For the KC Sisters, the third annual Hike to the Mic — two days of more than two dozen local bands playing at the top of Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury — is as much about memories as it is music.
“We’ve hiked up there so many times over the years and it’s just a wonderful place,” KC Sister Deanna Casey says. “We’re looking forward to performing again at Hike to the Mic. … This is more than a concert. This is our hiking trail. Our family has ... had such good times there, like so many other people. We’re so thankful for it.”
This year’s congregation of hikers and musicians is Aug. 18 and 19. The trail to the tower is 1.25 miles long and takes 30 to 40 minutes to conquer (it can get a bit steep in part.)
Countless folks have journeyed through the trails of Talcott Mountain to the Heublein Tower. However, things could have been very different for hiking enthusiasts. In 1962 the Hartford Times was no longer interested in owning the Tower and sold it, along with 450 acres, to three real estate developers who planned to turn the tower into a restaurant surrounded by apartments and houses along the mountain ridge. Neighbors fought back and formed the Save Talcott Mountain organization, and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection ended up purchasing 557 acres.
That was the good news. The bad news was that the tower had been vandalized during the ’70s. But it was cleaned up and is in solid shape courtesy of the Friends of Heublein Tower, which has restored the landmark.
However, the tower is always in need of care. Jacy Case and her father William Case, who practices law in Avon, decided to start the Hike to the Mic fundraiser a few years ago, inviting musicians to entertain on the mountaintop as a fundraiser to help preserve the historic tower and its grounds.
The catchy Hike to the Mic moniker was Jacy’s idea.
“It made sense since the only way you can get to the Heublein Tower within the Talcott Mountain State park is by foot,” Bill Case says, adding that the Heublein family’s former croquet court is a natural amphitheater.
“It’s the perfect place for a concert,” Deanna Casey says. “It’s a special place for my sisters and my parents.”
The five KC Sisters — Deanna, 21, Noelle, 19, Tasha, 17 and twins Elise and Kathleen,14 — are an Americana act that delivers an amalgam of folk, country, R&B, gospel and jazz. They play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We have an eclectic sound,” Deanna says. “We’ve all been musicians for a long time.”
Each of the girls is a multi-instrumentalist but what sets the group apart are the sisters’ soaring harmonies.
“Each of us loves to sing and we can’t wait to perform with all of these other talented musicians for such a great cause,” Deanna says.
Hartford singer-songwriter Jeff Przech is performing at Hike at the Mic for the first time.
“I’m excited about my debut,” says Przech, who plays Sunday at 2 p.m. “I’ve always been familiar with Hike to the Mic and now I’m going to have a chance to take part in it.”
“It’s a great day for local music since there just aren’t as many venues showcasing local recording artists and it’s frustrating,” Przech says. “I love living here. We’re in a nice little area tucked between Boston and New York.”
The country artist is working on new material, and says “it would be great to have more of an outlet ... to showcase what I’m working on. But Hike to the Mic will give some of us an opportunity. It’s a really nice lineup. People should come out to hear some great music and give to a great cause.”
HIKE TO THE MIKE is Aug. 18 and 19 at the Heublein Tower at Talcott Mountain State Park, Summit Ridge Drive, Simsbury. Admission is free, but donations go to care for the tower.
On Saturday, the Downright Family Band plays at 11 a.m.; Poor Nephews at noon; The KC Sisters at 1 p.m.; Now For Ages at 2 p.m.; Penniless Wild at 3 p.m.; Atlas Gray at 4:15 p.m.; and the Junior Mack Band at 5:30 p.m.
On Sunday, Jensen Casey Gold kicks off the day at 10 a.m.; Gracie Day at noon; Kais & Dollz at 1 p.m.; Jeff Przech at 2 p.m.; Headband! at 3 p.m.; the Funky Dawgs Brass Band at 4:15 p.m.; Brandon “TAZ” Neiderauer at 5:30 p.m.