2014 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main > site.

August 22, 23 & 24, 2014

Press Releases

Friends of the Porkies receive support from Arts Midwest Touring Fund

By Cheryl Sundberg, Festival Director

Arts Midwest’s supported act, The Steel Wheels, will perform as the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival’s headlining act on Friday, August 22 and will return for one additional performance on Saturday, August 23. Attendees will also have the rare opportunity to attend an informative workshop by The Steel Wheels to be held in the Chalet during the event.

The 10th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies hasbeen selected to receive funding from Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by General Mills Foundation.

Arts Midwest Touring Fund 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 their upcoming engagement of The Steel Wheels.  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.”

The Steel Wheels have captured audiences across the country with their heady brew of original soulful mountain music and their deep commitment to roots and community. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this dynamic four-piece string band marries old-time musical traditions with their own innovative sound and lifestyle, generating a truly magnetic revival. Their breakout album, Red Wing (2010), garnered critical praise and enjoyed tremendous success on the radio. It spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association’s Top 40 Chart, where it reached the number 15 slot, and cracked the Euro Americana Chart top 10.  The Steel Wheels were nominated for five Independent Music Awards in 2010, with “Nothing You Can’t Lose” taking top honors as Best Country Song.  Following 2011’s release, Live at Goose Creek, The Steel Wheels continued to take the Americana scene by storm with their album, Lay Down, Lay Low (2012), which lingered for 10 weeks on the AMA’s Top 40 Chart and was the 2012 Americana Album of the Year from the Independent Music Awards.  2013 brought yet another Americana charting release entitled, No More Rain.

The 10th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival will be held August 22 – 24 at the Ski Hill area of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. 

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 30 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.

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:

Friends of the Porkies receive grant funding from MCACA

By Cheryl Sundberg, Festival Director

The Friends of the Porkies have been awarded a grant of $17,000 from the State of Michigan Council
for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for the 10th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival to be held August 22 – 24.  The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 428 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2014 funding.

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 sponsors and program guide advertisers, along with 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 event–over 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 by clicking here.

Porcupine Mountains Music Festival Open House Planned

Incoming Festival Director, Cheryl Sundberg ( r ) and Jimmi Langemo of Jimmi and the Band of Souls, following the band’s opening day performance on the Singing Hills Stage this past August. Photo courtesy of Fuzzy Pants Studios.

Organizers of the 10th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, presented by the Friends of the Porkies, are hosting an open house on November 2 at the Eagles Hall in Ontonagon. This event is free and open to the public.

Festival Representatives will be present and ready to questions and gather contact information from those interested in becoming involved with the year-round planning of the festival, or volunteering during next year’s festival which will take place August 22 - 24, 2014.

“The music festival is a labor of love and after nine years of hard work, we have come to the realization that in order for the festival to continue, we must get pro-active in welcoming and mentoring those interested in joining the organizational process,” said Cheryl Sundberg, incoming Festival Director.

Sundberg, who has worked in various areas of the festival since its beginning, received the Director’s title from Linda Kermeen, co-founder, visionary and Director for the past nine years. Kermeen will stay involved with the festival in an advisory role and will continue working on financials, grant activities, and with the music selection committee.

The benefits gained by working with organizers are many. In addition to being a part of the music festival “family” there is much to be learned about staging an event, coordinating volunteers, selecting and booking performers, marketing, grant writing, grounds issues, fund raising, merchandising, hospitality, etc. And for those who might be interested but don’t live in the immediate area, technology opens up possibilities for volunteerism from near, and far.

The open house will run from 2 pm to 6 pm and there will be food, refreshments and door prizes, along with pre-recorded music by festival performers, past and future. At the conclusion of the open house there will be live music performed by 19-year-old, singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist Elijah Halpin.

An old soul, wise beyond his years Elijah’s music is original…straight from the heart and soul to the listener’s ears. Elijah has written Irish and Americana music on cello, viola, violin and he has performed as a studio/session musician on many other instruments. He has written and sculpted soundscapes for different viewings and galleries around the State of Michigan. “I try to write songs that mean something to the working man and the simple, God fearing people of this great nation of ours…never forgetting my Irish roots along the way.”

While living in the local area, Elijah embraces the artist’s viewpoint of “I live where I please, the world is my home.” Music has always been a part of his upbringing. “I grew up in a household that sang really, really, really old country & Irish songs on a daily basis. It was a part of everyday life. Get up early in the morning, work hard on the farm ’'til daylight ran out and spending the evening with family singing, fiddling and pickin’ old songs and tunes.” Elijah’s dad’s side of the family played many instruments, a path that Elijah followed. At age 11, he took piano lessons but scared the teacher away with the snakes and frogs he caught in the pond by the far hay field. Around the age of 13, Elijah wanted to join his aunties, uncles and grandma in their fiddle music jams…and they needed a guitar and mandolin player. It was at this time that Elijah started playing acoustic guitar and mandolin, a perfect fit and another step in his musical progression.

One day Elijah’s grandmother pulled him aside and said very calmly and quietly, “You are a Irish boy, you are a Halpin. Ya' should be playing the fiddle.”

The name Halpin is pronounced "hell-pin.” Ni'hAlpin’, the original spelling, means “halfpenny” in the Irish language. Elijah’s family came from Ireland to Canada and then to the Ironwood/Bessemer area.

Throughout the years, Elijah had witnessed many amazing fiddle players and found himself shy and nervous over the prospect of playing the fiddle. “I bought the cheapest fiddle I could find at a horse show and started playing from there. I must have been maybe 14, 15 years old. I met so many amazing fiddlers and cellists. Most of them can out-fiddle me any day of the week. I just keep trying my best as a 19 year old picker to keep up.”

“It’s nice to have a community that appreciates what I do and makes me feel welcome. It’s nice to have someone that makes me feel at peace and at home, right here…where I belong,” said Elijah. “I don't wanna be famous and rich…known as the Yooper’s greatest fiddle player or something like that.” At one time in this nation you had people that worked. They were working folks…they logged, mined, farmed, trapped. They all had someone, or a handful of folks, in the town or countryside that played music for social events. That’s what I want. I play for the people of Ontos and the surrounding communities, that’s all I want.”

At the conclusion of the open house there will be live music by Elijah Halpin, singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist.