HSMF | 07.05-07.08 | Quincy, CA


HSMF 2007 by Dave Vann
There was magic in the air and everyone could feel it. The 17th Annual High Sierra Music Festival was special and the inspiration grew not only from the music, but also from the musicians who shared time offstage, the fans, the late night campsite parties and perhaps most of all, the community of Quincy, California. High Sierra is the hidden gem that sits quietly against the ever-increasing plethora of summer festivals. High Sierra is different and the 2007 event was a reminder of all we love about High Sierra.

Over the past two years patrons of the HSMF have had reason to fear. In 2005 and 2006 we watched as police began to invade our little slice of utopia. These were difficult years for many festival goers, and because of this we witnessed a decrease in attendance. This year was different. As troubadour Nathan Moore said after the fest, “We won. We the people have scored a major victory at High Sierra, and this was my favorite year of the festival.” He was talking about how the Mayor and the people of Quincy came to our defense. They stood up and said that what the police were doing was wrong and they simply wouldn’t stand for it. This year I saw two police officers the entire time. I’m sure there were more, but what this meant was that the police were no longer roaming through campsites, looking in tents or harassing folks for simply having fun. In fact, not only was the police presence more than acceptable, there were teams of Quincy residents who would monitor the manner in which police patrolled the area and responded to calls. They would literally follow the police around and keep tabs on them. Yup, score one for the people!

Surprise Me Mr. Davis :: HSMF 2007 :: By Zack Smith
With the overreaching police taken care of festival goers were able to slip back into the four magical days that make up High Sierra. There are so many big festivals with amazing line-ups – from the huge bands and touring beasts of Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza to the jammier 10KLF, Wakarusa, All Good and many others offering more options than ever – but there is nothing like High Sierra. While these larger fests boast big names and more music than anyone could ever see, High Sierra offers something unique. High Sierra is the most relaxed, easiest, fan-friendly event happening today. There is never a rush or a worry. Unlike the big fests (which often carry their own type of stress), if you want to wander off and check out a side stage it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your crew for the day. You aren’t walking a mile away only to be engulfed by the masses; you are simply meandering a few hundred feet down the path. While the biggest festivals offer a stadium sized blowout with anywhere between 20 and 80,000 people in a field, High Sierra allows you to stroll right up to the front of the stage and watch (not just hear) the headliners perform. For many music freaks the High Sierra line-up doesn’t always set off alarms, and to be honest this year’s line-up didn’t excite this writer all that much. Yet, this year, my eighth time attending, was my favorite High Sierra to date. I love Bonnaroo because they pack the talent, and I’ll be back to Tennessee at some point, but what happened at High Sierra this year reminded me why I’ll do everything in my power to never miss another HSMF. High Sierra is about so much more than just the music. As I walked through the festival I kept hearing the words of David Byrne ringing in my head:

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round

Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong

Home is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there

By: Kayceman

Continue reading for more of JamBase’s HSMF 2007 coverage…

By: Kayceman

For those of us at JamBase, High Sierra is a family event. It’s a rare moment where we break free from our computers and share time in the woods. As we’ve done in the past, our coverage this year is broken up amongst several JamBase staffers and longtime writers. We realize not everything is covered (most notably the amazing string bands, from Yonder to Leftover and Thile to McCoury), but we didn’t even try to cover everything. Instead, we took the weekend off and simply followed our ears and let the festival show us where to go. What follows are highlights of High Sierra from your friends at JamBase.


Dave Margulies & The Slip at HSMF By Dave Vann
After an emotional, cathartic Slip set on the Big Meadow stage, featuring rousing renditions of “Airplane Primitive,” “Children of December” “Ohh Belle,” “Soft Machine” and more, High Sierra organizer Dave Margulies took center stage for a touching speech. As the sun dropped behind the mountains Margulies explained how High Sierra has witnessed so many amazing bands over their 17-year history, but the only band to ever play 10 consecutive years is The Slip. He expressed his joy in watching the trio develop from their humble roots into one of the most impressive bands today. “The Slip are the gold thread that runs through the tapestry of High Sierra,” said Margulies, who then asked The Slip if they would come back out for an encore (something that rarely, if ever happens for non-headliners) and help us remember what it was like 10 years ago and show us how they’ve grown. Following the speech the band came back to thunderous applause and launched into a 30 minute encore as good as anything we’d hear all weekend. A little tease of “Cumulus” led into the old school Slip staple “Weight of Solomon.” Reworked to meet current Slip standards, “Solomon” was a perfect way to remember the jammier, youthful band that has grown into a rock & roll powerhouse capable of crafting songs as good as any band in any scene. From “Solomon,” Brad Barr took the lead and devastated the crowd with Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.” The set couldn’t have been better, and Margulies couldn’t have been more right: The Slip is the golden thread that runs through High Sierra.


