High Sierra Music Festival keeps getting better

A crowd packs the High Sierra Music Hall for an Artist Playshop in Quincy, Calif.

A crowd packs the High Sierra Music Hall for an Artist Playshop in Quincy, Calif.

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If there is one common thought among many who make the trip to High Sierra Music Festival every year, it’s that: It just keeps getting better. The music festival in Quincy, Calif., took place from July 4-7. The magical universe that is created for one weekend has come and gone, and many already look forward to next year.

The lineup always grabs great acts and even better up-and-coming artists. Anyone who didn’t make it Thursday really missed out because some of the best music happened that day. There were more than 50 bands booked and it included many other performances. Making it to half of them can be an accomplishment, but there’s so much going on it’s impossible to see it all.

Some of the up and coming artists that felt like headliners were St. Paul & The Broken Bones and The Marcus King Band. Both bands had world-class performances, and High Sierra grabs acts like these year after year. For many, it was the first time seeing these performers.

Finding new bands during the day is fun. This year Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra, Royal Jelly Jive, Cha Wa and The Lil Smokies were some unfamiliar bands that will definitely get more attention out this way, among many more.

A couple of tribute sets were some of the highlights. Karl Denson’s Eat A Bunch Of Peaches was remarkable. The Nth Power performing the music of Marvin Gaye was beautiful.

It’s hard to pick favorites, especially when there is so much variety, but one of the best sets was Stanton Moore & Skerik’s Emerald Quintet. This was a performance by a group of musicians who don’t normally play together in a band. Stanton Moore’s main group Galactic was there, and Skerik was an artist-at-large for the event. The group performed together at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, so hopefully they see the good reception and decide to do more shows.

Everybody enjoys the music differently. Some are running between sets to catch as much as possible while some take in every minute they can of their favorite artist. Some bring enough gear to stay comfortable for a while and relax and stay at one stage. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Nobody was joking when they said don’t miss the Artist Playshops. Every one of them seemed to be phenomenal. Many artists came together and you never know who was going to pop on stage. Many classics were performed. You could tell some people loved hearing that music live and they had a real connection to it.

Beyond the music, High Sierra is such a fun place. The grounds are filled with creativity and are always colorful and well decorated. Clean Vibes does a terrific job of making sure garbage is never a problem, and volunteers do a good job or making sure every piece of litter finds its home.

Such a successful festival prides itself on being a safe place for families and kids. Children were welcome everywhere. The Family Village was lively, but children were out at the stages always enjoying the music and playing with all sorts of toys.

For many, it’s hard to get away from camps and friends and to the stages. Like a family reunion, this might be the only time they all see each other. Some places have quite the party going on. In Shady Grove, Camp Zesty held a gold-themed party on Friday with a special guest booked for the event. It was a wild time and attracted quite the crowd, all properly dressed in gold attire. It was a surprise for everybody when festival favorite ALO showed up to play a set at camp. It’s magic like this that make this event truly special.

It’s very easy to get around, but with so much good music going on, it’s worth it checking out as much as possible. It was easy to get log 25 miles between the four days. Good footwear and hydration is key.

Nothing beats the vibe of High Sierra. The weather may be hot, but it’s the coolest place to spend Fourth of July Weekend. It’s the kind of place you can call everybody your friend. You’ll see the artists enjoying themselves as well and it’s easy to give them a high-five and say hello. It’s seems to everyone’s favorite festival, from the fans to the musicians, but also among many of the workers and volunteers. It’s a very special place.

Unofficially, the festival will be held next year on July 2-5. Mark your calendars and request your time off. It’s going to be the 30th anniversary, and it is sure to be a big one.

Kyler Klix is a designer and contributor at the Nevada Appeal. If you’d like to talk about the outdoors or upcoming concerts, email him at kklix@swiftcom.com.


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