Big Love and Thanks to the patrons, reporters, artists and promoters for what I strongly believe is the best FESTIVAL of all time! HSMF really brings the meaning of the word Festival into this microcosim of top notch community and creativity as we all do it together on the scale it is. There is magic and folklore here that is one of a kind. It is built from every aspect of what makes this tapestry click.
I always appreciate Jambase's opening words every year on High Sierra. So right on. Although, choice of words "I go to High Sierra to kick it" is really poor. I see what the writer means, but it is going to be taken not as it should. This is the place to, as Karl Denson said once, "there are other places where you get a lot more (line up) but you see a lot less" find treasures around every corner. They are not just artist treasures, they are treasures of comfort, comaraderie, GIFTING, convenience, and solace. If you sit for too long, you might miss an epic jam or some shenanigans that are just waiting for your inspiration to co mingle with it.
My friend Panda wrote this excerpt "why I wont miss High Sierra"
"The music - sure they don't bring in the huge headliners, but if you're the least bit adventurous I guarantee you will find a new band you haven't heard before that will amaze.
For the bands you do know, their late night performances are sure to be once of the best shows they play. This year's Cornmeal late night made believers out of everyone.
The playshops are an opportunity to see collaborations that may never happen again. Fareed Haque and Vieux Farka Toure sent jaws to the floor. They had never played together before.
The people - easily the best festival crowd there is. A potpourri of freaks, old hippies, parents and their kids, CA medical pot growers, burners, Quincy HS students and local yokels, hoopers, kickball players (real ones from real teams), sexy girls in tutus & bikini tops, and yoga enthusiasts. You will not find a better group of people who love to party and do it responsibly. Nobody vends anything without a legitimate permit. Sharing and giving anything people have is the norm. Sit down at any camp and you will make new friends. Stop by and shoot some hoops or play some cornhole, drink off a keg of lagunitas, get heckled to tell a joke or show your balls, play some drums, dance to an impromptu acoustic ALO set, eat some bacon and drink mimosas, talk about Wonder Woman's all-star performance on the kickball field with the British outfielder in pink pants.
The fairgrounds - It's possible to camp where you literally don't need to get out of your camping chair to see the music on the stage. If you walk more than 5 minutes from your camp to get to a stage, porcelain toilet, swimming pool, another friend's camp, morning kickball game, or a free warm shower, it's because you got distracted. Walk up to the front of the stage at any time and chances are you will have room to dance."
Not having to walk far for much saves a patron a LOT OF MONEY. BYOB, BYoBacon, if you forgot it, you will only miss maybe a song by going back to camp and getting what you need.
Every year I know Jambase is going to focus on their favorite bands, and Nathan and Big Light, Slip and crew deserve it. Im glad they did coverage on Vieux and Del McCoury, because those were 2 of the best sets of music of the weekend. I have to disagree about UM late nite. Ive seen a bunch of UM since HSMF 02, and this was my favorite performance of theirs. IT was pure Shred-style > Dance Rock > Shred > dance. Lovely stylings I dont hear UM concentrate on so much usually. They then ended the late nite with Dear Prudence, which was my favorite cover of the weekend.
Big Ups to Greensky Bluegrass for doing an absolutely STELLAR version of Michael Jacksons' BEAT IT. They brought the tune to a new dimension. Who knew bluegrass could be so 21st century?
So, Jambase does have an indie rock focus and reports on the last pages do too, but people should know that there is just as big of a bluegrass contingency at this festival, and much love for strings and dance music like Delhi 2 Dublin who amazed me, and the lesser rock offerings that HSMF brings.
One of the best sets of the fest was Izabella's sunday night Vaudeville tent closing set. It was actually refreshing to hear some rock soul latin tinged rock n roll that was delivered with intensity and passion more palatable than the art rock offerings of UM or the candy like teenage boy bunny humping too fast beats of the Disco Biscuits. Izabella was truly a welcoming treat!!
Big props to the Leftover Salmon reviews, it was beyond an honor to have the FISH back to the Sierra. I laughed, I cried, along with others who share the sentiments of how underrated this band has always been. I was at that kickball game and was in a haze when I came to, the impromptu Vince leading kickball jam was the epicenter of what these mountains gift the freaks on this weekend every year.
I was walking thru the Big Meadow and a cute lad with a wooden hand made High Sierra music note pendant hanging around his neck walks by. I instantly recognized the High Sierra logo he had hand crafted. I said to him, "thats the coolest pendant ever!" and he reached in his bag and gave my friend and I each one exactly like it. He had made them just to give away. When I pulled out money, he said, no no. Its a gift. I then gave him one of my homemade FESTIVAAALLL!! stickers as thanks. This is just one example of why a festival is more than just a line up and seeing great music. This is much more than that. I can go see any of these bands down in San Francisco at any given time of the year, but I can only spend 4 days at the Hiiiiiigh Sierrrrrra.
See you for the 20th anniversary. Its going to bee a doozy. :)