2009 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main > site.

August 28, 29, 30 2009

Press Releases

Wolff at Dan's Cabin

By Sherrie McCabe

Bill Wolff is a sculpture and installation based artist who has been primarily active in Japan and Korea in recent years. Since 2000 he has had solo and group exhibitions in New York, Louisiana, Houston, Tokyo and Toronto and has been a visiting artist and taught classes and workshops in Ecuador, Kentucky, New York and Japan. In 2005, Wolff was awarded a Japanese Governmental Award to study traditional woodworking and sculpture in Tokyo where he lived and worked until early this year. He holds a Masters degree in Sculpture from the Tokyo University of the Arts and an MFA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

In his AIRP application, Bill wrote: "One of my favorite places is atop Slide Mountain in the Catskill Mountains of southern New York, where a plaque inscribed with the words of John Burroughs reads, "Here the works of man dwindle." And indeed it does with the grandeur of nature stretching out and engulfing the hamlets and towns outlying the foothills."

"I have spent the last three years in Japan, walking daily to my studio in a quiet, old neighborhood in Toyko, which is filled with narrow streets, old homes, shops and temples. Here, in the heavily weathered and intricate woodwork, the copper roofs and the manicured trees and plants that fill the narrow spaces between temple and house and footpath, a very similar sense of reverence for nature can be felt. Through the open temple gates one is reminded of the mountain meadows and glens of America."

"As an artist and an object maker, I know that this is a built environment, a studied and cultivated connection, nonetheless dignified for being of the hand of man. It is these two distinct views of nature that I hope to reconcile during my residence. Through a series of drawings from nature that explore the physical facts of small unheralded events followed by the construction of a non-permanent and non-invasive sculptural work built of natural materials, I hope to recall issues of connection and the thin boundaries between the natural world and the world we create." Wolff’s work and homepage can be viewed at www.billwolff.net. He is originally from Camden, NY.

Bill will be working on his sculpture on site during the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival weekend of August 28-30 at the ski hill.

The Friends of the Porkies, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, sponsors the Artist-In-Residence Program in cooperation with Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Friends' membership fees and donations pay for this program.

The Kids are Alright at Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

Maki (foreground) directing the colorful ‘Children of the Porcupine
Mountains Music Festival’ during last year’s special performance.

The bustling children’s activity tent will be expanded
to accommodate larger numbers at this year’s event.

By Cheryl Olson

Nearly 4 years have passed since Katie Maki attended the first Porcupine Mountains Music Festival and placed her comment "needs children’s activities" into the festival’s suggestion box. Organizers seeing an opportunity invited Maki to develop and take lead on a children’s activities project and she has been enthusiastically on board ever since, much to the delight and benefit of family attendees.

An active mother of 3 children, Maki has always been a champion for children’s issues, including spearheading a successful fund raising effort and obtaining community support for a new playground at the Ontonagon Township Park, founding a local playgroup, and becoming an active member of the Parents Education Group (P.E.G.). She has also served as a girl scout leader, and a member of People for Peace. Maki 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. In addition, Maki is a certified infant massage instructor

Maki recently moved to Houghton with her family for both personal and professional reasons, yet she has confirmed her commitment to the music festival and its family attendees. "I plan to continue to run the children's tent at the festival into the future because it truly is a passion of mine." said Maki. "I feel it is an opportunity to affect the lives of kids in a positive way. It is not just about crafts and prizes, it is about community and that is so important to me as a mother."

Special children’s pricing has been introduced this year, largely due to Maki’s suggestion to organizers that the festival should more affordable to families. Tickets for children ages 7-12 are a flat $10...whether it be a single day pass, or a 3 day pass. As in past years, children ages 6 and under are free and there are discounts available to teens.

The children’s activities tent at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will be open from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30. 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 appearances throughout the weekend to entertain the children.

Maki has many exciting activities planned for the children’s area at this year’s event, including:

• Wooden snake and fish painting
• Tissue paper fishbowls
• Butterflies with magnets
• Guitar/tambourine decoration
• T-shirt painting
• Colored sand test tube necklaces
• Hat decorating
• Face painting and tattoos
• Gak and fishing game

Reverend Eddie Danger, a one man band who performs on over 25 instruments, is returning to the festival and will lead a special children’s workshop, with date and time to be announced in the festival’s program guide. Danger was a big hit with the children (and the parents) last year and smiles and laughter filled the ski chalet’s workshop area during his unique performance. His special project, Turtle and the Drum, is family oriented, educational, fun music for kids of all ages from 1 to 92!

Each year the children conclude their activities onstage, putting on a heartwarming performance, which is Maki's favorite activity. This year the children will be performing the songs ‘A Little Bit Of Riddim’ by Michael Franti and Spearhead and ‘Gotta Be Me’ by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. "These songs are all about how music is a something that everyone in the world has in common," said Maki. "I also like to stress in these performances that each individual child should celebrate his or her differences from others and be proud of themselves," she added."This performance is our chance to showcase the power of the future through the energy of children."

