Music & Mountain Sky …
“The beauty of it is that people believe in Mountain Sky,” said Michael Ragu Rogowski, a member of a group of hard working visionaries looking to give music lovers and nature enthusiasts a place to spend some time this summer. Mountain Sky is situated on 117 acres of historic land at “The Beginning of The Endless Mountains” in Scott Township. The land is owned by a Nigerian Church that is currently leasing the property to the group of musicians/tradesmen who are transforming the property’s vacant buildings and overgrown landscape into a family-friendly event venue focusing on music and the arts in Mother Nature’s backyard. Mountain Sky has plenty of goals for the first official year in operation, but their mission statement is clear; “offer musicians a unique and intimate venue at which to inspire and become inspired.” Rogowski sees developments in Mountain Sky every day. He wants local talent on display every day, art and music retreats, festivals and gatherings incorporating nationally-recognized performers, outdoor activities (family camping, hike/bike trails and disc golf) as well as an organic farm space. It’s all about the music and taking the time to appreciate nature’s gift. Meet one of the men behind Mountain Sky, Michael Ragu Rogowski…
You’ve been in jam bands throughout the area playing percussion for quite some time now. How did you get involved?
I got involved with playing music more than 10 years ago as a writer. I would hang out with a group of musicians and they would get together and jam. I’d try to write lyrics to their music. One year, I broke my knee cap and somebody bought me bongo and said “here you go!” To me, if you are going to do something, do it all the way. Percussion is really fun and it’s something that I love. I had no clue how to play. I was a white boy with no rhythm, no beat, no nothing (laughs). Music is a big part of me. I love the creativity. I feel blessed that it is a part of me.
What is Mountain Sky?
Mountain Sky is an artist retreat and music venue. We’re hosting camping, live concerts and looking to offer the community some fun. We would like to do some art shows. It’s all about embracing this creativity, music and the arts in a beautiful, natural setting. The surroundings are simply gorgeous.
This is really the first year that Mountain Sky will be hosting events on a regular basis and open to the public.
We are still throwing different ideas around. Should we have an event every weekend or one a month? I think we should have something almost every weekend. We’re working on having Sunday Jambecue’s.
Everything is still coming together; it’s a work in progress.
Yes it is. We installed a patio and painted the building two weeks before the Pick’nic (the first Mountain Sky Event of 2013). We sealed the patio the day of the show. (Laughs)
How was the turnout for the Mountain Sky Pick’nic featuring the George Wesley Band and Old Friends?
It was beautiful. All I saw were smiles. People came up to me and showed their appreciation; people who returned from last year and were really wowed with the changes we have made. We’re in the process of putting together before-and-after pictures to show how much work has been done. It’s also about bringing in the next generation to these events. The goal is to pass this down to our kids. Right now we have five years to make something happen. The church is pleased with what we are doing here and I recently sent them pictures and they are happy. It’s their place and I want them to see what we’ve been doing.
What events do you have planned for the rest of the season?
We’ll be hosting our First Original Music Showcase, May 25 and 26; our first Antique Festival June 1 and 2; a Poker Run Benefit, June 23; First Annual Rock Show hosted by Destination West, June 29; Camping and concert, July 5 and 6; Blue Sky Revival with Mace In Dickson, July 13; Clarence Spady’s First Annual Blues Fest with Poppa Chubby and more, Aug. 9 and 10; and Still Grateful Fest, Aug 30, 31 and Sept. 1. We’re trying to be different and try new things.
What are your plans for the future?
We are getting a huge response. We want to be hosting big festivals. We want a kick-ass stage on our field. We want big acts to come here. Dave McAndrews is talking about creating Mountain Sky Internet Radio. We want a greenhouse with vegetables. We would like to teach music here. We would like to have a bed and breakfast and feature RV camping; a mountain bike trail, nature trail, cross country skiing, and disc golf course. There is just so much we can do here. We have a really good team and a lot of good people on board. It’s real now and everyone understands. Unless you’re the captain of your dreams, your dreams will never come true.
What would you say to people who are thinking about checking out Mountain Sky?
How do you describe it? Just come and see it.
— tom graham
To learn more about Mountain Sky and to see a schedule of upcoming events, visit www.mountainsky.net.