Celebrating 30 years of High Sierra Music Festival
Celebrating 30 years of High Sierra Music Festival
The 30th High Sierra Music Festival was held June 30th – July 3rd, 2022 in Quincy, California. Headliners included Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Greensky Bluegrass, The Disco Biscuits and Goose.
Written By Jaclyn Rose
Images by Marc Short
Located in peaceful Quincy CA, the High Sierra Music Festival celebrated a 30-year milestone in 2022.
Good things come to those who wait as this joyous anniversary celebration had been patiently on hold since 2019. Dealing with two years of exhausting change, uncertainty, and loss seemed to create a gratitude among festivarians that was felt more (and needed more) than ever.
“It’s great to be back” was a sentiment heard over and over throughout the 4-days of near-perfect weather. As a small crew of 3 first-time attendees, we entered the gates with years of expectations in our heads and left with every one of them blown away.
High Sierra Music Festival has been a decades-long summer tradition for so many – thank you for making it another unforgettable year!
A Festival With Music For Everyone
High Sierra Music Festival has music for everyone in your camp so this means all your friends can come and enjoy themselves. At any given time on the stages in 2022 you could see electronic, funk, jam, bluegrass, folk, world, gospel, and artist cover sets! Many of the artists play twice throughout the festival so if you miss something the first time you can try to catch them the second time around.
Some of our camp’s weekend highlights included Peter Rowan and his special 80th birthday celebration during his Railroad Earth sit-in. Peter Rowan had the opportunity to thank the crowd for the energy exchange taking place and ended his set with a beautiful sit-in from Linsday Lou.
High Sierra first-timers, Goose, coming in hot from their Radio City album (Dripfield) release party, threw down for their highly anticipated Thursday Grand Stage performance. Neighboring camp recommendation Ghost Note had a powerhouse stage presence and did not disappoint with the funk jams at both their Thursday Vaudeville stage set and again at the Friday Big Meadow stage sets.
Boombox Thursday late-night played until almost dawn at The Funkhouse and the show started packed from the start after Late Night Radio opened. Both Boombox and Late Night Radio have put out new singles recently bringing a fresh feel into their late-night and daytime sets at Big Meadows stage and Vaudeville stage respectively. Guitar indie rock band, The Slip had a buzz about them as we were invited by a different camp to watch their Vaudeville stage Thursday night set (which we missed!).
Double Down on Your Favorite Festival Bands
The next day at breakfast in the food court several people mentioned The Slip show, so we made sure to get to their Friday playshop set which was packed and lived up to the hype. Friday Grand Stage was treated to an impressive 3-hour (2-set) Disco Biscuits dance party.
Femi Kuti and The Positive Force on the Saturday Grand Stage was another highly anticipated artist. Lead Vocalist, Opeyemi Awolmo, and his band delivered powerful messages and music in a set that was also visually stunning with dancers physically representing the beat.
California Honeydrops crushed both the Friday Grand Stage set and the end of Sunday Vaudeville sets. We lucked out for a special Honeydrops moment when they played an unannounced, total Sunday Funday, set at the Bitchen Kitchen stage (a small set stage we so thankfully discovered on Sunday, Thanks Josh!).
Marco Benevento, who also just released a new solo album titled: Benevento, played an excellent Sunday Grand Stage set and then went back on to a packed Grand Stage field Sunday night for 2 sets of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (JRAD).
Andy Frasco closing the whole festival with no other music playing gave us all energy like it was day 1. Andy played a wild set that was talked about in the campground, like Dude – did you see that?
Orgone opened for Nth Power for the final late night at The Funkhouse with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong across the intersection making it the last hard music decision of the festival.
Well done High Sierra, well done.
Other special mentions at our camp over the weekend were War and Treaty, Steve Poltz playing an all Jon Prine set, and Nth Power jamming the all Steely Dan set.
High Sierra Lady Power
The female artist representation at High Sierra was everywhere this year. Starting Thursday afternoon with Ashleigh Flynn and the Riveter’s upbeat set on the Vaudeville stage and feel-good singer-songwriter Alisa Amador on her electric guitar at Big Meadows stage. Ashleigh Flynn also was in the Troubadour Sessions on night one.
After a captivating sit-in with birthday boy Peter Rowan on Thursday, Lindsay Lou appeared on Friday in the Muscle Shoals tribute set before her Vaudeville stage appearance then again that night for Troubadour sessions night 2, woah! Lindsay Lou’s sweet voice and creative spirit adds so much to any stage or song, she just released a new single this week with Billy Strings (track titled Freedom)!
Samantha Fish lured me from the food court as her Big Meadows stage set Saturday started, and she and the band rocked right into a high-energy packed audience on the Grand Stage set Sunday. Samantha starts a world tour this week, and we are so grateful we got to see her High Sierra before she headed over the pond.
Molly Tuttle and The Golden Highway brought the bluegrass heat and new album (titled: Crooked Tree) vibes to the Vaudeville stage and then again at Big Meadows stage Sunday. Staying close to her family’s musical roots, Molly also brought her brother Sullivan Tuttle up on stage for some fast-picking fun. Molly Tuttle and bandmate Bronwyn Keith-Hynes slayed a Saturday night Grand Stage sit-in with Greensky Bluegrass making the Greensky’s return to High Sierra extra special.
We first noticed Anna Moss during the Lebo and Friends set on Saturday night, and we were quickly checking the High Sierra app to see where we could find her again! This led us to another amazing Troubadour Session (Night 3), where Anna played with Cris Jacobs, Margo Cilker, and Steve Poltz. We closed out our Anna Moss fangirl whirlwind with her laid-back Sunday set at the Bitchen Kitchen stage, and yes that was a clarinet saxophone she was playing in between beatboxing and singing.
“Do Not Miss” Moments and Pro-Moves
Throughout the weekend, we compiled a list of our moments that can’t be missed, along with some tips to help with our 2023 High Sierra Music Festival planning because let’s get real – WE ARE ALL GOING BACK NEXT YEAR!
Do Not Miss Moments
Do Not Miss – The memorial sculpture, a place to honor those still with us in spirit. This year our crew celebrated the life and memory of Pam and Frank, we miss you every day.
Do Not Miss – Fire Artists in the courtyard every night, I couldn’t walk away!
Do Not Miss – Dr. Bronner’s Foam Baths!!!
Do Not Miss – The opportunity to join a parade, or three! (Check the app for parade times and themes)
Do Not Miss – Yoga in the courtyard every morning was the perfect am reset.
Do Not Miss – Food vendors! If you are gluten-free, vegan, or eating only organic you will find yummy food at High Sierra. Some meals we enjoyed included Crepes, Gyro, African, Superfood Bowls, and homemade Popsicles!
ProMove – Download the app to use inside the festival grounds and keep a music schedule at camp. High
Sierra has overlapping music sets, having the app helped us see more music.
ProMove- The Box Office was in a new off-site location this year so check ahead before arriving.
ProMove- High Sierra festival is held on the Town of Quincy fairgrounds with many of the buildings
looking similar! We had a camp neighbor gives us a rundown on how to get to each stage from our homebase.
ProMove – Freshen up on your kickball skillz pre-fest!
ProMove –Sitting in the shaded bleachers can give you a break from the heat of the day while still listening to the Grand Stage music.
ProMove – Late-night acts are ticketed separately from festival tickets and do sell out.
ProMove – Think bathing suits and winter coats when packing and if you forgot sunscreen first aid can help you out.
ProMove – The Quincy local pool is right outside the festival gates and has showers. We got a weekend pass for about $20.
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