At one of Mick Sterling's weekly Sunday night shows at Bunker's he was approached by Susan Leckey, the director of development for Camp Heartland. Leckey asked if Mick would be willing to hold a show to help raise money for the summer camp. "This was the day before Labor Day 1994," recalled Sterling, "and it was so loud in there I could barely hear her." They agreed to meet and talk a few days later where Susan asked if Sterling could do a show at Bunker's to raise money for Camp Heartland. Mick's response was unexpected. Instead of saying yes he would do a show, he said "I can do that but I don't know how much money you can raise, maybe a couple hundred bucks. Let me see if I can do something else." After tossing a few ideas around he came up with the idea of doing a week long series of shows at various venues around town during the spring of 1995, featuring some national and local musicians. "That's how Heart & Soul began," said Mick, "I just started making a bunch of phone calls. It all started like that, having Neil as the inspiration. I had never done anything like that before either, but I really felt like it was something that I could do. I liked the mission, I liked what Neil did, and having children myself, I could definitely identify with it, so it just kind of happened."
Starting with just a phone on a small desk in his basement and a willingness to help, Mick Sterling has been the spark in the Twin Cities behind what has become an annual musical Event. The Heart & Soul benefit has raised over $150,000 during the past 3 years for Camp Heartland and is the single largest fund raiser for the camp in the nation.
From that inauspicious beginning in Mick's basement, Heart & Soul has grown into an organization with over 500 volunteers with major corporate sponsors, media assistance and the support of both local and national musicians. "There are so many really good people helping out with this event," said Mick. "They are seeing the same thing that I saw when I first talked to Susan -- that Camp Heartland is worthy of a lot of praise. Their mission is really something that a lot of people can get behind and there is no way this could have gotten as large as it has without some unbelievable people helping out, all the volunteer and music people."
Because Camp Heartland offers free summer camp to children from all over the country, Heart & Soul has turned into an national fund raising music event. Speaking about the musicians who have expressed interest in helping out, Mick said "there is something different about this event that may not apply to some other events and I think the musicians see it. I don't quite know what that is. Whether it's just the whole vibe or just the actual mission (of Camp Heartland) itself, but there is something that is going on. Things are happening that are really good for us now. It's going in the direction I would like it to go" said Mick speaking about expanding the Heart & Soul fundraising on a national basis. "My goal for this thing has always been to make it a really legitimate event. Something that musically is very, very strong. It doesn't necessarily have to be one type of music, but a diverse musical event that attracts more national artists. It's a good charity to get behind. It's a legitimate national event that I'm hoping will be as big as some of the major blues festivals, that's my goal."
Corporate sponsors have also been instrumental in helping this benefit. This year's sponsors include Cities 97, Lifetime Fitness, American Family Insurance, Michelob Golden Light, and J.Patrick Moore and Partners. "They have been instrumental to making this a reality."
A major turning point for Camp Heartland occurred last year when they were able to purchase a permanent location for the camp. After 4 years of camps being held in different locations, Camp Heartland opened its new doors in June of 1998 with a year-round camp located in Willow River, Minnesota, between Hinkley and Duluth on Highway 35.
This year the Heart & Soul benefit is building on the success of last year's music festival. The Heart and Soul music event will be held outdoors next to Bunker's Music Bar and Grill located near downtown Minneapolis at 716 N. Washington Ave. The dates are Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, 1999. The musical event will feature 14 national and local acts with additional bands playing inside Bunkers. Acts include: Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Mick Sterling, G.B. Leighton, The Blenders, The Honeydogs, Mary Cutrufello, Deborah Coleman and other major national and local acts.
Tickets are available NOW through Ticketworks (612-343-3390), at Bunkerís and any Mick Sterling show. Special advance ticket prices are as follows:
March 10 through April 6, 1999:
One-day pass - $18.97
Two-day pass - $27.97
Kids under 12 - $11.97
and a special Heart & Soul Friendship pack: $94.97 for six one-day passes!
Ticket prices from April 7 through May 5, 1999:
One day pass - $21.97
Two day pass - $29.97
Kids under 12 - $11.97
Ticket prices after May 5th and at the gate:
One day pass - $23.97
Two day pass - $34.97
Kids under 12 - $11.97
Children under 3 are free. Music will be held both outdoors and inside Bunkerís. There will be a food court, merchandise area, children's area with different events and more! This limited room musical event will likely sell out so I would suggest you get your tickets early.
For more details on the other Heart & Soul events and the musical line up and set times, visit the Blues On Stage web site at: www.mnblues.com (go to the calendar page). And the new Heart & Soul Web site (up after April 15th).
Additional internet information on Camp Heartland can be found at: http://www.campheartland.org
On May 8, 1999 Mick Sterling will also be releasing his newest CD, "The Best Laid Plans." Produced by three time Grammy award winning producer Dennis Walker, Mickís new CD, recorded at Brewhouse and Oarfin, will feature the Memphis Horns and Mick's own powerhouse band.
For more information or to volunteer call Mick Sterling at 612-692-8879 or e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Camp Heartland at 1-800-724-HOPE. Minneapolis office for Camp Heartland, 612-824-6464. E-mail: email@example.com.
OUTSIDE LINE UP ON SAT. MAY 15
3:00-3:40 Tony Sims
3:50-4:30 Wain McFarlane and Zydeco Blue
4:40-5:30 (Warner Bros Recording Artist) Wes Cunningham
5:40-6:40 (Mercury Recording Artist) The Honeydogs
6:50-7:50 (Mercury Recording Artist) Mary Cutrufello
8:00-9:00 (Moonsong Recording Artist G.B. Leighton
9:15-10:30 (A&M Recording Artist) Jonny Lang
Outside Line Up SUNDAY MAY 16
3:00-3:40 Joe Juliano
3:50-4:30 Mango Jam
4:40-5:30 (Blind Pig Recording Artist) Deborah Coleman
5:40-6:40 Tina and B-Side Movement
6:50-7:30 Mick Sterling
7:40-8:40 Double Trouble (w/Tommy Shannon, Chis Layton, Bernard Allison, Wayne Toups, Shawn Pittman, Malford Milligan, Pat Hayes)
8:50-10:00 (Mercury Recording Artist) Susan Tedeschi
BUNKERS STAGE ON MAY 15
5:00-5:45 Lance Stevens
6:00-6:45 Best Kept Secret
8:00-8:45 Bison Burn
9:00-9:45 Sonny Boy
10:00-10:45 Framing Amy
11:00-Close (Atlantic Recording Artist) Martin Sexton
Bunkers Stage SUNDAY MAY 16
6:00-6:45 Ross William Perry
7:00-7:45 Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets
8:00-8:45 Kung Fu Diesel
10:30- Close Mick Sterling and guests