High Sierra Music Festival Announces Playshop Lineup And Troubadour Sessions

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What happens when the Rolling Stones call to say their tour is rescheduled and your presence is requested on the road? Long-time leader of his own band and High Sierra Music Festival mainstay Karl Denson knows the answer; get creative! And creative he got—with a bit of a schedule shuffle, HSMF has confirmed that Karl Denson will still be at the festival and will still be putting on a notorious Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe late night show despite his participation in the Rolling Stones’ touring band this summer. With the help of The Marcus King Band and The New Mastersounds, who switched their own time slots with Denson to make everything work, the weekend will go on as planned. Please see the full schedule update below.

—>Karl Denson’s Eat a Bunch of Peaches will perform on the Grandstand Stage Thursday, July 4, 7:15 – 8:45pm

—>Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will perform in the Funk’n Jamhouse Thursday night at 12am – 1:15am followed by Star Kitchen at 1:45am.

—>The New Mastersounds will perform in the Late Night Music Hall on Saturday night.

—>The Marcus King Band will perform on the Grandstand Stage Sunday, July 7, 7:15 – 8:45pm

If you have already purchased tickets for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Saturday Late Night Show, your tickets will be honored at Thursday’s Karl Denson Late Night show.

If you have already purchased tickets for The New Mastersounds Thursday Late Night Show, your tickets will be honored at Saturday’s The New Mastersounds Late Night show.

If you have purchased tickets to either of these late night shows and would like a refund, please email [email protected] before June 14th to request a refund. We will not accept refund requests after June 14th.

The High Sierra Troubadour Sessions lineup is out for 2019. Catch intimate, in-the-round songwriter performances after the main stages are wrapping up for the night. An acoustic alternative to the traditionally rowdy late night shows, each Troubadour Session will find four of HSMF’s best songwriters trading stories and songs. See the full High Sierra Troubadour Sessions lineup below.


Marty O'Reilly

Caitlin Gowdey (Rainbow Girls)

Clay Finch & Sam Blasucci (Mapache)

Lauren Bjelde, Jesse Lemme Adams & Robby Elfman  (Royal Jelly Jive)


Cris Jacobs

Lebo (ALO)

Zach Gill (ALO)

Reid Genauer


Grahame Lesh (Midnight North)

Elliott Peck (Midnight North)

Matt "The Rev" Reiger (The Lil Smokies)

John Kadlecik


Maggie Forti

Eric Long

Ezra Lipp (ALO)

Erin Chapin (Rainbow Girls)

Additionally, High Sierra has announced their playshop lineup and schedule for 2019.  High Sierra Music Festival playshops have quickly become some of the most anticipated and talked about moments of each year’s festival. These unique, one-of-a-kind sets are a special treat for both musicians and fans alike, be it a tribute session celebrating a particular artist, a specific time or event in music history, a collaboration with other artists or a session focusing on a particular theme or style of music. Playshops give artists a chance to stretch their legs, musically speaking, and take more on-stage risks than they usually might. This laid back nature also grants music fans access they may rarely get anywhere else; bands finding the limits of improvisation or feeling out a brand new song in front of an audience. High Sierra’s full playshop schedule is laid out below.


10:15 - 11:15 am / High Sierra Funk Jam (participatory playshop)

Get your weekend off on the good foot!   Music educator Sean Leahy and Tea Leaf Green's Eric DiBerardino invite you to come participate in a relatively new High Sierra tradition. Bring your axe, horn, sticks, voice or dancing shoes as Sean & Eric take you through a variety of Funk songs, styles and jams. All players and all ages are welcome to come jam on stage at High Sierra!  Learn some new songs, new licks and meet fellow players at this unique experience.

12:00 - 1:15 pm / By The Time We Got To Woodstock

Woodstock! The mother of the modern day music festival. It shaped and changed the way generations from 1969 - 2019 experienced live music, community and counterculture as well as everyday life. Sean Leahy, Eric DiBerardino and a cast of High Sierra All-Stars kick off this years playshop sessions with a nod to the 50th anniversary of the legendary festival as they cover jams by Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and much more!

