The 29th Annual High Sierra Music Festival in the mountains east of Chico, is fast approaching; taking place over the 4th of July weekend. It’s a four-day outdoor music gathering with a unique spirit and vibe. The music is full of NorCal acts and jam bands (see the full lineup); so you’re covered on that front. But the event also offers daily parades, a family village, a community swimming pool, and wellness activities like yoga, pilates, and guided meditations. So there’s this big community feel to the festival as well.

To better understand what to expect this year, we asked a few artists to share their thoughts on High Sierra, their love for visiting Northern California, and advice for festival attendees.

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Katelyn Shook from the Shook Twins
Portland, Oregon

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Rad!

What do you admire most about Northern California?

It’s very authentic and chill and has held its own vibe down for all these years as the big cities to the South grow bigger and bigger.

What advice do you have for the festival attendees?

Bring ways to cool yourself down! And make sure to check out all the small stages and go see bands you’ve never heard of before!

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TAUK
Oyster Bay, New York

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Beautiful sunsets paired with great musical experiences.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

There’s so much to admire about that part California, the great outdoors, West Coast vibe & good food options are all things to be excited about.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Well, safety is always the number one priority for all festivals. Drinking tons of water is also essential for a fun time. Lastly, dance like your legs were going to be taken away from you. New friends always seem to pop up when you’re living your best, joyous life, DANCING.

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Vince Herman from Leftover Salmon
Boulder, Colorado

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Horse stalls.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

It’s a great environment for growing weed and freedom.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Bring earplugs for sleep.

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Alan Bartram from The Travelin’ McCourys
Nashville, Tennessee

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Anytime someone mentions High Sierra I remember how it was my first real “hippie” festival experience. That’s what folks like me called anything that wasn’t a trad bluegrass festival. It was probably 2006 and I was still new to the Del McCoury Band. Green as a gourd, I walked through the grounds taking in the sights and sounds. I’d never seen anything like it before. I always enjoy going back.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

The landscape. From the coastal redwoods to the Sierra Mountains there’s nowhere else like it. Some of my favorite trips have been to NorCal.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

If you’re a noob, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and mind your milligrams.

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Valley Queen
Los Angeles, California

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Oxygen, fresh air.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

The drive up the one (Hwy 1) along the cliffs and ocean. Unadulterated beauty.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Drink water, lay down in the grass with nothing in your hands, gaze up at the sky and don’t miss the Jim James set.

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Eric Long
San Francisco, California

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

5am Kickball. If you’ve never been to High Sierra, watching those shenanigans is reason enough to attend the festival. Don’t get me started on all of the amazing music I’ve caught over the years!

What do you admire most about Northern California?

The diversity and beauty of the natural landscapes are pretty hard to top, but the people are just amazing too. Those are the things that brought me here.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Try and make it to the river at least once and pace yourself, because it gets hot! Also, make sure to wander the campgrounds. There are so many amazing folks that take the time to set up some awesome themed camps that are just a riot to pass through.

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Joe Craven
Sacramento, California

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

“New Millennial Gold Rush”. It’s like a complete re-frame of the California Gold Rush of 1849. People of all colors, creeds, cultures, incomes, politics and persuasions – gathered to harvest an experience of which the payoff is a different kind of gold from the element/metal we think of. High Sierra’s gold is in its entertainment, fellowship, inspiration, enrichment, education, understanding, compassion, joy and love… realized and elevated in an artfully lived micro-community. Like The Gold Rush 49, it comes and goes seemingly fast and yet, unlike the Gold Rush of 49, it happens once a year like an “Old Faithful Family Reunion” whose treasure trove of well being sustains its community until next time.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

It is a wonderfully diverse and complicated place and state of mind.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Think ahead, come with what you think you’ll need (knowing that whatever you forgot will be available and/or provided or won’t matter) and perhaps most importantly, to lower your expectations so that you may more easily broaden your horizons.

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Dan Lebowitz from Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)
Saratoga, California

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Fun!! That said, there are so many other words that flooded my mind in the seconds following. Words like “community”,”inspiration”, “amazing”, “play”, “laughter”, “dance”, and the list goes on!!!

What do you admire most about Northern California?

Well, Northern California is where I’m from, so aside from a stint in Santa Barbara, where I studied music, I’ve pretty much always called Northern Cali my home. To me, Northern California represents hope, beauty, and inspiration. I travel a lot for music, and get to go to some amazing places. I love my home though, and no matter how much I love the places I get to go to, I’m always psyched when I return to Northern California!

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Prepare to have your socks knocked off – among the best, of the best (of the best!) music experiences out there!

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Mandolin Orange
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Cold rivers and hot springs.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

It’s hard to beat the majestic scenery. We are national park lovers and have been known to drive hours out of the way to hit the redwoods on tour.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Go see Mapache! They’re our favorites and we’ve toured with them a bunch.

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Natalie Cressman
San Francisco, California

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

It makes me think of family/community. The vibe of the festival is particularly family-friendly and community-oriented, and that is part of what makes it one of my favorite festivals. Everyone is looking out for one another whether it’s backstage, or out in the crowd, and there’s a lot of room for collaboration on a musical level.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

I love the natural beauty of the region and there’s something extra special about being surrounded by mountains and forest. It feels like home to me, since I grew up in SF and spent time every summer in the redwoods nearby. The quality of life, from fresh produce to good weather, and the cultural diversity always make northern California super appealing.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Last year it was so hot, so I’d say it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, take extra care to hydrate, and pack clothes for both warm and cool weather. Also, the playshops are a great way to spend the afternoons and stay cool inside during the midday heat.

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Alex “Gator” Petropulous from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Baltimore, Maryland

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

Colorful! Because it’s such a lively and exciting place to be.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

Traveling through the vast land and greenery always makes it such an adventurous place to explore and visit!

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

High Sierra is filled with artists of many different styles of music who are all amazing, so make sure to expand your musical palette and check out as much new music as possible!

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Cha Wa
New Orleans, Louisiana

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

A community of music lovers!

What do you admire most about Northern California?

Free thinking, inclusion & natural beauty!

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

Hydrate, and be willing to discover new music!

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Ben Vinograd from Big Something
Burlington, North Carolina

What is the first word or thing that comes to mind when you hear, “High Sierra”?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear High Sierra is the location. I remember driving through the mountains to get there the last time we played it and it was one of the most beautiful stretches I think I’ve ever driven.

What do you admire most about Northern California?

I admire the energy of Northern California the most. There’s a super zestful vibe where it seems like everyone is just invigorated to live life to the fullest up there! The landscape is also up their with the prettiest I’ve seen in the country as well.

What advice do you have for festival attendees?

My advice would be to drink a lot of water, nap whenever you have a chance to and don’t go too hard too fast! There’s so much to see at High Sierra so pacing is super important so you can really get the full effect of the lineup and the festival.

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High Sierra Music Festival
July 4th-7th, 2019
at Plumas-Sierra Fairgrounds in Quincy
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