I arrived at Union Bay Campground the day before the 2011 Porcupine Mountains Music Festival began. It was not originally on my agenda at all, but I wound up being so glad I didn't resist the temptation for a little unscheduled, impromtu fun! It was my first live music festival in more years than I care to admit – what a great weekend! I have an article about it published in the August 2012 edition of MotorHome Magazine, copied here with their permission.
The festival takes place within the boundaries of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and is less than a mile from the Union Bay Campground. The setting itself is quite gorgeous, on a hillside (“Peace Hill”) that allows you to see the stage in the foreground, with the sparkling vastness of Lake Superior as a backdrop. Ecologically responsible, the organizers of the festival have placed a self-imposed ticket limit of 1,250 per day so as to reduce the footprint on the park, but when I was there, the crowd only numbered in the low hundreds, and what a great group of folks they were – super friendly and fun!
I sat next to this great family from nearby Ontonagon. When it was really sunny, Carrie (in orange) had a big yellow umbrella she invited me to share her shade. It made the festival even more fun to talk with them and share the enjoyment of the music. The next day my new friend brought me a precious present of homemade Thimbleberry jam – a true Yooper delicacy!
I loved this mama dancing barefoot in the grass with her baby on her hip!
Me – I just laid back and was pretty blissed out all day. 🙂
But I sat up and took notice when this guy took the stage. Ray Bonneville is Canadian-born, but lived in New Orleans for a number of years and now lives in Austin, TX. Since I was born in New Orleans and moved to Austin in 1971, I thought this was a neat connection and besides that, I really loved his music!
Another of my favorite musicians was Alison Scott. Her bio says she and her band are on a mission to write, play and sing music with soul. Mission accomplished, Alison – really enjoyed it!
Toward the end of the evening, people were high steppin' to the high energy of Mountain Heart.
I posted all of the above photos at the time, but there are more on this public Facebook page (you don't need a Facebook account to view them).
I'm certainly no expert in video making, but I captured a few of my favorite acts and scenes for YouTube:
A friend from Wisconsin and a frequent visitor to the Porkies, Al commented on something he enjoyed at the festival:
When I was at the fest, as I was enjoying the music, I was watching people. I do that. People greeting old friends. People socializing with new "neighbors". So Saturday afternoon, here come this couple up the hill carrying a big cooler. They had to be in their late 70s, maybe 80. He had his ball cap on and his suspenders told you he was a Yooper, probably an old logger, no doubt a Finlander. People were coming up from everywhere to hug them and say hi. And every one that did, he would reach into the cooler and offer them a cold beer. That was so cool…
I agree, Al – totally cool!
Friends of the Porkies – a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Porcupine Mountains Music Festival (PorkiesFestival.org)
A neat coincidence: I learned that the festival was started by a couple from Houston and I was happy to have the chance to meet Linda at their little resort: Superior Shores Resort on the way to nearby Ontonagon. For those folks without an RV, this looks like a terrific place to stay!
I'd love to hear your own experiences about places I've been - and what you think are "must-sees" - and I really value any suggestions and feedback from readers, so please let me have your 2 cents in Comments below: