Written by Tom Hellauer
Photos from Maria Ivey of IVPR
Nestled deep in the cozy, Northern California mountain town of Quincy, some festival goers have found the perfect way to celebrate this Independence Day—listening to killer jam bands, practicing community yoga and mindfulness all while eating cuisine from more than 20 unique food vendors.
These attractions and many others are part of the 29th annual High Sierra Music Festival, slated for Thursday July 4 through Sunday, July 7. The camping festival features 59 artists, ranging from EDM to bluegrass. The deep lineup includes fan favorites like Umphrey’s McGee, Galactic, Dispatch, and Manic Focus across a six stage setup through a sprawling mountain meadow.
Daily late night shows are held in both the Music Hall and Funk’n Jamhouse—two of the smaller stages that provide a more intimate environment. While the late night shows require a separate ticket for entry, all of the respective artists have day time performances as well. Separating the sets this way also helps keep the festival’s GA more affordable, particularly for those only interested in one or two late night shows.
Also in the Music Hall are Artist Playshops – daily workshops in which fans and members of different acts can jam, cover classic songs or just dance to the rhythm. The playshops have a looser feel, in which artists frequently take to the crowd and fans can showcase their musical talent in a synergistic attitude that has come to embody High Sierra Music Festival.
Another unique component to the festival are its Troubadour Sessions. Located in the Mineral Building, the nightly acoustic acts combine members of different bands fusing influences from folk to bluegrass to rock. Members of the Rainbow Girls, Royal Jelly Jive and Mapache kick things off on Thursday’s session.
Tributes to Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead and other legends are spread throughout the four day weekend.
On the menu are options for all diets, with vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores all well accounted for. Highlights include Afro-Caribbean treats from Sankofa and the chill treats from Peace Pops, including gluten free and sugar free fruit-sicles.
On site throughout the festival will be Clean Vibes, a waste and recycling service dedicated to keeping Quincy and other outdoor music festivals more eco friendly. Clean Vibes volunteers work four hour shifts each day before getting to take in the festival themselves. On that note, High Sierra has teamed up with Klean Kanteen again this year to provide free filtered water to reduce plastic and encourage reusable bottles.
This year’s gathering in the Sierras promises to have the same North California quaintness and allure of years past. Hope to see you there!