High Sierra Music Festival | Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Courtesy Dave Vann

High Sierra Music Festival is one of the hottest festivals in the area. The eclectic music extravaganza is celebrating its 19th year from July 4 to 7 in Quincy. The festival within a festival offers a wide variety of musical genres and crossover genres. Under the High Sierra umbrella there is funk, blues, jazz, Americana, jam, jamtronic — something for everyone.


Each year there is a band contest for new, emerging talents and the winners get to perform at the festival. This year’s winner is Oakland band More Fatter; runner-up singer/songwriter is Eric Long. Both bring something new to the festival.

July 4-7 | Plumas County Fairgrounds | Quincy

What’s borrowed is The Nth Power, a band that will be playing Marvin Gay tribute. Nikki Glaspie, the band’s drummer, originally hails from the East Coast and currently lives in Austin, Texas. She’s toured as a drummer for Beyoncé and Dumpstaphunk.

“We are a super band of sorts. We all came from other bands and other projects,” says Glaspie.

For The Nth Power all roads lead to Jennifer Hartswick, who is also on the lineup. Glaspie was also part of her band before joining The Nth Power as was Nick Cassarino, guitarist for The Nth Power. “It was organic and natural. Jennifer called and needed a bass player for a gig,” says Glaspie. “I got in touch with Nate Edgar who was playing with John Browns Body at the time. We were jamming at 3 a.m. during the last gig at [New Orleans] Jazz Fest. The universe put us together. The band starting writing and recording together.”

The Nth Power is a force of nature, funky and soulful. This is their fourth trip to High Sierra and second year doing the tribute series.

Glaspie listened to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album. “I fell in love all over again,” she says. “It’s one of the greatest albums of all time. It’s what music’s been historically: a story about the time. It reflects on what was happening during the 70s and the Vietnam War. As musicians, it’s our job. We have an opportunity to express the voice of the people. Speak our truth and put out a positive message.”

Courtesy Dave Vann

Glaspie has learned a lot as a female drummer with The Nth Power. She’s found strength and has become an expert in many things she never expected to. She’s a spreadsheet master, accountant, driver and travel agent but mostly she’s learned to be a leader.

“We want to spread love. There are more good people out there and more good things happening. It’s not all negative. We just want to let people know they’re loved,” she says.

There are also new twists on the borrowed theme during the Troubadour Sessions and Artists Playhouses. The Classic Album Hour Playhouse features the music of the Rolling Stones, “Let It Bleed,” Soul Queen Sunday is a tribute to Aretha Franklin and other ladies of soul and Guitarmageddon, a festival staple, will honor Led Zeppelin.

Gaby Moreno brings a touch of something blue. Her rich voice and blues-influenced Latin music is deeply soulful. If you love the blues, don’t miss the High Sierra Blue Jam, which includes a variety blues songs and styles.

For something old we look to musicians who’ve been honing their craft for a long time, their dedication is one of enduring mastery. Bluegrass icon Del McCoury is one of the oldest working musicians performing at High Sierra. An ode to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the mother of the modern-day music festival will rock some older tunes.

Music is the highlight but there is also hiking, kids’ activities and a pool in which to cool off. If you’re looking for peace of mind, explore the festivals’ yoga, Pilates and guided meditations classes. And for those who love dressing up, pull out your costume boxes: each day is themed: on July 4 it’s Bangle your Spangle, on July 5 it’s Cowboys and Aliens, on July 6 it is Sunshine Sparkle and on July 7 it’s Cape Crusaders.

High Sierra Music Festival is hot in every way: temperature, excitement and fun with music that’s on fire. | highsierramusic.com