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Annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival goes virtual

MARQUETTE — The annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival will take place virtually Friday through Sunday.

For more than 40 years, the Hiawatha Music Co-op has brought people together in Marquette for an annual weekend of live performances, workshops and jam sessions featuring a variety of traditional music genres such as bluegrass, country, Cajun, Irish/Celtic, old-timey/Appalachian, blues, folk singer-songwriters, and gospel.

The co-op board of directors made the difficult decision after feedback from members, volunteers, community and contractors to postpone the 2021 in-person festival to 2022 and proceeded with plans for a virtual festival.

Access to the virtual festival will be provided at no cost to participants through grant funding. Donation options will be posted on all forums. Participants will also have an opportunity for interactive chats, trivia questions and membership give-aways. The hashtag #myhiawatha will be used to post images of individual or group gatherings.

There will be two formats to watch the festival concerts. The co-op invites participants to visit their Facebook Group “Hiawatha Traditional Music Virtual Festival” at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/hiawathafestival21 OR or Crowdcast forum to register at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hiawathafestival21.

The three-day event will kick off at 6 p.m. Eastern time Friday with The Eagle Spirit Dancers, featuring Roberta Shalifoe, a member of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, followed by Grammy-nominated, Bruce Molsky at 7 p.m. Chicago Farmer will perform at 8 p.m., followed by family band and flatfoot dancers with eastern Kentucky origins Zoe Speaks at 9 p.m.

On Saturday morning, round up the kids for a 10 a.m. show with another local Marquette favorite, singer/songwriter Papa Crow, followed by longtime festival children’s parade leader Frank Youngman and a virtual children’s parade, featuring pre-submitted participation videos of the Hiawatha-born song, “Pickles in Love.”

Saturday night will start off at 6 p.m., again with Marquette’s own singer/songwriter Troy Graham, followed by Grammy Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee Dom Flemons at 7 p.m. and Virginians the Martha Spencer and Whitetop Mountain Band at 8 p.m. Closing Saturday’s festivities will be the four-piece Midwest roots band Dig Deep at 9 p.m.

The festival will conclude Sunday morning with the traditional gospel hour, featuring Zoe Speaks, at 9:30 a.m. and Michigan-based trio with seamless vocal harmonies The Sweet Water Warblers at 10:30 a.m.

All events will be streamed on the Crowdcast video platform and the Hiawatha Facebook Group. The Hiawatha website also will provide instructions on how to tune into the Virtual Festival and the links to use.

“As we come together ‘virtually’ as a community, all are welcome to listen, dance, sing and celebrate all that Hiawatha has become in the last four decades and everything that is yet to come,” said Julie Foster-Lindquist, HMC president. “To help us all feel connected, we would love to see what everyone’s home festival looks like. The co-op invites attendees to use the social media hashtag #myhiawatha the week before, during and after the virtual festival to share photos and stories of their festival celebrations.”

For additional information, go to the Hiawatha website at https://hiawathamusic.org/2021-virtual-festival-general-info/, or email info@hiawathamusic.org, or call 906-226-8575.

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