IN STAGE SUSAN J WEIAND The Grandstand stage is seen at dusk as the Disco Biscuits perform Friday night at High Sierra Music Festival. KIDS ANDREW QUIST/PROVIDED Children participate in a parade at High Sierra Music Festival on Saturday, July 2. RAINBOW GIRLS Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal The Rainbow Girls Vanessa May (left) and Erin Chapin (middle) practice a song at camp with Ezra Lipp at camp on Sunday ahead of their set later that evening at High Sierra Music Festival.
High Sierra Music Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend. It was much anticipated after three years since the last event. Thousands came out to Plumas County Fairgrounds in Quincy, Calif., to hear their favorite music and it was a reunion felt with joy among friends and family. There is so much going on at the festival with three stages and many other performances happening elsewhere. Between the different music and activities, there’s something for almost anyone. There’s many who make HSMF a tradition and come almost every year and there’s always newcomers who have an amazing time and plan on coming back for more. ‘PINNACLE WEEKEND’ Ryan Kerrigan, from Oregon, said he plans his entire year around High Sierra. He and his wife first came in 2001, and 2022 marks No. 20 for them. They started bringing their daughter, who is 12, 10 years ago. “This is the premier pinnacle weekend for us, and everything else is just gravy,” he said. When asked what he looks forward to the most, he said it’s the people. “There’s probably, not even exaggerating, at least 1,000 people I see only here at High Sierra,” he said. Kerrigan has been a vendor at the Grandstand for many years. He creates different types of art to sell, and many colorful pieces are inspired by High Sierra and other music. He said his favorite show that surprised him was The War & Treaty, a band he had never heard of before the weekend.
SUSAN J WEIAND The Grandstand stage is seen at dusk as the Disco Biscuits perform Friday night at High Sierra Music Festival.
FAMILY FUN Chris “Sunny” Barnes came to his first High Sierra in 2004 and said he’s only missed a few. “Once I came, I just never stopped coming,” he said. “The music, the scene, the vibes and the people keep bringing you back for more and more.” He brings his family every year from Sparks. His three stepsons are 25, 22, and 20, and he said they’ve grown up at the festival. Before they used to love playing around the slacklines and hammock area and now, they’re spending more time at the main stage. “They love it and they’re still coming,” he said. “The little one, all the music is blowing him away.” Mercy Anastasio came for her first time from Minden with her daughter and friends. They were in the Kid Zone on Sunday doing arts and crafts with their kids (ages 9 and 10). “It’s so fun for the kids,” Anastasio said. “It’s super kid friendly as opposed to some other music festivals, so this is cool.” They said they’ve enjoyed dancing to the music, and they spent some time swimming in the nearby river. Anastasio’s daughter said she would like to come back next year.
MUSICIANS The Rainbow Girls make High Sierra a tradition since they first came in 2015 and played at the Sierra Nevada beer tent and some renegade sets. They said they enjoy the camp jams and playing with other artists such as the California Honeydrops, who they camped with. Their camp near the late-night halls were constantly flowing with music. “It’s such a great festival to be a musician because there’s so many people playing and they’re so good at it,” Erin Chapin said. Vanessa May said it was nice having a set on Saturday where they could invite everyone who wanted to sing with them. “It was magical,” she said. “There are so many musicians here that we respect and by getting to share time and space — it always feels so good.” Scott Pemberton opened the main stage on Thursday. On Sunday he said he really enjoyed Tea Leaf Green’s set. They let him sit and play, but he said he enjoyed watching it. Pemberton has been on the lineup six times since 2013. He said the jamband scene was new to him at the time, but now he’ll make it a tradition to come back as much as he can. “If they keep having me, I’ll keep coming,” he said. “It’s my favorite festival, hands down.” Steve Poltz said on Sunday his favorite part of the weekend was all the collaborations he’s done with other artists and all the lyrics he’s had to learn. “My brain is fried, and my throat is shot, and I feel like it’s time to get some rest,” he said before his last scheduled set of the festival.
Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal The Rainbow Girls Vanessa May (left) and Erin Chapin (middle) practice a song at camp with Ezra Lipp at camp on Sunday ahead of their set later that evening at High Sierra Music Festival.
CLEAN VIBES The festival grounds stay clean with the help of volunteers and responsible patrons. “The people are lovely and it’s like the second cleanest festival in the country,” said Clean Vibes Supervisor Alisa Scaglione. She works with Clean Vibes, who take care of the grounds with team of volunteers. She said it’s incredibly important to sort recycling and divert waste to the landfills. She said High Sierra is one of her favorite festivals to work between the 12 to 15 she attends. She found some free time to see her favorite band Greensky Bluegrass Saturday night. Another Clean Vibes worker, Howard Clayton, reiterated how clean the festival grounds were. “Honestly the first three days of the festival there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do with people taking care of things,” he said. “It’s probably been one of the cleanest I’ve worked at. The crowd’s been awesome, and the patrons are great.”
THANK YOU The staff, security, volunteers, bands, vendors, and everyone else all deserve a big round of applause for putting on an amazing and safe 30th anniversary of High Sierra Music Festival. Many have friends they’ll only see there and there’s always new friends to be made. It’s hard leaving it all behind but many of us are already counting down the days until next year. Thank you for a real good time.