ activities, though donations are welcome. Once again, the ever popular Big Bird will be making an appearance to entertain the children during the weekend.

Each year the children’s activities are concluded by an onstage performance by the children, who brandish and utilize some of the handmade items they created over the weekend in the activities tent. This year the children will be performing two songs by performer Michael Franti, “East to the West” and “Hello Bonjour.” The songs relate to how we are all human, sharing the same planet, and we must learn to settle our differences for the good of the future. “While I am the one who selects the songs for the performance, when doing so I think about what my children are talking about...the questions they are asking.” Maki said. Questions such as “Why don’t more people recycle?” and “What will Happen to our Planet?”

Maki is also exploring the possibilities of doing a children’s’ collaboration with festival performer, Rev. Eddie Danger, a one man band who performs on over 25 instruments. His special project, Turtle and the Drum, is family oriented, educational, fun music for kids of all ages, 1-92! If a collaboration is arranged, the time and details will be printed in the workshop schedule in the festival program guide.

One area being examined by Maki for 2009 is the pricing structure for children’s and teens tickets. This year, as in years past, children age 6 and under receive free admission, and children under 18 receive a 20% discount. After receiving feedback from families with children, and teenagers, Maki is working with the festival coordinators to revisit the children’s ticket pricing for 2009 to insure that families with children will be able to enjoy the music festival together.

Maki is mindful that the children are our future, “They inherit the messes we make.” she said before dispensing a final pearl of motherly wisdom. “We need to let the children find their voices...and then we need to listen.”

The children’s activities tent at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will be open from 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24. The children’s special performance will take place Sunday, August 24 at 3:30 p.m. on the Peace Hill Stage.

The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will take place August 22-24 at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Winter Recreation Area. For more information visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 884-2653, or toll free 1-800-344-5355.

Friends of the Porkies Receives Funding from 2008-2009 Performing Arts Fund

July 2008

Submitted by Cheryl Olson

The Friends of The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park organization has been selected to receive funding from the 2008-2009 Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from General Mills Foundation, Land O’ Lakes Foundation, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

The Performing Arts Fund supports the touring of professional performing artists specializing in the fine arts of dance, theater, music, and family entertainment throughout Arts Midwest’s nine-state region. These engagements include public performances and in-depth educational activities, reaching audiences that lack access to the performing arts.

Arts Midwest Executive Director David J. Fraher says, “Arts Midwest is delighted to support the Friends of The Porkies in their upcoming presentation of performers Enter the Haggis and Mountain Heart at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival. We believe the arts enrich lives, and that audiences in Ontonagon County will enjoy and benefit from these performances.”

The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will be held August 22nd - 24th at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park winter recreation area (ski hill), located in Michigan’s scenic Western Upper Peninsula near Ontonagon and Silver City. The festival will feature 24 different acts, several playing more than one set, and some involved in collaborations and workshops. Featured performers Enter the Haggis combine rock, fusion, bluegrass, traditional Celtic, agitpop, folk and Latin flavors. Their live show is a musical feast–viscerally dynamic, emotionally uplifting and intellectually stimulating; Mountain Heart are revolutionizing the way acoustic bluegrass music can be presented and played. Members of the band have won numerous Grammy, ACM, CMA, and IBMA Awards. Band members have appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry in excess of 100 times.

Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects people throughout the Midwest and the world to meaningful arts opportunities, sharing creativity, knowledge, and understanding across boundaries. A non-profit regional arts organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest serves audiences, arts organizations, and artists throughout the nine states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and beyond. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years.

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.

For more information on:

    • Friends of the Porkies, visit www.porkies.org

    • Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call (906) 884-2653 or toll free 800-344-5355.

    • Arts Midwest, call (612) 341-0755 or visit www.artsmidwest.org.

Busking Performers Welcome at Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

July 2008

A pair of music lovers relax and enjoy the sounds of Ontonagon’s Ryan Peterson. Ryan has performed on the busking stage for the past two years and listeners have enjoyed hearing the maturity and confidence in his playing from year-to-year. The Busking stage is a great place to nurture young talent and watch it grow. Photo by Sandy Richardson.

