High Sierra Music Festival is located in Plumas County, California among rugged canyons, clear lakes, grassy meadows, streams, pine forests, and star filled skies. The location in the northeastern Sierra Nevada Mountains to be exact, was a scenic 6-hour drive for us from Santa Clara. Our two friends from New Jersey, Chris and Josh, joined the gypsy wagon for the weekend with excitement for our first West Coast festival.
This festival has so much to offer for all ages. There are a ton of family oriented activities and performances, yoga and movement classes, great food and drinks, morning kickball games, and late night shows. Basically everything you need to entertain yourself for as long as you make it your happy home.
We could barely sleep we were so excited. Some of our favorite things combined into one: music, sunshine, mountains, and volunteering. We woke up bright and early on Thursday, July 2nd to meet, Ken, our supervisor. The only shifts he was offering us for our job parking cars, was from 5 am-1 pm on Friday and Saturday. He would also have to split us all up. When he saw our faces, he grabbed his radio and connected with Annette, the supervisor at Gate 1. He sent us down to her at Shady Grove and Family Camping. This area was radiating with good vibes from the second we pulled in. We met Annette who allowed us to park the van for free in car camping (this is usually over $100).
Josh and Chris stayed up front to help park while Mel and I hopped on a golf cart to the shaded area in the back to help out. Bobby, the supervisor in our area, assigned us the task of making sure everyone stayed out of the fire lanes. We were given vests and flags while our new coworker “Beemer” told us to wait for the mad dash. As soon as the gates open at 8:30 a.m. people came running in claiming spots and throwing down tarps to stake their claim. We were luckily already parked under a tree so even though we weren’t set up, we at least had some room reserved. Over the next few hours, we directed people, kept cars moving slowly, and made new friends.
Everyone was so excited to be here and wanted to share their happiness. When our area started to fill up, we snuck over to our car and popped up our tents and hammock. Our shift was supposed to be eight hours but by noon our lot was full and Bobby said, “Go have fun!” We were especially thankful because it was 100 degrees out. Thank god for the shade the trees provide.
After ice cold showers, we headed over to the Vaudeville stage for our first band, Brothers Comatose, who we just started to fall in love with on this trip. We met up with one of our other old friends from New Jersey who lives on the West Coast and was in charge of some of the beautiful artwork throughout the festival. We also met up with a family friend who we never met but heard was driving up from Santa Clara as well. The rest of the day was consumed with good music, laughter, dancing, and meeting some wonderful people. Everyone at this festival was so kind and giving. We were all there for the same reason and it showed. Even down to the security that only asks for a smile as you walk through the main gate. We ended the night with one of our favorite bands “The String Cheese Incident.” We were in complete bliss.
When we woke up the next day, we checked in with Annette and Bobby for our last shift but they didn’t need anymore help. We couldn’t believe we just got into a festival for four days for only working five hours with two of our good friends. We promised to keep checking back. We were feeling the karma the full moon was shining down on us!
We thoroughly enjoyed the next three days of the celebration for July 4th. The vibe was like no other festival we have been to. The music from some of our favorite bands was magical, the discovery of new bands rocked our souls, and the people we met will be forever friends.
The memories from this weekend brought nothing but smiles to our faces as we sat along the beautiful Feather River a few miles from the site on Monday.
As we drove away towards Lake Tahoe, we were so grateful we were able to keep people safe and spread our love. As Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead said this weekend at their last show “Be Kind.” Kindness makes all the difference.