Surprise Me Mr. Davis in Vaudeville :: By Dave Vann
When people talk of the glorious music from ’60s and ’70s a big part of what they speak so fondly of is the songwriting and the way bands like the Beatles, The Band, Dylan and Young crafted their music. With the advent of Pro Tools and home studios anyone can put out a record and often a great deal of that song craft is left untended, not allowed time to maturate. Surprise Me Mr. Davis (the union of The Slip with Nathan Moore) brings us back to those glory days with songs so perfect they can make us cry, scream and jump with joy. The Slip as a trio is a daring, explosive band with epic peaks and massive valleys. Nathan Moore transforms The Slip into a consistently brilliant Americana rock band capable of conquering any crowd. Much like Dylan recruiting The Band to back him, when The Slip grabbed Nathan Moore the union became a holy force of righteous proportions. The two sets from Mr. Davis (one Vaudeville on Thursday night, and one at Camp Harry on Friday night) were absolute highlights of the weekend.

The official Vaudeville show was one of the strongest outings this band has had. From the opening “Skull and Bones” with SCI/Zilla’s Michael Travis on percussive ladder through the set-closing cover of “19th Nervous Breakdown,” this was one show folks kept talking about all weekend. Tucked inside this magical performance were tearjerkers like “Sleepyhead,” “Summer Of My Fall” and “As Long As There’s One of Us Standing” stacked up against rollicking celebrations like “Rubber Ball,” “Holly Would,” “Everything Must Go” and a cover of the Raconteurs “Intimate Secretary.”

Surprise Me Mr. Davis at Camp Harry
By Scott Galbraith
The following night at Camp Harry was a bit looser but just as fun. As about 200 people set up next to the two RVs and mini-stage that comprised Camp Harry it was Reed Mathis (JFJO, Bobby Previte’s Coalition of the Willing) who reminded me just how special Mr. Davis and High Sierra truly are as he testified his love for the festival explaining how he flew in a day early in hopes of not missing out – Mr. Davis was his reward. The enchanting set began with Nathan Moore pulling heartstrings on “Ambrosia Drunk.” With the help of vocalist Aimee Curl (ThaMuseMeant), Davis cast their spell on anyone who was lucky enough to meander past Camp Harry. With no division between artists and fans, everyone at eye level and only arm’s length away, the intimate experience of witnessing Surprise Me Mr. Davis at Camp Harry was a microcosm of what makes High Sierra so special.

“As Long As There’s One of Us Standing” by Surprise Me Mr. Davis
Love is not some fragile flower
It’s one that breaks the sidewalk just to bloom
Even God said there is no higher power
Than the lily or the love inside of you
So if you’re out there looking for answers
Then you must know that you are the light in someone’s dark


Patterson Hood – Drive-By Truckers :: By S. Weiand
The highly-coveted last slot on Friday night’s Main Stage marked the inaugural High Sierra performance for the Drive-By Truckers. The Truckers are one of the most engaging live acts around, and they know how to grab hold of a crowd. Led by Patterson Hood, the rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse built their set with patience, keeping the tempos slow and showing incredible restraint. Of particular note was how they crept through “Sink Hole,” refusing to let the song explode, tying it down like a caged beast. With young gunslinger Jason Isbell off on his own it was wonderful to see the legendary keyboardist Spooner Oldham and longtime friend John Neff (guitar and pedal steel) rise to the occasion, creating new wrinkles in the massive Truckers attack. When it was all said and done, this was by far the hardest rocking set to ever hit a High Sierra stage.

Bands don’t achieve legendary status for nothing, and watching the Truckers turn the gears and lay down the hammer from slow-burning patience to all out assault was head-splitting. The whole set was building towards the final moments. The subtle self-control exhibited by the band in the early stages was countered by the explosive ending. “Let There Be Rock” was an epic journey with Hood in prime storytelling form. But, it was the final 20 minutes of their set that was as good as anything I’ve heard this year. The dynamic tandem of “Buttholeville” and Bruce Springsteen “State Trooper” was creepy, inspired and mind-boggling. Hood was a man possessed. He laid down the guitar and leapt into Springsteen’s character behind the wheel with no license, no registration and that State Trooper riding behind. Hood is one of the best storytellers alive, and when he grabs hold of a tale like this time stands still. These final moments of Hood leading the Truckers to the end of their High Sierra set were pure magic and something I shall never forget.

