4 Ways High Sierra Keeps the "Summer of Love" Spirit AliveArticle by: Emily Ward|@_drawylime
Fri July 07, 2017 | 12:40 PM
In 1967, the Summer of Love marked the unofficial birth of the countercultural movement in the United States, and it all started with a festival. Monterey Pop brought thousands to Northern California for historical sets from Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin; the buzz set in and the rest was history. Now, fifty years later, Monterey Pop returned for a one-time anniversary event last month, and we're reliving those heady countercultural days all over again. However, for the dedicated fans of High Sierra Music Festival, those days have never seen the rearview mirror. If you're a product of that time longing to drop out again, or a young thing looking for a hit of that rose-colored energy, High Sierra is the unpretentious shredfest you need.
If the Summer of Love was marked by a desire to connect, a love for music, and a nonconformist energy, High Sierra has been carrying that torch for 27 years. Yes, people sport tie-dyed clothing, glassy eyes, and bare feet, but the comparisons stretch beyond. Generations young and old blend in and bliss out, the scene is laid back, and all is tied together with an iron strong community bond. Peace, love and jam bands.
Here are 4 ways that High Sierra embodies those Summer of Love vibes.
Unpretentious Friendly Faces
Much like Monterey Pop, High Sierra's community maintains itself through word of mouth. That keeps the scene inclusive, and whether you're hanging in one of the tight-knit campgrounds (Shady Grove, what up!), catching some bluegrass in the shade at the Vaudeville Tent, or waiting in line for "Frickles ," everyone is just so damn friendly. That extends to local Quincy residents, who are consistently helpful, kind, and patient despite their small town being overrun by hippies. After leaving a local coffee shop, I accidentally backed my car up against a trailer rack and got stuck. Two women and one man immediately rushed over to help, and I was free in two minutes. This was after a morning full of people offering to help pull my overloaded wagon, offering me beer and giving me big smiles at the grocery store.
Music is King
Generations Coming Together
Impossible is talking about either of these events without a psychedelia shout-out. High Sierra's unique dose goes down in the funk-meets-folk-meets-acid bluegrass-meets-rock-meets-jazz (ish) musical lineup, via festival posters, handpainted artwork, overall production style and, yes, the attendees' choice of clothing. Much like what we saw in 1960s San Francisco, explosive color runs rampant on those Plumas County Fairgrounds, and if you were wearing all black (like me), you'd be easy to spot in a sea of tie-dye. You'd also be brutally hot and wishing you were in lighter, brighter colors (like me). High Sierra runs daily costume themes, and Sunday starred "Summer of Love"- related attire.
The central chill zone of the festival, "The Lawn"/" The Meadows"/"whatever you'd like to call it" goes from daytime low-key groove spot to nighttime psychedelic wonderland. Trees circle the field, and trippy light projections bounce from branch to branch. Hula hoops patiently wait for willing booty shakers, the neon outlines of silent disco headphones bop erratically, and yes, tie-dye is out en masse. Hammocks, slacklines, and those legendary morning kickball games await the sunrise crowd.
Peace, love and jam bands. We'll see you next year, HSMF.