Living legacy: Jim Koski continues to help community, 13 years after death

ONTONAGON — When 35-year-old Jim Koski died in a motorcycle accident in 2005 his friends and family lost both a loved one and a tradition.

“He was just a real likable guy if you ever met him and hung out with him you’d certainly remember,” said his friend Dave Hermanson.

With Koski gone, the annual summer music festival held by friends and family came to an end, it wasn’t the same.

“They didn’t have one for ten years,” said Jerry Koski, Jim’s father.

However, in 2016 Jim’s friends had an idea. Bring back the tradition in honor of him.

“They used to call it the music fest and our son’s nickname was Bucket so they asked me if I wouldn’t mind if they would put on a music fest again,” Jerry Koski said.

With that, Bucketfest was born in Jim’s honor to benefit the Jim Koski Scholarship fund for Ontonagon students. Jim’s parents created the fund shortly after his death.

2018 marks Bucketfest’s third year and Hermanson hopes it will be bigger than ever.

“It’s taken off,” said Jerry Koski. “In the first two years they generated $1,200 and last year they advertised it a little bit and generated $2,400.”

On July 6 and 7, eleven bands from around the U.P. will be performing as volunteers for the cause. Friday features Semi-Psyched, Livewire, A Beautiful Mess, Highlight Reel and Saucy Rovers. On Saturday, fest-goers will hear Spun, Nolium, Ghidora, Tuesday Jones, Arvon and Neverlund.

The price will be $10 at the door for both days at the Ontonagon County Fairgrounds.

There is camping available for those interested and the Adventure Mountain Lions Club will offer concessions. However, attendees must bring their own alcohol.

All ages are welcome with 16 and under getting in for free.

“He just left a good impression on you a positive all around good guy,” Hermanson said.

For that, his legacy lives on.