Continue reading for more… By: SuperDee


Page McConnell :: By S. Weiand
High Sierra welcomed Page McConnell and crew to the festival this year for a Sunday evening set on the main stage. Smiles were everywhere on stage and off as the band ran through the repertoire from McConnell ‘s new album. While this may not be the most compelling music ever performed, it is well crafted, and it’s just wonderful to see McConnell writing and performing music again.

With such an adored character onsite, High Sierra wisely asked McConnell to conduct one of the festival’s signature playshops. He gave a warm, shy smile to those assembled for this special show. He twinkled on the keys for a moment and said, “Any questions?” Everyone laughed and exhaled as he began to play Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Tears flowed as his sweet voice rang through the hall. During the Q&A portions, McConnell gave us insight on some of the practicing processes with Phish including something they called “filling the hey hole” – a round robin improvisational technique they made up to practice their musical communication (aka JAMMING). To the crowd’s delight, he granted requests to play old “phavorites” like “Strange Design” and the outro to “Squirming Coil.” A brick wall could not hold the memories from rushing back. McConnell himself got a little choked up as he sang “Velvet Sea,” which somehow validated our own mixed emotions. One audience member dared to ask how he felt about the topic of Phish ever getting back together. A hush fell as everyone in the room stared at Page. Then, the ever-self-regulating High Sierra crowd deemed that question null and void by booing in the questioner’s general direction and then quickly cheering at Page to play another song. At a place like High Sierra, it is overwhelmingly evident that the present moment is all that we have and it is worthy of being cherished for what it is. There’s hope for you yet, Page McConnell.


The Disco Biscuits – Jon Gutwillig :: By S. Galbraith
The Disco Biscuits arrived at High Sierra in style on the tail end of their D.U.M.B. tour with Umphrey’s McGee. After the festival organizers invited the Biscuits to come to Quincy a few years ago they have been a welcomed act ever since. The guys came to play two prime spots – Saturday night late night at the Funk’n’Jam House and closing the Big Meadow stage on Sunday night. It’s usually the wee hours of the morning where the Biscuits shine but I don’t believe this was the case at High Sierra in 2007. Featuring more of their newer, instrumental, trancey pieces like “Orch Theme” and “Strobelights and Martinis,” the show seemed to meander in and out of the same jam. Bassist Marc Brownstein later described it as more of a “Tractorbeam” show – the band’s moniker when they play an all-instrumental show akin to a DJ club set. While the dance party was certainly on, call me a traditionalist but I like my Biscuits to rock! This is what we got on Sunday night with a “Bazaar Escape” sandwich filled with delicious bits of “Little Betty Boop” and “Aceetobee.” A great Disco Biscuits show makes you feel like you’ve won some awesome prize, and that’s how we felt as the band played “A Story of the World.” With an old school crowd bouncing in the front row, the haze was gone and our rock band was here delivering a powerful set to close this corner of the fest.


Hot 8 Brass Band :: HSMF :: By Z. Smith
As always, there was a strong contingent of artists from New Orleans on the High Sierra line-up. The love for the Crescent City always shines throughout the fairgrounds in the form of brass and that unmistakable drumbeat. This year, NOLA seekers could rock with Galactic on the main stage Thursday night or with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk late night set in the Vaudeville Tent. Anders Osborne is no stranger to High Sierra and this year delivered an emphatic set at the Big Meadow stage with special guest SCI’s Kyle Hollingsworth on keys. He soulfully sang his songs about post-Katrina New Orleans, which can make your heart just want to jump out of your chest. However, the real mayhem went down Sunday afternoon set in the Vaudeville Tent with the Hot 8 Brass Band. It was as if a bat signal was sent up into the sky for anyone who wanted to be transported to the Dirty Coast for an hour. Dust and sweat filled the air as folks were “poppin’ gators” and furiously rockin’ with the Hot 8. High Sierra and Jazz Fest are two of the greatest places in the universe, and having their flavors run together is about as close as one can come to achieving perfect bliss. Next year, a second line parade?

Honorable Mentions:

  • Phish recreators the Phix– the first ever tribute band at High Sierra apparently – and their note-for-note version of “Divided Sky”
  • JJ Grey & MOFRO‘s scorching main stage set
  • Watching the aboriginal flag flap in the wind as Xavier Rudd played the didgeridoo
  • Reed Mathis evolving into a guitar god
  • The ever-evolving cast of characters and side projects at Camp Harry
  • Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, Marc Friedman, and forevermore, Nathan Moore

    Continue reading for more…

    By: Andy Gadiel


    TLG with Reed Mathis :: By Dave Vann
    Tea Leaf Green began their Quincy conquests just over half a decade ago during a refreshing daytime slot on the festival’s Showcase Stage (listen here). The band has since traveled to the fairground’s Vaudeville tent, Grandstand Stage, several late night performances and even played atop an RV. It all came full circle this year, bringing them back home to the Big Meadow for the coveted Saturday night headlining slot.

