The Red Jacket Jamboree is a collaborative effort between two nonprofit organizations, Main Street Calumet and Real People Media. Main Street Calumet was founded in 2003 with the mission to guide the revitalization of Calumet's historic downtown into an exciting and vibrant district that is attractive to residents and visitors. The district lies within the boundaries of the Keweenaw National Historical Park and Main Street Calumet works to express the local copper mining heritage through preservation, education, and cultural events such as The Red Jacket Jamboree. Leah Polzien, Executive Director of Main Street Calumet says “The Red Jacket Jamboree helps to fulfill this mission, celebrate the community's local history and culture, and stimulates the local economy through tourism.”
Main Street Calumet has partnered with Real People Media, a nonprofit with the mission to help people share their stories through literary, visual, performing and media arts. “By combining our skills and resources, we're able to bring a unique experience to Keweenaw residents and visitors,” adds Polzien.
The Red Jacket Jamboree evolved out of the show's precursor, The Red Metal Radio Show, which was produced by Main Street Calumet from 2009-2013. The series, written and directed by Oren Tikkanen and other community members, brought historical events to life including the 1913/1914 miners' strike. For the October 14 and 15th performance, The Red Jacket Jamboree will resume this historical narrative in 1915 but the show will segue into contemporary stories and songs from the Copper Country. The show's featured storyteller will be singer-songwriter and naturalist Sean Rowe. Rowe shares his love of family and the natural world through his deep baritone voice which has garnered him national attention. Sean will share the stage with host Lena Dorey, the Red Jacket Jamboree Band and Actors and community guests.
The Red Jacket Jamboree would not be possible without this grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, says Rebecca Glotfelty, Executive Director of Real People Media. “We are deeply grateful for the grant and to the people of Michigan who support cultural events in our community. The arts add to the quality of life for our residents and to the visitor experience. We welcome the opportunity to share the stories of our community with the people of Michigan and beyond.”
The Red Jacket Jamboree will be scheduled to coincide with other community events, such as the Copper Dog 150 and Pasty Fest to encourage visitors to extend their stay to the Copper Country. The MCACA grant only funds a portion of the cost of the series. The organization will also seek sponsors to underwrite the program. For those wishing to become involved, purchase tickets or to sponsor, please visit www.redjacketjamboree.org.