Organizers of Porcupine Mountains Music Festival Get Ready
By Cheryl Olson
Organizers of the 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies have been busy making the final arrangements for this year’s festival, to be held August 24 26 at the Porcupine Mountains ski hill area.
Doug Lohman and the crew of Armadillo Sound are returning to provide sound to the festival’s two outdoor stages that will host 26 separate national and regional performers over the 3 day event.
Dale Venema, the visionary and manager of the festival’s busking barn, reports that an additional door has been installed on the barn…allowing him to open it up for better air flow. He has also extended performance set times and 23 separate acts will play in the barn…including local musicians Rick Reid and Deke Rivers, Ryan Peterson, the Lund Family and other local and regional performers. In keeping with the fun and relaxed atmosphere of busking barn…Sylvee Beaudet, a hoola hoop belly dancer will open the barn stage each day. The barn will also host an open jam session on Friday and Saturday where all are welcome to join in.
There will be a greater emphasis on performer workshops this year with a record 6 workshops scheduled. The workshops offer audience members a unique opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions of performers. Workshop attendees will also experience special performances in this quiet space.
As of press time the following workshops are scheduled to take place inside the Ski Chalet.:
• Saturday August 25: Australian singer/songwriter “Harper” will perform and explain the didgeridoo. His unique sound is reflected in his use of rhythms and a tribal spirit he experienced growing up in Perth. Guitarist Tom Chapman, will discuss the history, playing styles and types of dobros/resonator guitars; and there will also be a special Q & A session with songwriter Fred Eaglesmith who will discuss his creative process. Eaglesmith’s engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, which is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
• Sunday August 26: Tom Strong will perform and discuss the 4 mallet vibraphone. Tom has been playing the Vibraphone a/k/a “the vibes” since the age of 11. While many prefer to use the 2 mallet grip, Tom uses the more challenging 4-mallet technique. Enigmatic band leader Joziah Longo of Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams will be hosting an open forum workshop encouraging input from attendees. In addition, a special workshop will be held at the Folk School, African Drumming with Randall of the Ragbirds. Randall’s workshop was very well attended last year.
Katie Maki, children’s activities coordinator, is at the helm once again and will have many colorful activities and fun set up in the festival’s children’s tent. She will lead the children to the Peace Hill Stage for a special Sunday performance.
In other recent developments, Tony and Dena Meneguzzo will return to run the kitchen operations and food sales at the festival this year. The Meneguzzos were the food vendors from the start of the festival in 2005 through 2009.
For more information on the 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 884-2653.
Friends of the Porkies receive support from Arts Midwest Touring Fund
The 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, has been selected to receive funding from Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Arts Midwest Touring Fund is a program of Arts Midwest that engages people in meaningful experiences with the fine arts of dance, music, theater, and other performing arts forms. Inter-state touring and the engagement of professional artists is central to the work of Arts Midwest.
Arts Midwest Executive Director David J. Fraher says, “Arts Midwest is proud to support the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in its upcoming engagement of Fred Eaglesmith’s Traveling Steam Show. In these economically trying times, arts events like this not only provide uplifting experiences for audiences, they also create meaningful jobs for those employed in the arts industry thus amplifying the effectiveness of our funding.”
Fred Eaglesmith’s Traveling Steam Show will roll onto the festival’s Peace Hill stage at 2 p.m. on Friday, August 24 and as the headlining act at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 25. In addition, Eaglesmith will present an informative workshop about songwriting. A prolific songwriter, Eaglesmith’s songs are included in the curriculum at two colleges. His songs have been covered by many country superstars. Eaglesmith has received a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album and his music has been used in films by Martin Scorsese, James Caan and Toby Keith.
Photo by Kori Heppner
Canadian songwriter Fred Eaglesmith and his Traveling Steam show
will deliver two performances and a workshop, supported by Arts Midwest Touring Fund
About Arts Midwest: Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest is one of six nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States. Its mission is to promote creativity, nurture cultural leadership, and engage people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Since its establishment more than 25 years ago, Arts Midwest has been serving audiences, arts organizations, and artists throughout the nine states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and beyond.
About the National Endowment for the Arts: 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:
- About the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival: Please visit www.porkiesfestival.org
- About the Friends of the Porkies: Please visit www.porkies.org
- About Arts Midwest: Please visit www.artsmidwest.org
Plans underway for the 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival
Holmes Brothers, Fred Eaglesmith & ‘Grand Slambovians’ headliners
Submitted by Cheryl Olson
Friday, August 24 Headliners, the legendary Holmes Brothers
Fred Eaglesmith will roll his ‘Traveling Steam Show’ onto the Peace Hill Stage as headliner, Saturday August 25
The Grand Slambovians a/k/a Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams
return as headliners Sunday, August 26, back by popular demand
The 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, will take place August 24 - 26 at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Winter Recreation Area (Ski Hill/Chalet).
