Radio Waves Music Festival, Plein Air Competition

by Joan on September 3, 2014

bryan hansel northern lights gm sky

Bryan Hansel caught this great shot of the northern lights the other night.

CarahThomasMaskell_ festival shot

Sweetheart’s Bluff in the Grand Marais Rec Park is the perfect place to hold a music festival. Photo by Carah Thomas.

The 7th annual Radio Waves Music Festival kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. with live music throughout the weekend at Sweetheart’s Bluff at the Grand Marais Rec Park.

This is a must-see, must-go-to event sponsored by WTIP Community Radio. It features great local, regional and national musicians, a children’s tent and several local food vendors, including Lola’s Sweet Life Bakery, Fika Coffee, Double D’s BBQ, the Harbor House Grille, Art House B&B and Great Expectations School.

The bands play on two stages under the Big Top, so there’s continuous music throughout the festival. And every music genre is represented including  rock, classic country, classic rock, folk, jazz, Americana, alternative country and more. Tickets are $5 a day, $10 for the whole weekend.

The Carpenter Ants headline this year. Photo by Carah Thomas.

The Carpenter Ants headline this year. Photo by Carah Thomas.

This is a come-and-go-as-you-please festival, too. Bring your own chair if you want to sit out in the sun and enjoy the day with friends and neighbors. (There are usually plenty of chairs in the tent.)

This year the Carpenter Ants are the headliners, playing on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday., they return to play a fantastic morning gospel hour with Gordon Thorne at 10 a.m. (Note: The band will also play at the Gunflint Tavern on Monday night.)

The children’s tent is always a big draw, too. Organized by WTIP’s Jana Berka,  kids activities, arts & crafts, face painting and more are offered to children on Saturday and Sunday. Free.


Leah Thomas plays with the SplinterTones. Photo by Carah Thomas.

Leah Thomas plays with the SplinterTones. Photo by Carah Thomas.

Click here to see a great little video about Radio Waves.

The SplinterTones, who wrap up the festival on Sunday night, play the background music in this one.

Here’s the music schedule so you can plan your weekend:

Friday, Sept. 5

  • 4 p.m. North Shore Community Swing Band
  • 5:10 p.m. Fred Anderson
  • 5:40 p.m. Oversize Load
  • 6:25 p.m. Jim & Michele Miller
  • 7:05 p.m. Viton, Lavigne, Mills & Hand
  • 7:45 p.m. Pushing Chain
  • 8:30 p.m. Rich Mattson & The North Stars

Saturday, Sept. 6

  • 10 a.m.  Larry Carpenter
  • 10:30 a.m.  John Silliman
  • 11 a.m. Earth, Wind & Todd
  • 11:50 a.m. Maria Nickolay
  • 12:20 p.m. Trails End Band
  • 1:10 p.m.  skyBLuetrio and the ORANGEgirl
  • 2 p.m. The Curry Family band
  • 2:50 p.m. D’Merritt
  • 3:40 p.m. Portage
  • 4:30 p.m. Frozen Britches
  • 5:05 p.m. Bughouse!
  • 5:45 p.m. Gina Lee
  • 6:20 p.m. Cook County’s Most Wanted
  • 7:10 p.m. Ric Gillman & Bruce Bowers
  • 7:50 p.m. Al Hedstrom & Don Bauer
  • 8:30 p.m. The Carpenter Ants

Gordon Thorne plays the Gospel Hour on Sunday morning with the Carpenter Ants. Photo by Carah Thomas.

Sunday, Sept. 7

  • 10 a.m. Gordon Thorne with the Carpenter Ants
  • 11:30 a.m. The Spruce Roots
  • 12:20 p.m. Whurl
  • 1 p.m. Shoot from the Hipsters
  • 1:50 p.m. Joe Paulik Band
  • 2:40 p.m. Briand Morrison & Roxann Berglund
  • 3:15 p.m. The Pete K Group
  • 4:05 p.m. Blues Galaxy with Briand Morrison
  • 4:55 p.m. Sam Miltich & the Clearwater Hot Club
  • 5:45 p.m. The SplinterTones
The Plein Air Competition starts this weekend.

The Plein Air Competition starts this weekend.

Also this weekend, the Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Plein Air Competition opens with 60 artists scheduled to start painting on Friday, Sept. 5. Plein air painters from all over the region attend this event and spend almost a week painting the beautiful landscapes in Cook County.

We (and they) are then rewarded with a gala opening and exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, where the winners of the competition will be announced. The exhibit and sale continues through Sept. 28.

The juror for the Plein Air Competition this year is nationally renowned pastel artist Bonnie Paruch. She  has won major awards at Plein Air competitions around the country. In 2013 she released her new book, “A Brush with Life.” Her studio is in Door County, Wis. You can see her work at 

Paruch will give a lecture at East Bay Suites at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, which is open to the public. She will also teach a class Sept. 13 & 14. For more info and to register, call the Art Colony at 387-2737.