    As the sun went down on July 7, the grueling heat subsided and the moon rose above the Plumas fairgrounds while the clock struck half past nine and Tea Leaf Green took the stage. Launching into the poignant “If It Wasn’t For The Money,” they made their presence known. The evening quickly shined with an epic tint as the band soared through their original repertoire of body shaking rock tunes and soulful, heartfelt ballads. The set hit an early peak with the “Garden Pt 2,” which segued into its companion, “The Garden Pt 1” before settling into the newer fan favorite “Red Ribbons.”

    TLG with Brad Barr :: By Dave Vann
    ALO‘s Dan Lebowitz would be the first of several friendly guests to grace the stage, adding slide guitar to the dark and driving “Devil’s Pay.” JFJO‘s Reed Mathis donned a guitar for the ripping “Hot Dog” and Hot Buttered Rum‘s Aaron Redner added fabulous fiddle to a good time “Bastard Brother.” The Slip‘s Brad Barr closed out a triumphant “This Is Your Life” set on the powerful instrumental “Franz Hanzerbeak,” a nod to the TLG’s bassist Ben Chambers.

    Tea Leaf Green rounded out their Big Meadow appearance with the now classic sing-a-long “The Garden Pt 3,” thus completing the song cycle and rejoicing in the line, “Just like me, just like we’re supposed to be.”

    Happy Birthday Plate!

    Listen to Saturday night: here.
    Listen to Sunday night: here.

    Continue reading for more… By: Court Scott


    Coalition of the Willing :: HSMF 2007 :: By Zack Smith
    Less serious or controlled than either the album or previous sets I’d heard, Bobby Previte’s Coalition of the Willing‘s Saturday afternoon set at the Vaudeville Tent was full of improvisation and measured interaction. The Coalition’s original line-up featured Previte and Skerik as well as Charlie Hunter and Marco Benevento, but it should not be assumed that the Vaudeville’s show was the second string. This newer incarnation featured Skerik‘s saxophonics, Hammond organist Brian Coogan (Maelstrom Trio), bassist-guitarist Reed Mathis(JFJO) and Previte‘s ultra-technical drumming. Previte is recognized for making avant-garde, yet melodic, intelligent music. The substantial, shade-seeking crowd was treated to a tasteful, anthem-y keys and sax tempered set countered by tribal basslines. Two thirds of the way through a Mathis-lead six-string guitar jam morphed into a punk-inspired round with Coogan jumping up to tweak knobs, eliciting plinky, old school computer noises while Skerik’s low honk punctuated the beat, buckling and lunging while Previte’s machine gun fills set the panicked pace. Throughout, Previte was generous in his willingness to step back and let the others take the lead, simply folding his arms and watching, which was in contrast to the control I’ve heard him exert in the past. His drumming was peppered with bouts of frantic energy, but was generally more laidback. When the Coalition caught a groove, they harnessed it, and it was the perfect ride for the hot festival afternoon.

    Mathis & Skerik CofW :: HSMF 2007
    By Zack Smith
    Bassist Reed Mathis experienced some trouble with a finicky amp, and in the five or so minutes it took for the tech guys to work it out Skerik and Coogan sparred with one another, swapping licks and trying to out-weird one another. Within their interaction, I couldn’t help but feel at times the audience was on the outside of an inside joke, though mostly I think they were just covering new ground. Mathis is a pleasure to hear and watch, flirting with his bass and basking in his sound with a smile of genuine intrigue. When he picked up a guitar the metal was strong with this one. He absolutely ripped it, propelling heated improvisation into something with a definite progressive rock feel and structure. The resonance fit quite well with Skerik’s tweaks and squonks, better attuned than Hunter’s warmer jazz feel would have been, and the bobbing crowd reciprocated in kind.

    The band’s second set, Sunday on the Shady Grove Stage, was a bit freer – more casual and formless. That’s generally the pattern for bands with more than one daytime set – first time for the masses, second time for the fans. I enjoyed this set a bit more, but am at a loss to explain exactly why. It was more spacey, kind of out-there and less musically dense, and that palpable free experimentation is appealing to me. And I love checking out people’s reactions to Skerik’s sci-fi saxophonics. Late in the set, he knelt down in front of his rig and started whispering and clicking into his sax’s microphone. It sounded like Klingon pillow talk, and as he created loops and feedback he bestowed upon the intrigued, excited fans a massive Skerection. Mathis switched between guitar and bass with Coogan playing off both he and Skerik. Previte played a bit more aggressively, asserting that he and The Coalition of the Willing are a technically strong band comprised of consummate, curious musicians capable of reading the crowd and playing just what’s desired.


