Mike’d Up concert rocks Mott for second straight year

On the one year anniversary in which they laid their son to rest, Dean and Kristi Wehri were out remembering the life of their first born.

The 2014 T-shirt design sits on display at this year's festival
The 2014 T-shirt design sits on display at this year’s festival

Posted June 20, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

On the one year anniversary in which they laid their son to rest, Dean and Kristi Wehri were out remembering the life of their first born.

On June 14, friends, relatives and musicians gathered at the Mott fairgrounds for the second annual Mike’d Up music fest. A gathering aimed at remembrance, the event was scheduled from 2 p.m. to midnight and featured 11 different bands or solo acts from all around the state, including acts local to the Mott area.

The entertainment included Johnny Jim and the Jimmy Johns, Cassandra Johnson, The Blicks, Hunter Parcel, McKenzi Wehri, Brett Messmer, Copperlight, Rachael Jane and the Midnight Lights, Bear North, Cannonball Mafia, and The New Arizona.

Though some of the funds will be dedicated to the Michael Wehri Memorial Scholarship, Michael’s father Dean said that the money is not the most important part of this event.

“This is a celebration of life and music,” Dean Wehri said.

Prior to Michael’s passing, he had plans to join a band with a few of his friends, and they were going to put on a show just before the end of summer. After the farming accident, his friends continued on with the plans to put on the concert and honor their friend, and the idea of a festival snowballed from there.

“It was originally just a show we were going to do at the end of the year,” Josiah Billock said. “Originally Michael was going to be in our band as bass player…then the incident happened with Micheal and we thought we’d put the concert on still and the way we could do that with Michael was to make it a fund for the scholarship.”

Billock, along with Noah Blickensderfer and the rest of their bandmates (Westly Johnson, Olivia Billock and Alex Johnson) started to plan last year’s event. Shortly after they began planning they realized that support for it was growing, and decided to take it to the next level. They approached Noah’s father with the idea and they decided to bring it to the Wehri’s, and it was built from there.

Last year’s concert was put together in a rather short period of time, but this year the group had started planning since early winter when they reserved the space at the fairgrounds. This allowed some of the planners to recruit bands and other vendors to participate. To recruit bands Billock said they just asked around.

“We know some kids in some bands from around North Dakota,” Billock said.

They also received some help from various college friends from around the state including Ethan Klein and Eric Jensen, who offered their services and played a major role in helping with the sound throughout the event.

Kristi Wehri enjoys the aspect of offering local bands the opportunity to perform and show people their talents and wanted to “showcase some of the local talent, and even some of the talent within our state.”

The food and other services were offered by various groups around the area, something that Dean Wehri wanted so it would be a community event.

“Keeping it in the community and make everybody have a positive experience,” Dean Wehri said.

Last year after the plans were made, the performances opened on the outside stage last year, but were forced inside due to the weather. And though the plans for this year was to hold it outside, the weather once again forced everyone inside, but there was no raining on this parade.

The event opened at 2p.m. as scheduled and almost made it to the midnight closing time, finishing at about 11:45 that evening. The hope is that now that they have held this festival in two consecutive years that it will catch on as a regular, yearly event for the Mott area. Something that Billock desired right from the planning stages.

“As soon as we got the idea, we knew that we wanted to keep doing it, as long as we possibly could,” said Billock.

The Wehris also are using the scholarship to continue on their son’s memory in the community.

Since beginning to raise money, they were able offer scholarships in his name for the first time this year. “We did give out two scholarships out this past May, two $1,000 scholarships,” Dean Wehri said. “We plan to continue doing that until we run out of money.” Dean also said that these events help the grieving process. By gathering together to remember Micheal, according to Dean, helps in appreciating the time everyone had with Michael.

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