Festival will celebrate music of Grateful Dead

SCOTT TWP. — With summer coming to a close, it’s fair to say that many area residents are searching for one last hoorah.

Mountain Sky is hoping residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania embrace the change of seasons and attend its Still Grateful Fest, scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

Held every year in September, Still Grateful is a three-day concert/camping event featuring Grateful Dead tribute bands, as well as bluegrass, folk and funk artists at its Scott Township facility.

This year, there will be more than 100 local and guest musicians performing. Scott Guberman of Phil Lesh and Friends and Michael Falzarano of New Riders of the Purple Sage, among other visiting musicians, will be playing in the Englishtown Project as headliner.

“We have come a long way with this event,” Mountain Sky owner Michael “Ragu” Rogowski said.

Rogowski said that the Grateful Fest series – which includes both Still Grateful and its sister-event Grateful for Spring held in May – started naturally with a simple motive.

“We wanted to start an event that would foster creativity through the music and arts for both the adults and children of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Rogowski said. “So we plugged away year after year, trying out this and that, seeing what worked and didn’t work.

“We have it pretty down pat now that the event is in its sixth year. It’s been an intriguing learning experience, and we won’t be here forever, so it’s our responsibility to pass it on.”

Aside from the musical entertainment at Still Grateful, you can expect arts and crafts for children, horse and wagon rides, food and artisan vendors, a community fire pit and charity events.

Mountain Sky has teamed up with the nonprofit organization Strangers Helping Strangers to host a food drive during Still Grateful. Festivalgoers can bring non-perishable food, toiletries, baby and/or feminine products for donation. There will be raffle prizes and prizes for the most donations.

Still Grateful will also feature an open-mic event from 11 to 2 p.m. Saturday with guitarist Jude Mandarano hosting.

What makes Mountain Sky different than other venues in the area is the company’s values.

“We are grassroots through and through,” Rogowski explains. “Everything we have here is based upon a belief in the people. We don’t have a payroll – our help comes from volunteers. Music and the arts truly heal and here, we use man power to bring that to the people.”

He and other longtime members of the Mountain Sky team are currently pursuing nonprofit status in order to provide musical and agricultural education to children of the area.

Mountain Sky will be branching out within the next year.

Rogowski plans to add more bluegrass and country artists to the event set lists.

A fully-equipped recording studio is in the works.

“The studio will have a control room, and camera and audio screenings will be conducted from the indoor stage to be utilized by the artists,” Rogowski said.

Mountain Sky Radio will be premiering soon with live podcasts and musical performances straight from the Listening Lounge. Shows will be able to be heard at www.mountainsky.caster.fm.

Other annual events hosted by Mountain Sky include a Halloween bash, winter carnival, local artist performances and the Inclusion Festival, the first autism and sensory-friendly music and wellness festival held in the United States.

For more information on events or to volunteer, visit www.mountainsky.net.


By Alicia Belch


Still Grateful Festival

When: Friday through Sunday (Campers are welcome to stay until Monday morning to pack up)

Location: Mountain Sky

Tickets: Single day pass – $25; three day pass w/ camping – $50 ($45 per ticket for four or more)

Quiet family camping areas available, security/medical staff on site

Both full-weekend passes and single-day tickets can be purchased at the door or through Ticketfly. Early entry for Thursday evening is an additional $10. Free admission for children 12 and under.