Submitted by Cheryl Olson

This August, the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, will again be offering a third busking stage on the festival grounds, according to Dale Venema, Stage Coordinator.

The busking stage is an all-acoustic (no electricity) location available to both amateurs and professionals. Buskers will not be paid by the Festival for performing, however, tip jars are permitted and scheduled buskers will receive free admission into the festival on the day of their performance.

“I am very excited to be handling the busking stage this year” said Venema. “Each year we are able to take feedback and make improvements for the benefit of the performers and the audience.” One improvement this year will be the addition of a tent, which will improve acoustics and provide comfort.

“All of you musicians out there, pack your worries and troubles away...and pull out those guitars, fiddles and instruments, dust off your vocal cords and give me a call to sign up,” Venema added. “Sharing your talent on the busking stage is a great opportunity to join with the musical community of the festival and to enhance the experience for everyone.”

Busking stage slots are limited and will be assigned on a first come-first served basis. The deadline for signing up is August 15th and performers must have their slots reserved by the deadline in order to receive the free admission.

Anyone interested in signing up for a busking stage slot is asked to email Dale Venema at davenema@hotmail.com or call (906) 390-6853.

The 4th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will take place August 22 - 24th. For more information, including tickets visit www.porkiesfestival.org.

The little festival that could–
U.P.’s Porcupine Mountains Music Festival readies for 4th year as growing cultural happening

May 27, 2008

Four years ago, people may have been skeptical about the prospects of bringing a music festival to Upper Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains State Park. Due to vision and persistence,  hard work and commitment, the support of the Friends of the Porkies organization and the local community, they built it– the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, and people did come...performers and audience members from all over the Country, and abroad.

The Friends of the Porkies is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  The Park is a popular tourist attraction, with a breathtaking 60,000 acres of natural beauty located in Ontonagon County. Ontonagon is largest by acreage and is also one of the least densely populated counties in Michigan...laid back and picturesque, with wondrous natural surroundings. There are more than 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, named one of the cleanest beaches in America. The thousands of acres of state and federal land, a community lighthouse, an area rich in mining history and Native American history are all a part of the legacy of the area. Ontonagon County also boasts Michigan's and the Midwest's largest span of virgin hardwood maple/hemlock forest located within the boundaries of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Organizers are hard at work preparing  for the festival’s fourth year, to be held August 22 - 24 at the Park’s ski chalet area. Booking is now complete and once again the festival will provide a wide variety of musical styles...folk, bluegrass, rock and roll, blues and country.

Headliners for this year are: Enter the Haggis, a high energy band that blends many styles...rock, fusion, bluegrass, traditional Celtic, folk, and Latin flavors to make a sound that is all their own. Their live show is a musical feast- viscerally dynamic, emotionally uplifting and intellectually stimulating; Mountain Heart, a band that has gained legions of fans as a result of their superlative musicianship, and  live performances. One of the most highly awarded ensemble, Mountain Heart and  members of the band have won numerous Grammys, ACM, CMA, and IBMA Awards and they have appeared on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry over 100 times; and returning crowd-pleasing headliner, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, whose sound is compared to “hillbilly Floyd.”

The 2008 lineup also includes special guests John Gorka, Tony Furtado and The Dixie Bee-Liners. Newcomers to the Porcupine Mountain stage this year include: The Australian duo Women in Docs, Lehto and Wright, Paul Mayasich and the Benderheads, grammy award winning songwriter/producer Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets, Squeaky Clean Cretins, Laura Bates and Brandon Foote, Reverand Eddie Danger, Cynthia Rintala & Dave Frank, Zydecology, Summit Stunt Pilots, and Black River John. Performers scheduled to return are Seth Bernard and Daisy May, Steppin In It,  Rachael Davis, Charlie Parr, Rory Miller Band, Buster’s Dream, Greenstone and Yvonne Blake.