This event definitely involves the community, who are invited to watch the artists at work at the Sugarloaf Cove Paint Out this Saturday, from 1-4 p.m., and at the Quick Paint competition on Artist’s Point from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11 followed by an Open BBQ Picnic. (Bring something to grill.) They can also check out the Red Suspender Invitational at the Art Colony on Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. On display will be work from the Invitational, a bracketed single elimination style competition category.

The community can also meet the artists during Happy Hour at Papa Charlie’s on Saturday from 4:30-7 p.m. and at the Cascade Restaurant on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The public is also invited to go on an Artist Scavenger Hunt. Maps of possible locations where artists can be found are available at the Art Colony.

For more info on the competition, visit

This weekend and next weekend are full of great things to do. Not only do we have Radio Waves and Plein Air, but next weekend (Sept. 11-13) is Unplugged XII at North House Folk School,  a classic North Shore fall gathering.


Tickets are still available for Unplugged XII.

Unplugged XII features three nights of music under the Big Tent, including performances with NPR’s Mountain Stage Radio show Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, and the classic Unplugged songwriters-in-the-round performance with Jon Vezner and Friends Sept. 13. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at

There’s lots more happening next weekend at North House, too, including a variety of workshops, including music workshops, a Points North Auction & a Folk Artisan Market, a beer garden with Fulton beer and square dancing, public speakers, jam sessions and more.

Unplugged performers include:

Thursday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. : David Wax MuseumDan Wilson, Chris Smither, Tony Trishcka’s Great Big World, The Don Juans

Friday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. : David LindleyPert Near StandstoneCarrie NewcomerJudith Owen, Bill Miller

Saturday, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.: Don HenryJeff GilkinsonBill MillerChris EllisJohn Vezner

So, lots happening in music and art in Cook County for the next two weeks.

And not to forget, this is the last weekend to see the Birney Quick Retrospective at the Johnson Heritage Post.

Rich Mattson and the North Stars, who will play at Radio Waves, will be on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night to talk about their music and play a few tunes.

And the Cook County Farm & Craft Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Senior Center Parking lot.

Also, poet Ken McCullough will read from his work at a Writer’s Salon at Drury Lane Books at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

On Tuesday, Carah Thomas will hold a CD release party for her first CD, “Big Empty Heart,” at the Gunflint Tavern with her band and Michael Lipton, lead guitarist for the Carpenter Ants and the Mountain Stage Radio band.

In other art news, registrations are now being taken for the Make-A-Bowl sessions at the Grand Marais Art Colony. Participants will throw a bowl and hand build a bowl which will be donated to the Empty Bowls event, a fundraiser for the Food Shelf. The sessions will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday Sept. 14 through Oct. 13. For more info and to register, call 387-2737.

The Bay Street Film Festival in Thunder Bay will be held Sept. 3-7 at 314 Bay Street. This is always a great film festival. For screenings and times, click here.

In Duluth, the Facebook group, Frozen Photographers, open an exhibit at the Duluth Photography Institute Sept. 5. The exhibit, entitled “Living Up To Our Name” continues through Sept. 20. (Note: Photographers exhibiting in the show were required to submit photos of snow and ice — hence to the title of the exhibit.) The Duluth Photography Institute is located at 405 E. Superior St., Suite 140. Visit the website at

Here’s the music schedule for this weekend:

Thursday, Sept. 5:

  • Timmy Haus, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 5:

  • Radio Waves Music Festival, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Barefoot Wonder, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, Tofte, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 6:

  • Radio Waves Music Festival, 10 a.m. to10 p.m.
  • Boyd “Bump” Blomberg, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Barefoot Wonder, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 7:

  • Radio Waves Music Festival, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Wood Blind, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 8:

  • The Carpenter Ants, Gunflint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 9:

  • Michael Lipton & Friends, Gunflint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 10:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Moguls Grille & Tap Room, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

We’ve found some nice photos for you this week. Let’s start with photos of far-away places.

First up is Kate Bade’s photo of Pacific waves in Oregon.

Oregon, by Kate Bade.

Oregon, by Kate Bade.


Paul Sundberg was traveling last week and sent this great shot of the Smoky Mountains… two shots, actually, which we’ll include here.

Sunset, Smoky Mountains National Park by Paul Sundberg.

Sunset, Smoky Mountains National Park by Paul Sundberg.


And this one, of a completely different time of day.

Smoky Mountains National Park by Paul Sundberg.

Smoky Mountains National Park by Paul Sundberg.


Here’s another out-of-Cook County shot.. by Michael Furtman.

Trumpeter Swans by Michael Furtman.

Trumpeter Swans by Michael Furtman.


And then, a storm shot

Photo by Paul David.

Photo by Paul David.

And a season reminder …

Signs of Fall by John Sikkila.

Signs of Fall by John Sikkila.


Travis Novitsky took this shot of the Northern Lights when he visited Vermillion State Park recently.

Photo by Travis Novitsky.

Photo by Travis Novitsky.


And finally, three wonderful sunset photos.

Photo by Thomas Spence.

Photo by Thomas Spence.


Photo by David Johnson.

Photo by David Johnson.



Enjoy the weekend, everyone!



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