2:00 - 3:00 pm / Celebrating the Music of Creedence Clearwater Revival (Cris Jacobs Band)

Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the most widely revered and commercially successful bands of the late sixties/early seventies and though they hailed from San Francisco their swamp-boogie blues-rock sound had its roots firmly in the south. Their sound was unmistakable, led by the ring of John Fogerty's voice and the snap and twang of his and brother Tom's guitar riffs along with the locked in rhythm section of Stu Cook on bass and Doug Clifford on drums. Who better than the Cris Jacobs band, an outstanding four piece roots rock band with the same two guitar/bass/drums line-up to pay tribute to one of America's most notable bands.

3:45 - 4:45 pm / Return Of The Skerik Improv Session (Skerik and friends)

Saxophonist Skerik is synonymous with High Sierra. He's been a part of more bands (from Garage A Trois to Critters Buggin' to DRKWAV to Les Claypool's bands) and performed in more sets than any other musician in the history of High Sierra! Skerik's a master musician with unlimited capacity and is comfortable in any musical setting. Good things always happen when Skerik's at the helm and we welcome he and his cohorts as they walk the musical high-wire without a net.

5:15 - 6:30 pm / Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra Take It To The Floor!

When Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra feel really connected with an audience a member of the band will say "let's take it to the floor!" at which point they'll leave the stage and come on down into the audience, circle up and finish the set. That kind of spontaneous shift makes for some magical moments allowing the audience to feel that much closer to the music. Join Marty and company as they TAKE IT TO THE FLOOR for an entire set, setting up in the middle of the room and eliminating the traditional barrier between performer and spectator - making the set one big inclusive experience.  


10:15 - 11:15 am / High Sierra Blue Jam (participatory playshop)

Rise and shine and shake those blues!  Sean Leahy and Eric DiBerardino Invite all to come jam on a wide spectrum of blues songs and styles. From the roots of Robert Johnson to the modern blues expressions of Gary Clark Jr and more. The Blues is a universal language that welcomes all!  Bring your instrument and come have some fun!!

12:00 - 1:00 pm / drēmo : phoffman and Devol (Paul Hoffman and Mike Devol of Greensky Bluegrass)

Upright bassist Mike Devol and mandolin player Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass) occasionally play as a duo under the name drēmo, a name they came up with at High Sierra some years ago. Join them for a special playshop featuring songs of Greensky, stories, harmonies and anecdotes fueled by 15 years of close camaraderie featuring guest appearances by friends unnamed.

1:30 - 2:45 pm /  Lebo's High Sierra Ramble: 50 In The Rearview - Songs from 1969 (Lebo, ALO, Jay Lane, Reed Mathis, Reid Genauer, Jen Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Jeremy Schon of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and more)

1969 was one of the most important years in the history of popular music.  Simply put, there were leaps and bounds happening all over the place. Frank Zappa debuted Peaches En Regalia, The Beatles took to the stage together for the very last time, Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers released their first album, Miles Davis released the seminal albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew”, Eric Clapton formed Blind Faith, and so much more!  While we have several other playshops touching on this seminal year, we invite you to come on a time traveling experience and see what Lebo comes up with as he puts 50 in the rearview and curates a musical journey through some of his personal favorites from this ground breaking year in music!

3:30 - 4:30 pm / Classic Album Hour: The Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed"

(Simon Kurth & Mescalito, Jen Hartswick, Cris Jacobs Band, Jeremy Schon of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Shook Twins, Joe and Hattie Craven, the Rainbow Girls, Bo Carper and more)

1969 was a landmark year and one of the seminal albums to be released was 'Let it Bleed' by the Rolling Stones. It was a turning point for the band with Brian Jones departing and Mick Taylor coming into the fold while the record was being made. The songs and arrangements echoed the tumultuous nature of the times, and struck a chord that has rung true for the generations of fans it has influenced. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of this album, Simon Kurth and Mescalito will lead a stellar cast of special guests through a live performance of the entire album. So slip back in time to 1969, and transport yourself to the front row and hear these iconic songs performed by some of your favorite High Sierra artists!