    Les Claypool :: HSMF :: By J. Rategan
    Many people assert that Claypool is best in a smaller club where you can get up close and personal, but after experiencing the headlining slot at the Grandstand Stage Saturday night, I honestly could go either way. While clubs allow for an intimacy and more egalitarian viewing, the Grandstand Stage offered a fired up light show and sonic magnitude that had the earthworms boogieing. Playing old and new tunes, Claypool and his Fancy band (Skerik – sax, Gabby La La – sitar and Theremin, Mike Dillon – percussion, and Paulo Baldi – drums) delivered an aggressive, gut-thumping set. Hanging on the back curtain, flanking the band, were twin portraits of a bug-eyed man from the cover of Claypool’s new live concert DVD, Fancy, whose bulging, freakish eyes added their own dimension to the show.

    The two-hour set featured a number of tunes in high rotation, such as “Long In The Tooth,” popular closer “D’s Diner” and several from 2006’s Of Whales and Woe, which are prominently featured on the Fancy DVD. The jammed out, tease-heavy set included Primus‘ “Tommy the Cat” during “One Better,” “Southbound Pachyderm” during staple “David Makalaster,” and other interesting sandwiched tracks. One of the high points of the show was the drum break. Primal by nature, Baldi and Dillon’s twin drum solo had the crowd teetering on an orgy with their beats, and with the addition of Garaj Mahal‘s Alan Hertz I wouldn’t at all be surprised if children were conceived during this section. Though I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about multi-instrumentalist Gabby La La, she has stepped up and nurtured an edgier, more blistering sitar sound which rounded out the palate well.

    Claypool & McFadden :: HSMF :: By Dave Vann
    Claypool’s set at the High Sierra Music Hall late Sunday night was wildly different than the Grandstand Stage, not only in scale but also in vibe and setlist. Less traveled tunes like “Precipitation” and fitting set-closer “Riddles Are Abound Tonight” were searing testaments to the Fancy band’s fine-tuned machinery. The crowd was deeply into it with eyes and ears arched forward. A cover of the English band Madness’ “One Step Beyond” was a danceable natural with its earthy ska rhythm and horn parts. San Francisco guitarist Eric McFadden (of opener the Eric McFadden Trio) added an edge to the fray on King Crimson’s “Thela Hun Ginjeet.” The heaviest, most aggressive groove appeared on the encore, “Whamola,” with the Colonel leaning into the crowd and cranking away on the bass-like instrument that gives the song its name. It’s thundering, elastic sound got everybody worked up a state of barely controlled chaos. Sadly, the show ended after only two hours. Claypool and company are a damned good time – in a club or a larger setting. There is nothing subtle about their unique sounds or obvious desire to get the crowd off. Though the sets may have been shorter than I’d like, I would never assert that they don’t pack them tight and full of flavor.

    Continue reading for JamBase HSMF Top 3…

    Marc Brownstein – The Disco Biscuits

    Leftover Salmon :: HSMF :: By S. Weiand
    1. Kai Eckhart with the New Mastersounds. Disgusting and inspiring. Totally influenced my playing at our outdoor set.
    2. Discovering a new jam for “Bazaar Escape” after playing the song for eight years.
    3. Hanging with the JamBase crew at Camp Harry and watching Harry Happen.

    Nathan Moore – Surprise Me Mr. Davis/ThaMuseMeant

    1. Brett Dennen. I listened to him for the first time on the way to High Sierra and then I was blown away by his Big Meadow show. Such comforting and fun music.
    2. Leftover Salmon and Chris Thile. I had no idea! I mean sure, I’d seen them both many times, but I had no idea they were about to shoot the moon. The LOS set Sunday night was just plain kick ass. And Mr. Thile was the man all weekend. I like the left he’s taking.
    3. Aimee Curl (ThaMuseMeant). I know how nervous she was for this one and I was so proud of her. She sounded great and she did one of her own songs! It made me happy to watch her rise to the occasion.

    Reed Mathis – Coalition of Willing/JFJO

    Reed Mathis :: HSMF :: By Z. Smith
    1. Surprise Me Mr. Davis at Camp Harry. What a band! Nathan Moore captivates like no other performer, and I am inexplicably still surprised by the members of The Slip even after all these years of worshiping them.
    2. Zack Smith taking portraits against the RV, commenting insightfully on his environment in a Kesey-esque fashion and bubbling over with inspiration and ideas, and crippling me with continuous laughter. He was truly in rare form.
    3. Sitting in on guitar with Tea Leaf Green. Definitely the high point of the event for me. I wasn’t super familiar with their music, and Dan Lebowitz had just brought us all to our tippi-toes with a very inspired lap steel sit-in, and then it was my turn. It’s hard to explain what happened. All I know is I took a deep breath and we made some real music. I mean, to me, it was an incredible moment of beauty. They are a fantastic band, and I was honored by their request to play with them. They definitely showed me a thing or two. Josh, you are the man!

