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Quincy hosts High Sierra Music Festival

A crowd of people gathers to listen to the opening band on the grandstand stage of the 24th annual High Sierra Music Festival at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds last weekend. Thousands of music lovers made their way into Quincy for the festival. Photos by James Wilson
James Wilson
Sports Editor

The quiet, sleepy town of Quincy woke up last week, and stayed up all hours of the night.

The High Sierra Music Festival returned to the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds for its 16th year in Quincy and its 24th year overall last weekend, and brought an estimated 10,000 festivalgoers along.

The festival brought some big acts this year, including Ms. Lauryn Hill, Beats Antique, Widespread Panic and Lord Huron. Music was playing practically nonstop with artists rotating between three stages.

Campers filled nearly every vacant spot in and around the fairgrounds, creating tent cities overnight. Many camps decorated their canopies and tents to match certain themes. Impromptu parties and jam sessions popped up all over the fairgrounds.

Different ethnic food, normally not attainable in Plumas County, was served up in the food court. People lined up to chow down on gyros, paella, crepes, Thai food and Afro-Caribbean cuisine.

Jenni Charles, of the Dead Winter Carpenters, takes the stage and wows the crowd with her high-energy fiddling. The festival had multiple bands playing between three stages.

Jenni Charles, of the Dead Winter Carpenters, takes the stage and wows the crowd with her high-energy fiddling. The festival had multiple bands playing between three stages.
For a crowd of 10,000 people, there was surprisingly little trouble. The festival took precautions and hired its own security team and had a medic tent set up in the fairgrounds to take care of minor injuries.

In an interview last Saturday, Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood praised the organization of the festival.

“We haven’t had any major issues,” said Hagwood. “Everything’s gone smoothly so far. I’m really happy with how it’s going.”

Hagwood wasn’t the only local person pleased with the arrival of the festival. Businesses all over town reported booms in business before and during the festivities. Raj Singh, owner of the Relay Station, had nothing but good things to say about his out-of-town customers.

“They’re all wonderful people. Everybody who came in was happy, and that made us relaxed. People call this the hippie fest, but they should call it the happy fest,” Singh joked.

Holly Callahan, owner of Pangaea Café and Pub, said the restaurant had record sales the day before the festival began. According to Callahan, the restaurant dished out 50 more meals than its previous record.

“Every year we prepare by keeping track of what our best sellers are and by hiring more staff,” said Callahan. “We get a big crew that day, and crank out the meals. Each year we get a little better at doing it.”

The amount of money that flows into the county is unknown, but it’s a definite boost to the economy. Lodging accommodations were booked up long before the festival. Several people reported renting their houses out for the long weekend to various visitors to the festival.

The organizers of High Sierra Music Festival are already planning next year’s event. For updates on the 25th annual High Sierra Music Festival, go to

Good for Plumas County, hope all these folks get out and see the wonders of this beautiful place...
This was my 11th HSMF in Quincy! I love the area and the Rec and Tech initiative has me pondering my future residence. :) I spent a several hours throughout the week riding my bicycle around the valley and through the forests. Thanks to everyone in Plumas County for their awesome hospitality!
It was my first time to the HSMF and I loved every minute of it. I was observant - the residents of Quincy were very welcoming. We are at Pangaea and the good was delicious & healthy. The staff smiling and on top of things. Went shopping at the thrift store and purchased a Starry Night picture for our camp. They had a kids camp so that parents could enjoy the music. I wandered through there to see they had their own live bands playing too!! Happy babies joined their parents with earphones on and kids riding bikes, hula hooping face painting. You name it - the circus was in town. Glad to drop coin in Quincy. Thanks for having us!!!
This was my second HSMF on Quincy, but first time that I arrived the day prior to get in the parking queue for camping. Since we had 24 hours to kill, we ventured out into town and had wonderful experience after another. I travel a lot and am always aware of how tourists are often perceived, and because of that was a bit hesitant to approach a local woman for directions to Spanish creek. Although she did not know exactly where to send me, she personally walked me to "Quincy Natural Foods", and found someone who was happy to give directions and helpful advice. Bought some tasty food and moved on to "The Bike Shop" where the owner (Mike?) was happy to shuttle us to Spanish creek for a nominal fee, and then pointed out the trailheads to several mountain bike trails that we ended up riding twice during the week. We then wandered into the Plumas National Forest station in town, where the friendliest woman fall all over herself to give us information and trail maps. This hospitality was then topped by a Forest ranger who offered to let us park an extra car on her own personal property! While we did not take her up on this offer, we did end up connecting during the festival at Stanley Jordan where hung out like old friends. We also had dinner at Pangaea the night prior which was awesome, the wait staff was friendly and efficient despite what may have been the busiest night of their lives. Morning breakfast and coffee at Courthouse Cafe also a cheerful experience, where the 70% local crowd did not make us feel like alien outcasts. Thanks Quincy, for leaving a lasting impression! I would come back to visit even without HSMF!
Awesomeness. We love Quincy businesses! You all were the ones that changed the whole thing by knowing that we were not the enemy and standing up to the sheriff when they tried to take over the festival in 2008 (?). It sounds like his viewpoint on the "Hippie" festival has changed a lot too. (if the same guy that is) As did, I think, a lot of the citizens of Plumas County. My 22nd High Sierra and 15th in Quincy.
I have been attending/working at High Sierra for the last 12 years and it is an amazing festival. Take a peek at my 2014 photos here: High Sierra Rocks !!!



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