Porcupine Mountains Music Festival celebrates 15 years

Contact: Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit PorkiesFestival.org or call 1-906-231-1589.
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 15, 2019

The War and Treaty, Dustbowl Revival to headline the festival

The War and TreatyThree days packed full of music and fun are scheduled for the annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in Ontonagon County – celebrating its 15th year.


The festival will be staged Aug. 23-25 at the winter recreation area (ski hill) at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located just west of Silver City.

The music festival 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.

This activity 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. 23 – Dustbowl Revival: This group has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans' French Quarter” (Los Angeles Times) and their “upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear” (L.A. Weekly).Rob Sheffield, in Rolling Stone, hailed them as a great band “whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day.” The video for “Never Had To Go,” starring band fan Dick Van Dyke, became an Internet sensation. The group went on to open for bands ranging from Lake Street Dive to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, while also appearing at such festivals as Delfest, Floydfest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and more recently, Norway’s Bergenfest and Tonderfest in Denmark.
  • Saturday, Aug. 24- The War and Treaty: As The War and Treaty, Michael and Tanya Trotter serve up funky bass lines, keys, lap steel, acoustic strings, and stripped-down percussion create a swampy Southern soul bed for the couple’s transcendent vocals. A tour-de-force produced by Buddy Miller, the act’s new album swaggers with confidence only gained by artists who are wholly, proudly, themselves. Michael is a wounded warrior who found his voice while serving in Iraq, when he was pulled from the frontlines to write songs for the fallen. Tanya is a lifelong artist, drawn to singing’s power to take another’s pain away. The War and Treaty’s music and stories bring tears and goosebumps, but ultimately, more is at work. “I want people to feel like we care,” Michael says. “When you think about artists, you don’t think about that.” He pauses and grins broadly. “But that’s the way I want the world to feel about The War and Treaty.”  This engagement 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. 25 – Conge Se Menne: Reggae meets Finland, eh? Take a multicultural vacation with Conga Se Menne. Formed in 1994 by Derrell Syria, Conga Se Menne takes Syria’s original compositions and songs, arranges them utilizing elements of Finnish traditional music and Jamaican reggae, adds in comedy lyrics about “Yoopers” and other facets of U.P. life, and performs them on guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion instruments (and occasionally horns). The group has recorded four albums, and are working on their fifth, and are in-demand as performers around the region, throughout the U.S and in parts of Canada.

Special guests throughout the three-day event include May and the Motivations, The Paperboys, and the Small Glories, along with Cary Morin, the Ivy Ford Band, Charlie Parr, Emily Scott Robinson, Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes, Chicago Farmer, Melodime, Elizabeth Moen, The Crane Wives and Ray Bonneville.

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, and the indoor Chalet Stage, hosting performances during intermissions on the outdoor stage. The festival also offers children’s activities and performer workshops throughout the weekend.

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 Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit 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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