    Patterson Hood – Drive-By Truckers

    First I have to say forgive me, but I spent all day with a terrible stomach ache, so I didn’t exactly get out there and twirl around in the heat.

    1. Finding a fairly decent and not too foul port-o-let to dump in.
    2. The nice catering lady who fixed me a plate “for later.”
    3. The bouncers dragging that naked guy out of the pit. “If you have a dick, leave your pants on.”

    Josh Clark – Tea Leaf Green

    Garaj Mahal :: HSMF :: By S. Weiand
    1. All the collaborations TLG was blessed to be a part of.
    2. Kickball!!!!!
    3. Bearing witness to the growth of the High Sierra musical and social community, and the sense of pride that comes with being a small part of it.

    Eric McFadden

    1. Les Claypool and Co. was phenomenal at the late night show. Had a great time playing and listening.
    2. Hearing Mavis Staples from our camp and hanging in the shade with my peeps.
    3. Doing the slide guitar clinic with Papa Mali and Tony Furtado was great fun and a great learning experience.

    Eddie Roberts – New Mastersounds

    Eddie Roberts at Camp Harry by Dave Vann
    1. Sunday night at Camp Harry playing with Roughneck (my other band). I don’t think I’ve ever hit my tambourine as hard as I did that night. It was an incredible way to end the weekend.
    2. Arriving to Camp Happiness. Being greeted by all of our Bay Area friends. There was gear set up for us to play. Tents were popped for us to sleep in. And there was plenty of food and alcohol to be had. What more could we ask for? Ahhhh…High Sierra!
    3. Scaling the fence at 7 a.m. trying to make our way to the Guitar Hero bus for Sunday morning Bloody Marys. Once we made it over the fence, the bus was locked. So, instead, we went and watched the kickball game, which was something we hadn’t seen or played before. It was quite an interesting morning.

    Ryan Montbleau

    1. Jake Shimabukuro. Man, I haven’t seen anyone master an instrument like that since Edgar Meyer on his bass. Absolutely amazing. On a uke.
    2. Brett Dennen. Les Claypool blew my face off and Toubab Krewe took me to another place, but this was the first time I’d seen Brett and singer-songwriters unite! Great vibe, great message.
    3. The complete stranger who, after a few extremely kind words, started making out with me out of the blue. She was hot! That was definitely a first.

    Brett Dennen :: HSMF :: By S. Weiand
    Fred Torphy – White Thighs/Fred Torphy Band

    1. Impromptu sunrise sing-a-long set with Brad Barr and Nathan Moore near a giant Twister game on Saturday morning.
    2. Befriending the New Mastersounds crew.
    3. Camp Harry.

    Debbie Crockett – HSMF Organizer

    1. Best Use of Rider Liquor in a Grandstand Stage Setting: Drive-By Truckers, a band who has consistently been on my line-up wish list, swilling from their 1.75 of Jack like they meant it. Always one to embrace a theme, I can happily say that I did not at that point fall into the category of “Women Without Whiskey.”
    2. Best “Aging Former Phish Nerd” Moment: Eric and I comparing, albeit a little sheepishly, simultaneous goose bumps during Page’s solo rendition of “Wading In The Velvet Sea” during his Sunday afternoon playshop. The fact that Page was gracious and a pleasure to work with only made it sweeter.
    3. Sappiest “Man (sniffle) I Love You Guys” Moment: Drifting off to sleep at some point during the wee hours of Sunday morning next to my radio (ahem, yes, I realize that sounds rather pathetic), listening to our overnight crew so effectively holding it down and keeping the vibe steady during the unique and dynamic force that is the late night scene. An accolade that could similarly extend to any of our crews. Aw, shucks…

    Deb gets four moments because she helps run the fest!

    4. Returning home. Connecting with dear friends. Listening to them tell me what an amazing experience they had. Experiencing the festival through their eyes and knowing that the sentiment is sincere. Remembering in that instant exactly why I do this.

    Zack Smith – Photographer/Rotary Downs

    Barr, Smith, Moore :: HSMF :: By SuperDee
    1. All that is, and all that will and shall be, forever the redonculusness and good times of Camp Harry. Amen. Go forth and spread the gospel of Harry.
    2. Bobby Previte, Reed Mathis, Skerik and Brian Coogan freaking out, and flipping the wigs of many a festgoer.
    3. Finally getting to play a late night Camp Harry set with Brad Barr and Nathan Moore. If anyone has video, please send it because I don’t remember it. “Little Red Corvette” is about the only thing that sticks out. Oh wait, “Stand By Me” and “Snowed In” (with Aimee Curl!).