The children’s performance will take place Sunday, August 30 at 2:00 p.m. on the festival’s Peace Hill Stage.

The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will take place August 28-30 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.

Busking Stage transformation at Porcupine Mountains Music Festival
–Festival puts out call to musicians

The "Busking Barn" awaits preparations and will likely become
a popular destination on the festival grounds.

By Cheryl Olson

The 5th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, has announced that the festival’s third staging area ‘the busking stage’ will be undergoing yet another transformation for this year’s event. The ‘busking stage’ is an all acoustic stage and will offer amateurs and professionals the opportunity to play in an intimate setting for tips.

This year’s Busking area will be held in a wooden structure on thefestival grounds...called the ‘Busking Barn.’ The Busking Barn will make the performances more of a event destination, and is a far cry from the very first busking stage setup...which was nothing more than a chair in the parking lot. Festival goers will be directed to the ‘Busking Barn’ by signs leading them down ‘Busker’s Trail.’

“I am very excited about this year’s busking site. The wooden structure will have great acoustics for unplugged performance.” said Busking State Coordinator, Dale Venema. “In addition to the scheduled busking performances, I will schedule ‘open jam’ slots, to encourage people to get together for spontaneous jam sessions in the barn...who knows who might show up to jam!” Venema added.

Performers scheduled for the Busking Barn, to date, include Scott Fraser, Linda Garret, Dave Boutette, Brian Yaklovich, Carrie Melton, Boone Fiala, Dale & Nancy Miller, Cherrie Griffith, Greenstone and the Lost Creek String Band.

Additional Busking Barn slots are still available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and scheduled busking performers will receive free admission on the day of their performance. Contact Dale Venema at (906) 884-6853 or davenema@hotmail.com if interested in signing up for a busking slot.

Visit www.porkiesfestival.org for more information on the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.

Two Cadillacs, a Circus, and some Clumsy Lovers

Porcupine Mountains Music Festival lineup complete

Submitted by Cheryl Olson

Organizers of the 5th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, are busy getting ready for this year’s big event to be held August 28 - 30, 2009.

Don Kermeen, booking coordinator for the festival, has announced that booking for this year’s event is complete and the festival’s 5th year lineup promises to be as exciting as ever. “Our music selection committee had a big job this year listening to the hundreds of band submissions received.” It was obvious to all involved that interest in the festival has grown considerably and it was overwhelming (in a good way) to see such a wide variety of quality material coming in...from all across the U.S. and abroad. “The committee worked tirelessly to balance new fresh sounds, with return acts,” said Kermeen.

This year’s Friday night headliner is Cadillac Sky from Texas. Cadillac Sky’s music has been coined everything from “experimental acoustic music” to “psychobilly bluegrass,” looking as much to Radiohead and the Beatles for inspiration as it does to Bill Monroe. Songs penned by Cadillac Sky’s Bryan Simpson have been recorded by Blake Shelton and Billy Currington. Band member David Mayfield, who will also be doing a solo performance, has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as The Avett Brothers and  The Black Keys. Mayfield’s stage persona is perhaps quantified best as a poetic-demolition derby...pushing the band past the boiling point. Cadillac Sky strives to create moments that will be remembered and music that will last.

Headlining Saturday night are Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, whose sound is compared to “hillbilly Floyd.” This irresistible crowd pleasing band has felt a strong connection to the area. This year will mark its third consecutive appearance at the festival. Gandalf and the Circus even slipped a reference to the Porkies in their song “Summer Day” included on their CD ‘The Great Unravel’.

Rounding up the festival will be Sunday night headliners, The Clumsy Lovers, a happy-go-lucky Vancouver quintet expertly walking the tightrope between tradition-minded roots music (“Raging bluegrass Celtic rock,” a reviewer once said) and sparkling modern pop. The band has long felt at home on any stage, whether in front of 50 raucous patrons at a roadhouse or thousands of music-lovers at a festival or concert hall.

This year’s lineup also includes special guests Caravan of Thieves, Pieta Brown with Bo Ramsey and Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics.

Newcomers to the Porcupine Mountains stage include the festival’s second ‘Cadillac’ in the lineup...Cadillac vs. Cornbread, Green Tea, Kitty Donohoe, Carolyn Striho, Dave Boutette, Brandon Scott Sellner, Jeff Ray, West of East, Doris & The Day Dreams and Laurel Premo.

Returning are favorites Hamell on Trial, Charlie Parr, Seth Bernard & Daisy May, Drew Nelson, Reverend Eddie Danger, Conga Se Menne, Squeaky Clean Cretins, Rory and Dale C. Miller, Yvonne Blake, and the Children of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.

The festival made State history in 2004 by becoming the first music festival to be held in a State Park. The Friends of the Porkies organization that presents the festival, is a nonprofit 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.

Performances will take place on two outdoor stages and 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 5th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 884-2653 or 1-800-344-5355.