Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival: 41st annual gathering set for weekend

A band performs at a previous Hiawatha festival. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — The 41st annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival is fast approaching, bringing with it traditional music performances, dances, workshops and more.

Starting Friday, attendees from all walks of life will converge upon Tourist Park in Marquette, in what Festival Director Susan Divine calls an inclusive experience.

“We just want people to know, whether it’s your first time to the park or you attend every year, we welcome you with open arms,” Divine said. “It’s a chance for people to come away from their everyday lives and have a moment to camp and be in nature — to sit down and take a breath and listen to great music. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

One of the most fulfilling experiences during the festival can be offering to share your time and talents, Divine said.

“We are still looking for volunteers. We have about 70% of our volunteer slots filled up, so people can go on our website at hiawathamusic.org and click on the link for our volunteer sign-up,” Divine said. “Volunteers are what make the festival a fun and smooth weekend for everyone.”

Main-stage musicians include Lula Wiles, The Barn Owls, The Po’ Ramblin Boys, Old Salt Union T-Mart Rounders, Jeffrey Foucault with Kris Delmhorst, Red Tail Ring, Sumkali and Devil in the Woodpile.

There are also a few new additions to the festival itself, Divine said.

First-time festivalgoers are invited to attend an orientation from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday to participate in a tour of the Hiawatha grounds, meet new friends, get information about the schedule and the benefits of becoming a Hiawatha Music Co-op member, she said.

Due to mounting concern over the years about bicycle safety, children ages 4 to 14 must wear a helmet when riding bikes during the festival, she said. They must also attend a new Festival Bike Safety Session sponsored by Start the Cycle, she said. Children who have completed the session will receive a wristband that they will be required to wear all weekend.

Divine said the Hiawatha Music Co-Op Advisory Board contemplated whether bikes should be allowed.

“The board thought about it, and we decided that bringing bikes and being able to ride bikes on festival grounds is very important to the kids and families that come to Hiawatha,” Divine said, “so we decided to continue allowing bikes but make changes that will keep everyone safe.”

Safety session locations and times are available at the festival website.

Another addition this year is a musical petting zoo in the children’s area sponsored by Yooptone Music.

“It’s in the kids’ area, but I think it’s something that people of all ages enjoy,” Divine said. “You can experience a variety of instruments, hold them, play them and see what it’s like.”

Another new development will be in the dance tent on Friday night.

Northern Michigan University music professor Carrie Biolo will lead a “Call to the Dance” drum circle from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Drummers of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate in the event, Divine said.

Tickets for the festival will be available at the festival gate along Marquette County Road 550 at the Jacobetti Complex parking lot across from Tourist Park.

Weekend passes for adults, seniors and teens between the ages of 13 and 17 are $85, while children ages 6 to 12 are $5. Single-day tickets are $25 for the Friday night dance, or $50 for Saturday or Sunday single-day passes.

Divine said she is excited to see what this year’s festival brings, and hopes to see even more local attendees.

“We have a jewel right in our backyard,” she said. “I hope more people from the area can come out. Being in a beautiful environment and hearing great music just feeds your soul.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.