Organizers are busy making preparations for this year’s event. The 3 day festival offers audience members a unique musical experience-- showcasing national touring acts, alongside regional and local performers, in an up-close and intimate wilderness setting.
Performers are presented on two outdoor stages, the ‘Peace Hill Stage’ which is located on the hill facing side of the Ski Chalet, and the ‘Singing Hills Stage’ in the area where the double chair lift once ran. Many audience members enjoy the stroll along the path that runs between the two stages… and for those with mobility challenges, volunteers are available to assist with transport. The festival’s 3rd stage the ‘Busking Barn’ is a welcome and cozy structure hosting acoustic performances, some scheduled and some spontaneous- including the daily ‘open jam session’ where all are welcome to join in the fun.
As of press time, twenty-one acts have been selected by the music committee, with the remaining booking(s) to be finalized in the near future. Interest in performer workshops has grown over the years and organizers plan to offer more workshops this time around.
Headlining performers are:
• Friday, August 24 - The Holmes Brothers: Over the course of their 30-plus year career, The Holmes Brothers have been feeding the souls of their devoted and ever-growing fanbase with a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and country. Their amazing three-part harmony singing brings the soul and spirit of gospel music into everything they perform. The band easily blends Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of Sunday morning’s church service.
• Saturday, August 25 - Fred Eaglesmith’s Traveling Steam Show - Fred Eaglesmith is a genuine iconoclast and true original. An independent musical artist, Eaglesmith’s songs have been covered by country superstars Toby Keith, Alan Jackson and Miranda Lambert and he has received a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album. His music has been used in films by Martin Scorsese, James Caan and Toby Keith. Eaglesmith wrote #1 hit on the bluegrass charts (“Thirty Years of Farming,” recorded by James King), he wowed David Letterman in his U.S. network debut, and his songs are included in the curriculum at two colleges. Eaglesmith also inspired the Roots on the Rails rolling music fests and hosts its excursions on scenic railways as well as, last year, at sea. When not writing recording and performing, Eaglesmith creates visual art that is exhibited in commercial galleries and museums.
• Sunday, August 26 The Grand Slambovians a/k/a Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams After a two year hiatus, audience favorites Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams will return to the Porkies stage. The Circus emerged from the misty hills of Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1988 and exploded upon the Hudson Valley music scene. The music of Slambovia has been described as “Hillbilly-Floyd, folk-pop”, “alt-country roots-rock”, and “surreal Americana”. Dancing freely between existing religious and philosophical mythologies, their music is uplifting, empowering and fun.
Newcomers to the Porcupine Mountains stage include Australian singer/songwriter, harmonica and didgeridoo player ‘Harper’ and Midwest Kind; Gordie Tentrees, a former school teacher, breakdancer and Golden Gloves boxer from the Yukon Territory; The Fabulous Ginn Sisters, The DitchLilies, Northern Magnolia, The Honey Dewdrops, Flat Broke Blues Band and Erin Luoto.
Making return performances are John Gorka, The Ragbirds, Ray Bonneville, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine (performing with band), Charlie Parr, The Erik Koskinen Band, Rory Miller & Dale C. Miller, Yvonne Blake, Jim Jessup and the Children of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.
Always popular with families is the children’s area, designed to entertain our young festival goers with numerous activities. The children of the Porcupine Mountains are the future of music and they highlight the stage each year with a colorful and uplifting performance that is sure to bring smiles. To make the attending easier for families with children, special flat rate children’s pricing is offered.
The festival made State history in 2005 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.
Advance ticket discounts end May 31. For more information regarding the 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 884-2653 or 1-800-344-5355.
Friends of the Porkies receive MCACA grant for
8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival
Submitted by Cheryl Olson
The Friends of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park have been awarded a grant of $7,500.00 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 233 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2012 funding. The grant funds are earmarked for the 8th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, which will be held August 24- 26.
Organizations receiving a MCACA grant award are required to match those funds with other public and private dollars. Local support of the project includes festival sponsorships and private donations. The music festival also receives significant volunteer support from the community. A small core group of individuals volunteer year-round in the planning stages, and throughout the 3 day eventover one hundred volunteers are utilized.
The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant application to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences.
A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MCACA website at www.michiganadvantage.org/arts.