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Festival Beat

Published: 2006/06/13
by Mike Greenhaus

5 Questions: High Sierra Music Festival

The High Sierra Music Festival will once again return to Quincy, CA Independence Day weekend. Scheduled to take place from June 29-July 2, the multi-day gathering will boast sets from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, My Morning Jacket, Nickel Creek, the Greyboy Allstars, Keller Williams and Son Volt, among many others. The veteran festival will also offer a number of intriguing late-night acts, ranging from Hot Buttered Rum to the Disco Biscuits to an encore appearance from My Morning Jacket. Here are four questions with the festival’s Rebecca Yudenfreund

Do you have a favorite festival memory?

My personal favorite festival memories include: String Cheese calling me up to the stage and singing happy birthday to me and toasting me with tequila shots on my 30th birthday in the late night tent in Bear Valley; watching Hugh Masekela while the sun was setting over Quincy; the infamous “Sam (Bush) and Salmon” late night tent featuring other guests such as Theresa Andersson and Tony Furtado; the late great Michael Hedges set at Bear Valley, 1997; an incredible set by Steve Winwood in 2003; the Bela Fleck/Trilok Gurtu playshop, 2001, and in general watching the festival “grow up” over the years, and seeing a new generation of festival-goers literally get raised at High Sierra.

What performance are you personally most excited to see?

This year, my personal picks are Nickel Creek and My Morning Jacket as well as Chris Berry and Panjea, Emeline Michel, and Peter Apfelbaum and the NY Hieroglyphics to name a few.

Do you have any tips for fans?

The most hectic part of the festival is getting in and getting settled. We try our best to make this as smooth and equitable for everyone. Being patient and having a good attitude really helps the whole process. Just know that it’ll all work out and you will have a great time. Also, if you have late night tickets at will call, no need to get them right when you first get there. Wait a few hours for the line to die down, and you will be able to pick up your tickets later in the afternoon and evening with no problem at all. As always, bring a portable radio to tune into Grizzly Radio.

How has High Sierra grown or changed over the years?

The festival has evolved and changed in many ways. Size-wise, we’ve been pretty stable the last few years, but the number of kids has exploded the last few years. We continually adjust to the ever-increasing kid population by adding more children’s programming. I’ve also noticed that the past few years have seen an increase in festival-goer participation whether it’s in the daily parades, helping out with some of the wonderful ambiance going to town decking out a campsite, or dressing up fancy and funky at night, the festival goers have really taken ownership of their experience and become a part of the entertainment and ambiance. It’s a great thing to experience. Above all, I think the vibe at High Sierra is so intimate and family-like. The folks that attend are like one big family that looks out for each other and are extremely respectful. I might be biased, but I think we have the best festival goers in the world for that reason.

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