    Dave Vann – Photographer

    1. The Drive-By Truckers Main Stage Set – The whole show was amazing and they definitely held their own as headliners. Towards the end of the set I was taking photos of the band on the speaker stacks directly in front of the band when Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood walked out on to the stacks for solo’s – definitely a rock & roll moment I won’t soon forget.
    2. Camp Harry Late Night’s – I was lucky enough to camp with Camp Harry this year and every night we had our own late night sets with Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Eddie Roberts’ Roughneck, impromptu jams with members of The Slip, ALO, Kanvas and the White Thighs (shredding Fred Torphy).
    3. Page Playshop – The unannounced intimate playshop that Page McConnell gave on Sunday afternoon was truly amazing. Page told stories of writing and performing with Phish, played some beautiful songs, and answered some (sometimes silly) questions from fans. This kind of event is what makes High Sierra truly unique among festivals.

    Susan J. Weiand – Photographer

    Dumpstaphunk :: HSMF :: By Susan J. Weiand
    1. MC Tim Lynch leading the whole audience to yell “Festivaaaal!” right before the Leftover Salmon encore on the Grandstand.
    2. Dumpstaphunk going off in the Vaudeville and Tony Hall channeling his best James Brown and jumping up onto the speaker stack.
    3. Witnessing the huge Twister game played at dawn on Saturday morning, with some very twisted and hilarious participants.

    Ted Kartzman – Rhapsody.com

    1. The Slip outdoor Big Meadow set, the boys clad all in yellow, sun setting on their ten year run. “I swear I’ll join you in the sun.” Man, they sounded great. “So brand new, yet tired and broken down. But the forest is big, that’s why we need rangers.” Honestly, the most emotional I’ve ever been at the High Sierra. Margu’s speech about the boys had to set off the “Cumulus” fireworks and the waterworks. Lookin’ around, nothin’ but family, The Slip bring it all together for so many of us. For real, the soundtrack to our lives.
    2. Stumbling back to my camp after Bisco late night was too hot to handle. Can’t dance with Lauren D and Benjy Eisen for more than ten minutes without needing a respite. Figured I’d make a whiskey drink and see who was up, and I find Brad Barr on bass, Nathan Moore on keys and Rotary Downs‘ Zack Smith on drums doing the full slow grind to “Little Red Corvette.” Prince never sounded so fresh and dirty. Tasty!
    3. The anticipation before the SMMD set, everyone packed in there wanting the same thing, and when The Slip can be Nathan’s band, it’s the best backing band since The Band. The magic is just there. Bradford Barr turned into Jacky White Jr. during the set, bending over backwards to see the crowd while axe-shredding. The kid is possessed. Quite happy to watch the insanity unfold and sing “I …I…I opened the door!” at the top of my lungs.

    Mike Greenhaus – Relix

    1. Trying not to cry during Page’s Playshop set (and almost succeeding).
    2. Riding the rail at a nine-nine (that’s ’99) Bisco show at High Sierra ’07.
    3. “Airplane/Primitive.”

    Cole Boyle – Relix

    HSMF 2007 by Scott Galbraith
    1. “Make Friends:” A slogan popularized by the good people at Merchata. At High Sierra, “Make Friends” became a call to action and the festival attendees rose to the occasion. I will go back to Quincy year after year if only to be a part of such an inviting, warm and collectively positive group of people. It was impossible to go to bed each night, as there was always good music to see, someone to skip across the campgrounds with, or something ridiculously fun to do. CAMP HARRY – I loved spilling the beans with you til dawn. Camp S*itF*ck – ditto.
    2. Nathan Moore/Surprise Me Mr. Davis/The Slip/ThaMuseMeant: Any and all combinations involving any of these musicians was pretty much EPIC. You just don’t see musicians exercising a craft like that everyday. Nathan Moore + The Slip = PURE GENIUS.
    3. THREE WORDS: Page McConnell’s Playshop. I would try to say more, but I get chills just thinking about it.

    Adam Alperowicz – Relix

    1. Returning my #2 pencil drawing friend Travoltordo to my brother from the other coast Tanner during ALO late night.
    2. Watching the Disco Biscuits play a great festival set in front of a small crowd just after sunset and getting down with my boys.
    3. Roaming grounds aimlessly on trips between the Relix booth, Camp Harry and Camp Sh*t F*ck, taking in a festival unlike any other I’ve ever been to. Seeing people making friends everywhere they went, doing their thing in peace and partying like rockstars, while still keeping everything safe, fun, and positive.

