Organizers for High Sierra Music Festival have announced the initial lineup for its 2017 event, which returns to Plumas County Fairgrounds in Quincy, Calif., June 29-July 2. Trey Anastasio Band, Ween, Galactic, Mike Gordon, Con Brio and Fruition are among the headliners set to perform at the 27th annual festival. Other artists appearing at High Sierra include The Suffers, Aoife O’Donovan, Billy Strings, The Lil’ Smokies, Big Something and Achilles Wheel. Additional artist announcements are still forthcoming, and early bird four-day passes are currently available.
Founded in 1991, High Sierra got its start with headliners like John Prine, David Bromberg, Jesse Colin Young and Dan Hicks—primarily acoustic-based artists who came to fame in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. By the time the festival moved to Quincy in 1998, the focus had turned to jam bands and artists who thrived on improvisation: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Los Lobos, The String Cheese Incident, Bruce Hornsby, Widespread Panic and Leftover Salmon, to name a few. Last year’s festival alone incorporated elements of rock, blues, bluegrass, electronic and Americana, welcoming everyone from singer-songwriters like Ben Harper and Steve Poltz to funk-based acts like Lettuce and The New Mastersounds.
So far, this year’s lineup continues the festival’s tradition of mixing things up. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio makes his High Sierra debut with his highly successful solo band, whose 2015 album Paper Wheels serves as the motivating force behind his spring tour, which kicks off April 14 in Port Chester, N.Y. TAB features longtime associates Tony Markellis on bass and Russ Lawton on drums, as well as trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick, who’s played with Anastasio as far back as 2000.
Anastasio’s Phish bandmate Mike Gordon is also set for High Sierra 2017, leading to some speculation that the two acts might cross over into each other’s sets. Gordon’s most recent project, the 10-inch EP The Last Step, featured contributions from Anastasio, as well as Phish’s keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon Fishman, plus longtime collaborator Scott Murawski.
A 2011 alumnus of the festival, Ween marks its return not just to High Sierra but also live performance in general. Dean and Gene Ween (real names: Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo) split in 2012 after 28 years together but returned to the road last year, followed by a number of festival dates this past summer. The New Hope, Pa., band recently released GodWeenSatan Live, a 2001 concert recording that captured Ween playing its first album in its entirety just days after the Sept. 11 attacks.