The fifth annual Grateful for Spring festival kicks off Friday, May 12, at Mountain Sky, 63 Still Meadow Lane, Jermyn, for two days of music set to an idyllic background.
Mike Rogowski, owner of Mountain Sky,  says the concert venue maintains a focus on “music, arts, creativity and the children.”  Rogowski noted that as schools cut budgets for music and the arts, the venue strives to be family-oriented to pass on musical traditions to younger generations, drawing everyone from “infants to elderly people.”
“We’re trying to keep it alive, as far as providing music and arts to the community,” Rogowski said. 
Grateful for Spring ushers in the venue’s festival season each year with a simple and true inspiration. 
“Basically, we’re grateful that winter’s over and spring’s here, so we’re going to have a concert,” Rogowski said. 
The venue officially began to operate five years ago and has grown since, with its festivals becoming increasingly popular. For Rogowski, this growth has been satisfying.
“It’s great to be able to reach out and get these bigger bands now as we progress… because we’re grassroots and we’ve been building up to this over the past five years,” Rogowski said.
Rogowski describes a particular excitement for this year’s addition of headliners John Kadlecik and Flux Capacitor. 
John Kadlecik is best known as an original co-founder of Dark Star Orchestra and as a sideman to Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir in the band Furthur. Flux Capacitor, a younger band from outside Philadelphia, has gained a strong cult following in the festival scene. 
The festival also features Stronger Than Dirt, Village Idiots, The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers, Mountain Sky Orchestra, Diane Brigido & Friends, Friends of the Family and Riffmatik.
In addition to all the bands, the festival features art, craft and food vendors.
The growth of the venue has translated to more changes than larger profile performers. Mountain Sky is in the process of adding a recording studio and garden to the grounds. Additionally, this year’s Grateful for Spring features various new activities for children and families, such as a horse-drawn hayride. 
Jami Novak has performed with Scranton-based band the Village Idiots —aside from a few breaks for other musical endeavors — since the early 1990s. At the upcoming festival, Novak pulls triple duty, playing with Jami Novak’s Inner Space Project on Friday night, the Village Idiots on Saturday and sitting in with Stronger Than Dirt for their closing festival set. Though Novak performs at Grateful for Spring for the first time this week, he is well acquainted with the grounds and its festivals.  
“It’s a treasure of a place … it’s on the top of the mountain, and it’s really beautiful and spacious,” Novak said. 
Even more than the grounds, Novak has praise for Mountain Sky staff and volunteers, who he says emphasize the festival experience over all else. 
“The people work very hard just to make the place happen … it’s a good family up there, and they’ve come a long way from throwing little shows to having full-fledged festivals,” Novak said. “They really did something that’s super special that a lot of people really like.” 
Novak said he hopes new people will come out for this year’s Grateful for Spring festival.
“Anybody that hasn’t been there should really come up … and they won’t be disappointed. It’s a really sweet, sweet spot and the sky up there is really as good as its gets,” he said. “Everybody’s usually really enchanted by the vibes there, because it’s a smaller festival, so it’s even more enjoyable, in a way, because it’s not overloaded with people and craziness.”
Moving forward from the fifth year of Grateful for Spring and the opening of the festival season, Novak remains excited for the future of festivals at Mountain Sky. 
“It’s only getting better and better, and its going to be a really bright future for that place, I’m sure,” Novak said.
— peter shaver


If you go
What: Grateful for Spring music festival
When: Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13. The gates open May 12 at 11 a.m. with the first show starting at 3 p.m.
Where: Mountain Sky, 63 Still Meadow Lane, Jermyn
Details: Weekend pass pre-sale tickets are $55 or $65 the first day of the show. For tickets, visit www.ticketfly.com. For more information, visit www.mountainsky.net or contact ragu@mountainsky.net.

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