Tucked away in the beautiful scenery of the Sierra Nevada is a magical place many look forward to every year. It’s the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, Calif.
The festival is based around music and brings in performers large and small across a spectrum of genres. While you might come for one of your favorite bands, you’ll want to stay for the awesomeness that surrounds this event.
2018 marked my third voyage to Quincy for the 28th annual festival. With a couple of years under my belt, it was easy to prepare and take in as much as possible in four short days. There was no disappointment.
Once things are set in motion, they don’t slow down. Across three large stages, more than 50 bands perform. Good luck seeing them all. Many shows overlap and you either have to pick your favorite and watch them or watch what you can and move to another area as fast as you can. Cloning yourself isn’t an option yet.
Besides the main attraction of headliners and having all sorts of bands, there are music playshops, where musicians collaborate to put on something unique. Some of the titles on these performances included: Guilty Pleasures: Songs You Hate to Love; Lebo’s High Sierra Ramble: 50 in the Rearview — Songs from 1968; Classic Album Hour: Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus;” and Guitarmageddon Honors Tom Petty. Festival-goers appreciate these sets because you can’t find shows like these anywhere else.
To fuel the dancing, there’s some fantastic cuisine to taste. It’s definitely worth splurging on a few meals, and just like the music, there’s a large variety to choose from and probably too much to taste in 96 hours. A classic favorite is the grilled cheese food truck.
The best part of High Sierra is the people. The environment is welcoming. There’s always a ton of new acquaintances to make. People are kind, responsible and clean up after themselves and look out for one another. The staff is all smiles and always a pleasure to deal with. It truly is a wonderful atmosphere. Everyone goes home with new friends.
There are always children of any age dancing, running and crawling around High Sierra. The event is family friendly. Parents often say they have a blast bringing their children. There’s also the Family Village — a place where children engage in arts and crafts and other fun activities. The kids get their own stage for puppet shows, magicians and some of the big stars venture in to play some tunes.
While walking from one stage to another during the day, you might hear some loud drumming and percussion going on in the streets. It’s time for the parade. Get closer and people are dressed in colorful costumes, dancing on stilts and carrying giant puppets. It’s another lively addition to the festival that’s a joy for everyone to participate in daily.
Another show that blew me away was the fire performance. A show with flames is always extraordinary to watch. It just goes to show this place is more than music.
One thing not to miss are the late-night shows. While the headliners finish their sets before midnight, there are a few bands that play until 4 a.m. These bands always bring tons of energy and put on stellar performances as the party goes on to the wee hours of the morning.
Although the music kept me up late, there wasn’t enough energy to stay up for sunrise kickball each day. Those who stay awake for the sun to come up enjoy a wild game of kickball. Some say this is their favorite thing that happens at High Sierra. Now it becomes a goal for next year.
There’s so much still to experience at High Sierra. Three years isn’t enough to take in everything. There’s always something to discover and new friends to meet.
There are many people to thank who make this event possible, but Clean Vibes deserves recognition. The staff works hard for this festival. I’ve volunteered with Clean Vibes each year and have to say what they do is tremendous, and it’s always a pleasure working with them.
If there’s one tradition to keep for life, it’s to spend every Fourth of July weekend with the beautiful people of High Sierra.
Kyler Klix is a designer and contributor at the Nevada Appeal. If you’d like to talk about nature or upcoming concerts, email him at email@example.com