Don Kermeen, Booking Coordinator for the festival said, “The festival is fortunate to have such a diverse and dynamic group of independent artists at this year’s festival. The audience is  in for a treat of musical varieties.”

The festival also provides a children’s area, workshops and a third “busking” stage where amateurs and professionals can play and jam for tips. For more  information regarding the 2008 Porcupine Mountain Music Festival visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 800-344-5355.

Friends of the Porkies Receive Grant Approval for Music Festival

Gandalf and Hamell to return in ’08

December 5, 2007

Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, wowed the audience at the 2007 Porcupine Mountains Music Festival. The band felt a strong connection to the people and the beauty of the area and will be returning for 3 days of performance in 2008.

Submitted by Cheryl Olson

Linda Kermeen, Vice President of the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, has received confirmation that a grant application made on behalf of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, has been approved by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) in the amount of $10,900. Dr. William Anderson, director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL), announced on November 29 that the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) awarded $7,662,845 to a variety of arts and cultural projects around the state for fiscal year 2008. The 252 grant awards - for projects in 49 Michigan counties, including Ontonagon.

“Michigan is at a crossroads and the need for economic diversification has never been stronger,” said Dr. Anderson. “Michigan's arts and cultural sector has, for many years, demonstrated its ability to create and sustain jobs. Grant dollars like these are essential to helping local and regional arts organizations leverage further support that boosts the community economy.”

“The value of and need for cultural investment has never been greater. State support for grantees and the public they serve has dropped precipitously from $27 million in 2001 to $7.66 million today,” said MCACA chair Craig Ruff. “That jeopardizes the quality of life of all state residents. Culture counts. It spurs attraction and retention of talent and private investment. It creates jobs. It excites student achievement. It gives communities and individuals a stronger sense of self worth.”

“The Friends of the Porkies are very excited about being awarded the MCACA grant,” said Kermeen. “Due to our geographic location and the challenge it presents when booking and routing performers, the grant money will allow the music selection committee to pursue musical acts we would not otherwise be able to consider.”

The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will take place August 22 - 24, 2008 and crowd pleasing performers Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams have already entered into a contract to perform all three days of the 2008 event. The Circus emerged from the misty hills of Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1988 and exploded upon the Hudson Valley music scene with their stunning self-produced debut release, A Good Thief Tips His Hat. The quirky quartet then began touring and rapidly developed a loyal following. Featured recently in Relix Magazine, the New York Times and on the CBS hit show, Joan of Arcadia. The music of Slambovia has been described as “Hillbilly-Floyd, folk-pop”, “alt-country roots-rock”, and “surreal Americana”. While performing their Yodel Song at this year’s Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, under very dry and dusty conditions....the band experienced a big surprise when they discovered that the dust kicking up was not a smoke machine, it was from the crowd...polka’ing.

Hamell on Trial, who performed at the 2006 festival, has been booked to return for 2008. Hamell was scheduled to return this year. Due to career opportunities too good to pass up, it was mutually decided that Hamell would return to the Porkies stage in 2008. Hamell was invited to perform at the 2007 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, where his one-man theatrical show, The Terrorism of Everyday Life earned five-star reviews in the Metro, Edinburgh Review, and Three Weeks, and was awarded the Festival’s prestigious Herald Angel Award, the highest honor the Festival gives to the most outstanding performance each year. The Terrorism of Everyday Life, is a one-man show which combines story telling, comedy and songs into a brilliantly outrageous event. Hamell explores family, politics, religion and death through his journey as a working musician, man of the street, and father of a young son.

The organizers of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival are getting ready for another year of hard work, and there will be more announcements in the future. There will be a one day only 50% Weekend Pass Sale, taking place at the Porcupine Mountains Ski Chalet, on Saturday, December 8 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tickets can also be ordered through the website www.porkiesfestival.org or by calling 906-884-2653 or toll free 1-800-344-5355. To keep up-to-date on the latest festival happenings, visit the website and tune into Porkies Fest Radio, Fridays at 9:00 p.m. on WOAS 88.5 FM.