5:15 - 6:30 pm / Bean Night: Hosted by the Rainbow Girls

Rainbow Girls formed out of an underground open mic while in college in Santa Barbara, CA and though the band relocated to the Bay Area, they have kept the tradition alive, opening their house and inviting friends to share songs, poems, stories, comedy, performance art, and anything else that can be done in a crowded living room.  “Bean Night” (named for the pot of beans and rice made for those who come to share) has garnered a cult-like following up and down California and has really only existed in living rooms until now. Rainbow Girls. special guest John Craigie and a slew of friends (Shook Twins, Marty O'Reilly, Lauren Bjelde from Royal Jelly Jive and more) team up to bring you Bean Night at High Sierra. BYOBeans


10:00 - 11:00 am / Grateful Dead (participatory playshop)

They're a band beyond description -- What else is there to say? In words that Jerry told Joe Craven when they were creating the Garcia Grisman recordings, "You gotta make the music your own",  Join Joe Craven & The Sometimers along with Sean Leahy, Eric DiBerardino and Scott Guberman (Phil Lesh & Friends) as they play - and play with - this classic canon of material that has become such a significant part of the soundtrack of our lives.     

11:30am - 12:45 pm / Gospel In The Hall (Bo Carper, Lebo, Joe & Hattie Craven,  Ron Artis & The Truth, Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra and more

Hallelujah! Sunday morning church at High Sierra continues... Bo Carper (New Monsoon) & Lebo (ALO) host an all-star lineup that will inspire, entertain and uplift you with songs that draw from the deepest well of American music and dip into Blues, R&B, Bluegrass and more.  You don’t have to be holy to love this set, but chances are you’ll walk out feeling joyful

1:30 - 2:45 pm /  Soul Queen Sunday: A Tribute To Aretha and other Ladies of Soul

(Hosted by Royal Jelly Jive)

The international music world lost a treasure last year when Aretha Franklin passed away and we couldn't let the year go by without paying tribute. While we wanted to shine a light on the incomparable talent Aretha possessed we also wanted to expand the love to include other Ladies of Soul such as Sharon Jones, Mavis Staples, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simon and more. Join Royal Jelly Jive (featuring vocalist Lauren Bjelde) and friends as they pay tribute to the Queen of Soul and other soul greats!

3:30 - 4:45 pm / Masters of Slide (Simon Kurth and Mescalito with special guests Luther Dickinson, Lebo, Lil Smokies, Jonathan Sloane, Sean Leahy, Rainbow Girls and more)

Come take a sonic journey through time and trace the evolution of slide guitar from its roots to its modern stylings. Leading us through these songs will be Simon Kurth and his band Mescalito, and a spectacular cast of guests  In addition to playing on the songs, each featured slide player will be sharing some background of what is special about the song and slide technique. From acoustic delta blues, and country lap steel to dobro picking, or rock n roll slide anthems, there's a little something for everyone in this slide playshop.

5:30 - 6:45 pm / Guitarmageddon plays Led Zeppelin

Guitarmageddon has been a High Sierra institution since 2005!  Born from the brain of Josh Clark, 'Geddon has been embraced by and blossomed at HSMF since it’s inception and owes its heart and soul to the HSMF family and community!  Come hear and see the core band of Sean Leahy, Eric DiBerardino, Dave Combs, Jeff Miller, Pamela Parker, Scott Guberman, Chris Grant, Simon Kurth and a long list of amazing guest guitarists close this years playshops with a big 50th anniversary nod to the one and only Led Zeppelin.  

More About High Sierra Music Festival:

Priding itself on a diverse musical lineup, one-of-a-kind intimate artist “playshops,” and legendary sit-ins and surprises throughout the weekend, HSMF remains the live music fan mainstay—a home away from home to pilgrimage to each year for a community experience of musical chances-taken, all day and all night, on stages big and small.  From the Grandstand Stage to the “don’t let out the air-conditioning” doors of the High Sierra Music Hall, festival-goers spend every day celebrating old traditions, as well as forging new ones each and every year. Craft brews and artisanal cocktails and cuisine to satisfy any appetite can be found around the clock, and kids never get bored of the daily parades, accommodating Family Village, and the always-popular community swimming pool right next door. On-site yoga, Pilates, and guided meditations provide a non-musical lift for the body, mind, and spirit. High Sierra Music Festival continues to be the cradle of exciting music in the picturesque locale of Plumas-Sierra Fairgrounds in Quincy, CA—located an easy distance from the Reno, NV, Bay Area, and Sacramento, CA, airports.

Visit http://highsierramusic.com/ to purchase four-day passes. All tickets, including FestivALL VIP packages and parking passes, are on sale now.

For travel FAQ and more information, please check the website and Facebook page.