Mike’d UP music fest continues to grow (PHOTOS)

It’s become more than just a community event. Started four years ago to honor Mott resident Mike Wehri, the Mike’d Up music festival has become a featured event attracting bands and fans from all around the country.

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By COLE BENZ
Herald Editor

It’s become more than just a community event. Started four years ago to honor Mott resident Mike Wehri, the Mike’d Up music festival has become a featured event attracting bands and fans from all around the country.

“I’m just happy that it can continue on,” Mike’s father Dean Wehri said. “It’s the thing to do in June is go to Mike’d Up.”

The 4th Annual Mike’d UP music fest was held on Saturday, June 4 at the Hettinger County Fair Grounds east of Mott.

Westley Johnson, a friend of Mike and an integral part of the group who got the event going four years ago, said one of the acts in this year’s event featured musicians all the way from Pittsburgh, a sure sign that this event is continuing to grow.

“Every year it’s gotten bigger and bigger,” Johnson said.

He said that the first event was more or less an open mic night for locals to get up on stage and play in honor of Mike. But more recently, they have been able to book more organized, established bands to fill the time slots.

Johnson credits many different groups for encouraging the event’s growth, not just the close-knit friends of Mike who started the festival.

“It’s definitely not just us,” Johnson said, crediting the community, the fair board and the Wehri family for their support.

This year’s event featured nine different bands that included Michale Skaggs, Cannonball Mafia, Cassandra & Company, The Tootsie Pops (a musical duo of McKenzie and Maci Wehir—two of Mike’s siblings), The Three State Strut, The Weeping Covenant, The New Arizona, The Ska Skank Redemption, and DJ Chef Boy-Arty. Rick Watson was the master of ceremonies.

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Johnson told The Herald that organizers have found it easier each year to book acts for the event, saying that they have had to turn some bands away because there just isn’t enough time slots available. It’s something he said he doesn’t’ like to do, but that they’re glad they’re in this position.

Admission was $10, and all of the proceeds went to the Mike D. Wehri Scholarship fund. Dean said they have been able to give money to various groups around the community for the past three years, including six students.

In the three years they’ve had funds to donate, they have given two, $1,000 scholarships per year. So six students in total have received $1,000 towards their education in honor of Mike. Dean also said that the fund has been able to donate to the FFA program and the speech program, and he hopes that the giving won’t stop.

“We plan to continue it for quite a while,” Dean said.

As Dean reflected on the progress of the event from year to year, he cited the fair board and community for being so accommodating, but also credited the musicians for their passion.

“There’s some serious dedication on the musician side to keep this going,” Dean said.

Johnson said that the festival has turned into such a happy time to remember Mike, something that maybe wasn’t the case the first year of Mike’d Up.

“I think the first year it was just really a somber thing, as time has gone on it’s more fun, you start to feel the happy memories a lot more, so it’s therapeutic,” Johnson said. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

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