Three days packed full of music and fun are scheduled for the 13th annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in Ontonagon County.
The festival will be staged Aug. 25 – 27 at the winter recreation area (ski hill) at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located just west of Silver City.
This event is presented by the Friends of The Porkies, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, which represents all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
The festival is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. The festival made state history in 2005 by becoming the first music festival to be held in a Michigan state park.
Staffed by a handful of year-round volunteers and over 120 volunteers throughout the three-day event, the festival places the focus on a wide variety of musical styles such as bluegrass, folk, rock, blues, zydeco, country and more.
The event will be held rain or shine.
Headlining the festival this year are:
Friday, Aug. 25 – The Steel Wheels
Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, The Steel Wheels are familiar with the traditions of folk music and how a string band is supposed to sound, and they’ve been drawing on those steadfast traditions for more than a decade. The Steel Wheels’ style weaves through Americana and bluegrass music, folk and old–time music, and the acoustic poetry of the finest singer-songwriters. This will mark their second time headlining in the Porkies after wowing the audience in 2014.
Saturday, Aug. 26 – David Bromberg Quintet
For Americana godfather David Bromberg, it all began with the blues. His incredible journey spans five-and-a-half decades, and includes – but is not limited to – adventures with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia, and music and life lessons from seminal blues guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, who claimed the young Bromberg as a son. A musician’s musician, Bromberg’s mastery of stringed instruments is legendary, leading Dr. John to declare him an American icon. This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from The Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.
Sunday, Aug. 27 – Laney Jones and the Spirits
The enthusiastic and uplifting performance by Laney Jones and the Spirits at last year’s festival was not lost on organizers who have welcomed them back for encore performances, including the festival’s closing set. Laney has amassed honors in esteemed competitions, like the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the NewSong Contest. She has performed on PBS alongside Alison Krauss and received positive press from publications like “No Depression” and “Rolling Stone (“10 New Artists you Need to Know” February 2016). Her music has also been licensed for clients, such as Pixar, Dreamworks and ABC.
Special guests throughout the three-day event include Jalan Crossland, The Accidentals, and Charlie Parr; along with Cale Tyson, Ana Egge & the Sentimentals, The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Kind Country, K Jones & the Benzie Playboys, The Lucky Dutch, Dave Boutette & Kristi Davis, Paul “Mayo” Mayasich, The Go Rounds, Not Quite Canada, Dede & the Dreamers, The Harmaleighs and Yvonne Blake.
Offering a more laid-back feel is the festival’s acoustic Busking Barn, where amateurs and professionals take the stage and daily jam sessions are held. The festival also offers children’s activities and performer workshops. This year’s workshops include: Saturday, Aug. 26 – Louisiana Dance (Waltz/2-Step) with K Jones and the Benzie Playboys to be held at the Folk School/Old Carpenter Shop; and a Q & A session with legendary performer David Bromberg; Sunday, Aug. 27 – “A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Folk/Blues Guitar,” with Charlie Parr.
Tickets are $90 for a three-day pass, $35 for a single-day pass. Seniors over 60 and teens ages 13-17 receive $5 off regular prices. Tickets for children ages 7-12 are $10 for either a three-day pass or a single day pass. Children 6 and under receive free admission when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a popular tourist attraction, with a breathtaking 60,000 acres of natural beauty located in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Ontonagon County is Michigan’s largest by acreage, and is one of the least-densely populated counties in the state; 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.
For more information regarding the 13th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 1-906-231-1589.
For campers with questions on reservations at any of Michigan’s state parks, contact the DNR’s parks call center at 1-800-447-2757 or 1-800-44PARKS.
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For more information, visit the DNR’s webpage at: www.michigan.gov/dnr.