Mountain Sky, Scott Township’s music and camping venue, kicks off its 2016 season with “Grateful for Spring,” Saturday, May 7, starting at noon.
The grassroots-organized venue popular with local musicians and fans alike was temporarily shut down during the 2015 season amid issues with the township permits and zoning applications. However, Mountain Sky coordinator Michael “Ragu” Rogowski said that with the support of the community, fans and Scott Township administrators, Mountain Sky is prepared to host a robust season of events.
“I’m excited about this year,” Rogowski said. “The cool thing is how much different things are after all that last year with the township, this year we’re having the Scott Township community picnic. Everybody came together as a community, and it’s really great.”
Noise complaints from residents prompted a county judge to issue an order to stop all concerts in July 2015, leading some to wonder if Mountain Sky would be allowed to continue to operate. Rogowski said without the location, coordinators and supporters didn’t think the shows could continue.
“Montage Mountain reached out to us to hold the rest of our events last year, but it just wasn’t the Mountain Sky vibe,” Rogowski said. “They offered us the water park, and it was really cool of them, but we went up there and it just wasn’t our vibe, it wasn’t as laid back. And no disrespect to Montage, it’s just more commercial, and we’re more grassroots. They’re LiveNation and we’re closer to the community.”
With an outpouring of support — including a petition with thousands of signatures — and a strong effort from the organizers, Rogowski said Mountain Sky is committed to being part of the community with an event-filled season.
“We flipped it all around,” Rogowski said. “We’re working with the township supervisor now. It’s good. The township never had a music venue in their backyard, so it was a bit of learning for both of us. I’m kind of liking having some rules. I’m not a big fan of rules by any means, I never was — but now it’s not so bad. So we can only have music on the main stage until 11 p.m.? That’s fine, we’ll still provide 12 hours of music. That’s not so bad; you can take a nap and continue it again in the morning.”
Rogowski said he realizes early Mountain Sky shows might have been a bit overzealous, but the venue is focused on being a good neighbor to the community.
“We were pushing the limits,” Rogowski said. “The first year, we were keeping the main stage open until 2 a.m. I can see where some members of the community got upset. I just didn’t realize it at the time. Everybody makes mistakes, but you look at those mistakes and move forward. You say ‘We have some problems here, what do we have to do to fix it? Let’s keep the ball rolling.’”
Saturday’s Grateful for Spring Jam and BBQ season opener exemplifies the spirit of Mountain Sky with music on two stages beginning at 2 p.m. featuring Diane Brigido & Friends, Clarence Spady Band, Andy Sleboda, Village Idiots, Matt Beck Band, Matt Bennick Blues Experience, Friends of the Family and Mountain Sky Orchestra. Fans won’t have to choose one act over another, with the schedule featuring no overlaps to keep the music going. When the sound systems on the stages go quiet, the campfire jams begin. Camping is included in the $25 ticket price ($30 the day of the show).
“You can come up and camp. We don’t charge for camping — it’s included in every ticket purchase,” Rogowski said.
With 13 events already scheduled, Mountain Sky is prepared to show fans and the community alike that the venue is alive and well for a fresh start in 2016.
“The fans are the whole reason we’re here,” Rogowski said. “It’s all because of the music. I play in four different bands. You can look at the photos on our website and you can see where we came from. The property was abandoned for six years, the fields were grown over the roof of my Jeep. The first year we spent the whole time cleaning the place up, but even back then we had the believers, the friends who came out to support us. There were no ceilings in this place, but people were still coming. It was the belief of the fans and the community; it’s a beautiful thing.”