Schellraiser Music Festival set May 30-June 1 in McGill

Schellraiser Music Festival will take place May 30 to June 1 at McGill Pool Park in McGill.

Schellraiser Music Festival will take place May 30 to June 1 at McGill Pool Park in McGill.

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Schellraiser Music Festival is inviting western Nevadans to the opposite side of Route 50 for the third annual event taking place in McGill, Nevada, from May 30 to June 1.

The three-day festival features more than 30 bands in the McGill Pool Park with nearby camping.

“You’ve got this ring of cottonwood trees that dome over you, and it gives the feeling that you’re in a grove and not out in the desert,” said Kyle Horvath, who is the director of tourism in White Pine County. “It’s a really magical vibe.”

The festival prides itself on being away from the mainstream and not having a corporate brand attached to it. Horvath said the festival represents the friendly community and falls in line with the vibe of the area being away from it all.


Schellraiser brought in a diverse lineup for this year’s event with more than 30 bands and some from other countries. Horvath said bands that haven’t toured America are starting their American tour at Schellraiser.

“I think having the diversity of the lineup helps bring in a lot more people,” Horvath said. “It brings in that more festival vibe where it’s more eclectic and you’re more likely to discover a new band.”

Ladytron, We Are Scientists and Mercury Rev will be headlining on different nights and there is a steady sound of music throughout the day across the three stages.

Rudy Herndon is the founder of the festival and is responsible for booking the bands.

“Rudy is the visionary behind the Shellraiser,” Horvath said. “He’s the guy with eclectic music taste.”

Herndon had this to say in a news release: “We are so excited to be bringing more of our favorite bands… to perform in this beautiful mountain desert landscape for the third year in a row,” he said. “Our small-scale event is the perfect mix for obsessive music lovers, outdoor aficionados and adventure travelers who want to experience all that Eastern Nevada has to offer.”


The festival began in 2022 and Horvath said the crowd was what you could expect for a first-year festival. He said the second year doubled in size with twice the amount of people, vendors, volunteers and more.

“It took on more of a full festival vibe,” he said. “With more food, more retail and the music was awesome last year.”

Now in its third year, Horvath said he’s ready for it to grow even larger, while still having enough elbow room for everyone to dance comfortably.

Horvath said the festival prides itself on being an independent festival away from corporations. Which represents the area itself being far from the mainstream, creating an easy-going, family friendly atmosphere.

“It has such an intimate and personal feel,” he said.

Horvath has a 13-year-old daughter and he said she comes with her friends every year.

“They have a great time,” he said. “It’s a completely safe environment where everybody knows everybody, and it’s enclosed, and the music is family-friendly.”

Being in such a small environment, Horvath said the bands are accessible for the fans to mingle with and the bands would show their appreciation and would even come out and thank Herndon’s mother for the event.


There’s an 80-acre campground located on private property about 1.8 miles north of the park. There are basic tent spots for camping, a few yurts to rent and there are RV resorts close to the grounds. The area also has nearby brand-name hotels and high-end casino hotels. Camping is not included with the price of a festival ticket.

“There’s definitely plenty of lodging and plenty of dining,” Horvath said.

He said people might not know what to expect out there and it can be scary driving five hours not knowing what resources are available.

“We’re like a real live town,” he said. “There’s a hospital, a golf course, a grocery store. Once you get here you’ve got everything you need.”

There will be food trucks and drink vendors at the festival grounds.


Horvath said there’s plenty nearby to explore in the morning, or if you make it a longer trip there’s much to see along Route 50.

“It’s a place that once you realize how much stuff is going on, and the lack of crowds because of how much space there is, people tend to come back,” he said.

The McGill Pool Park is one of the larger tourist attractions, Horvath said. It’s a warm springs swimming pool with a sand beach.

It’s a great place for mountain biking too with tons of trails and even a gravel trail right out of the festival grounds, he said.

There’s historic stuff to check out such as East Ely Depot Museum. Almost across the street from the festival is a 1940s drugstore that was shuttered and nothing was touched, and they re-opened it so now it’s like a time capsule, Horvath said.

If you break up the trip with a stop along Route 50 there’s many blue historical markers to check out along the way.

“It’s worth it to stop and read about the Pony Express,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff happening there that people don’t realize.”

Other points of interest include Grimes Point Archaeological Area and Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area, and Austin. There are many hot springs off the beaten path, but those are harder to find.

Great Basin National Park is also about an hour drive from McGill.


Horvath, who used to live in Carson City and work at the Brewery Arts Center, said he wants to see more people come visit the eastern side of the state and let people know there’s lots to do there. He said the community appreciates having live music come through the area.

They have a summer concert series and the Fire and Ice Festival in January among their 200-plus events a year.

Horvath said it’s been six years since working in Ely and he has worked on developing the music scene similarly to what he saw work in Carson City.

“I took everything I learned in Carson and applied it here,” he said. “I want a place for the community to come down, see their neighbors, hang out and have a person-to-person experience.”


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