UPR Feature Story
7:33 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Porcupine Music Festival - Hairy, Friendly People in Northern Utah

15 miles south of Logan you’ll find a relatively unknown place called Avon, population 367. But this weekend the sleepy farming community will be a little more lively as visitors trickle in to attend the Porcupine Music Festival.

Tucked away in the Bear River Mountain Range, the town’s backdrop of sloping yellow fields and scattered red barns seems more suited for a period piece film. But to festival organizers Rich Macatee and Wade Evans the setting complement the event’s eclectic acts – reggae groups, funk bands with horn sections, folk, world music, singer/songwriters, a west African drum troupe, one year they even hosted a belly dancing troupe. In short, the festival is a celebration of music and community.

Macatee: "That's about it, to provide that opportunity for people to for people to come together and in a nice setting and with a nice purpose for music and just to be together. It's a rare opportunity anymore."

Evans: "I know a lot of people have been looking forward to it, a lot of people talk about it being the highlight of their year around here you know there's a lot of people in this area who love to dance and love good music and love an atmosphere where they can let their hair down and that's the idea, that's why we come all the way out here and provide a safe venue where people can express themselves a little more colorfully."

This is the 6th year the two-man team has put on the festival. Evans schedules the acts and does the promotional work, while Macatee prepares the venue, his backyard. He has spent the past few weeks getting the homemade 20 x 12-foot stage up to county regulation standards:

"People camp around the perimeter. Then there's a trail that goes down to the river, which is nice when it's hot. People go down there and cool off. Hopefully we'll have a food vendor who shows up and offers some food. That's about it. It's pretty small."

"It's humble," adds Evans.

You could say it’s a labor of love. The all day festival doesn’t make the pair money, for $15 festival goers enjoy a night of camping and 12 different musical acts.

People have suggested they raise the price to $25, but Evans says, "We're just of the mind that we'd rather have it more available to everybody."

It’s a great deal, says Evans, and each year word spreads and the festival attendance grows. He just hopes this year they can break even.

Evans himself is playing in the festival with his band The Harmonic Conspiracy. He sits cross legged on the stage as he strums his mandolin, his dreaded beard nearly brushing the strings of the instrument.

It started originally when I was six or seven and my mom convinced me that taking piano lessons would increase my hand-eye coordination which would help me be a better soccer goalie. That's how I originally stepped into music but obviously my taste has changed.

There's been mixed reactions to the festival from Avon residents. Evans says some neighbors see it as distasteful - like it's a modern-day Woodstock. He even remembers one such neighbor coming to the festival with a bullhorn and telling everyone to stop and clear out.

"Probably a festival like this attracts more colorful free-thinkers. There's probably a few misfits who don't fit in with regular Cache Valley society, but a lot of the neighbors come and they don't feel out of place. I think most people come and find that even though many of the attendees of the festival may look funny or hairy or something, they'll find they're friendly."

We're just trying to live our lives according to the dictates of our own consciences and that includes getting together in celebration of music and from time to time staying up all night dancing.

More information is at the Porcupine Music Festival's Facebook Page