Music fest held in memory of ‘Bucket’

Photo by Jerry Koski In memory of Jim “Bucket” Koski, Bucketfest is a two-day music festival to benefit Koski’s scholarship fund at the Ontonagon Area Schools.

The life of an Ontonagon man will be celebrated at a music festival this weekend at the County Fairgrounds in Greenland.

The second annual Bucketfest in honor of Jim “Bucket” Koski is a fundraiser for the Jim Koski Scholarship Fund at the Ontonagon Area School. Last year $1,200 was raised for the fund at the first Bucketfest.

Koski died at the age of 35 on Aug. 13, 2005, three days after suffering a severe head injury when he hit a deer while driving his motorcycle.

“He was a character — fun loving,” said Jim’s father, Jerry, who explained they kept Jim alive until organ donations were arranged. “He loved music. He was a hell of a football player and played rugby at Northern Michigan University. He loved people. He loved life, but God had other reasons.”

Jerry has fond memories of the son he raised alone from the age of 15 months until he remarried when Jim was 7 years old.

Jerry explained he and his wife, Linda, added $5,200 to the $4,800 people gave them when Jim died to set up the scholarship, to which many have donated over the years.

Attending the music festival is a must for the Koskis.

“Originally it was a music festival he and Dave Hermanson put on out at Dave’s farm,” Jerry said. “They hadn’t had one for 10 years.”

With the Koskis’ blessing, Hermanson revitalized the festival last year to mark the 10 year anniversary of Jim’s passing and named it Bucketfest.

“When Jim was around you knew it,” Hermanson said. “You’ll never forget him. He was always the life of the party.”

Jerry said Jim used to take people’s keys to ensure they didn’t drink and drive leaving the festivals.

“It’s bittersweet for us,” Jerry said about attending Bucketfest. “All of his friends are there. I’ll try to tell the funny stories to make people laugh.”

All of the bands are playing for free, ensuring a bigger contribution to the scholarship.

The gates open at 4 p.m. Friday, when Mid-Nite Storm will play from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Chillbillys from 7:30-8:45 p.m., Semi-Psyched from 9:15-10:45 p.m. and Nolium from 11:15 p.m. to 1 a.m.

On Saturday, the gates open at noon, and entertainment will be provided by Neverlund from 3:45-5 p.m., A Beautiful Mess from 5:30-7 p.m., White Knuckle Slave from 7:30-9 p.m., Ghidora from 9:30-11 p.m. and Spun from 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Music could start as early as 2 p.m. Saturday, if another band is found.

The event will be held in a fairgrounds barn if it rains.

The Adventure Mountain Lions Club will provide concessions, but people bring their own alcohol and some even camp on site.