    Court Scott – JamBase Scribe

    Jake Shimabukuro :: HSMF :: By Weiand
    1. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk – Rollicking and punchy. The Vaudeville tent was going off so hard that I half expected the tent structure, like in a cartoon sequence, to sprout legs and start gigging along to the music inside.
    2. The Disco Biscuit’s evening set at the Big Meadow stage was wicked fun – more accessible than their late night set, easier to find and settle into a groove. A Bisco-loving friend asserts that it was one of the best he’s ever heard and I don’t doubt it.
    3. Ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro is understated but wonderful. He’s taken a traditional instrument of his native Hawaii and figured out a way to avail it to us. I especially liked the “Ave Maria” – perfect for getting going on a Saturday.

    SuperDee – JamBase

    1. Page McConnell performing “Tiny Dancer” in his solo playshop. Pass the tissues.
    2. Dancing with NOLA friends to the Hot 8 Brass Band. Holla!
    3. Brad Barr channeling Russell Hammond (aka the epitome of the rock guitar player with mystique) during the Surprise Me Mr. Davis Thursday night set.

    Andrew Warren – JamBase

    Del McCoury Band HSMF 2007 by Dave Vann
    1. The epic and “completely mental” game of HORSE with Dan K at the Camp Harry Annex. The level was raised and victory assured when the East Brunswick native pulled out the elusive “Up through the Hoop” trick and left the poor Wellesley boy on the deck. “Totally decent, I must say.”
    2. Ah the Antelope Complex fire. What a sight it was! I was so hung up on it that several people had the gall to snap and tell me “Enough about the Fire!” I like fires, sorry.
    3. Surprising Andy Gadiel with his very own golf cart for the weekend. His stellar introductions at the Big Meadow Stage were even breezier and more relaxed knowing he could jet off to basket weaving afterwards and not miss a single kudzu vine, ribbed weave moment! Thanks for the quilt basket!

    Tanner Wyer – JamBase

    Page McConnell :: HSMF :: By S. Galbraith
    1. Brad Barr as a whole. From the solo during “Heartbreaker,” killing it with Tea Leaf Green, Surprise Me Mr. Davis all over the place, capping off with a sunrise acoustic sing-a-long of “Before You Were Born” and other favorites by the giant game of Twister. I always seemed to be taken to that place that High Sierra is known for when B Barr was involved.
    2. Getting Trav back.
    3. All the other things that I can’t fit into a top three. High Sierra – thanks for continuing to step it up.

    Patty Kaufman – JamBase

    1. Biscuits Big Meadow set – loved the old school set list.
    2. The Slip playing “Heartbreaker.”
    3. Seeing Page up close and personal.

    Mason Blake – JamBase

    Brad Barr :: HSMF 2007 by Dave Vann
    1. Surprise Me Mr. Davis at Camp Harry. EPIC!
    2. Carolyn Wonderland. Killer blues guitar player and singer, extremely solid band.
    3. Martin Sexton at the Grandstand.

    Andy Gadiel – JamBase

    1. Surprise Me Harry.
    2. Brad Barr sitting in with Tea Leaf Green.
    3. Chris Thile picking in the flower garden.

    Aaron Kayce (aka Kayceman) – JamBase

    1. Remembering what it is that makes High Sierra so incredibly special.
    2. Watching Brad Barr destroy any guitar he held throughout the weekend.
    3. Drive-By Truckers doing “State Trooper.”

    Use the Comments Section to tell us about YOUR Top 3 HSMF Moments…

    JamBase | California
    Go See Live Music!

    Pleas continue reading for a memorial piece for Sarah Venning…

    Sarah Ann Venning (July 6, 1981 – July 4, 2007)

    Sarah Ann Venning
    The sunny skies at High Sierra were more beautiful than ever this year because of Sarah Venning’s spirit. Sarah died tragically in a car accident on the morning of July 4th after swerving to avoid a deer. She was known for being a healer, massage therapist, doula and friend among many other specialties that most of us could barely imagine understanding at such a young age. Her High Sierra roots were deep, having organized the artist’s hospitality massage tent for several years.

    Sarah was the type of person who made each of her friends feel like they were her best friend. No matter how busy she was, Sarah always found time to stay connected and involved in the lives of those who touched her.

    Our lives are blessed by each person we love, and we have the power to enrich the lives of others. May her memory remind us of the importance of taking an active role in nurturing our relationships, old and new. Though she will be missed, let us celebrate her life and realized that no matter what else may be going on in the world, each day is as much of a miracle and blessing as the day each of us were born.

    -Kacie Stillings