4th of July Festival-ing: Nateva or High Sierra?
With Rothbury out of the picture - this year at least - traveling festival goers seem to have two legit options for 4th of July weekend: Maine's inaugural Nateva Music & Camping Festival and Cali's High Sierra Music Festival.
Both fests boast scenic settings in moderate climates, an undisputed bonus during sweaty season, as well as strong lineups spanning bands that will melt-your-face-off-till-ya-can't-dance-anymore and the industry's most buzzed indie-rock bands to twangy-bluegrassy-folky goodness and electronica's most up-and-coming live acts...a little something for everyone. So where will you pitch your tent?
Here are the goods:
Nateva Fest is a three-day multi-stage festival held July 2 - 4 in Oxford, ME, which is about an hour-long drive north of Portland. Headliners include Furthur (7/4), featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, as well as The Flaming Lips (7/3), Moe. (7/2), and Lotus kicking the fest off on Thursday night (7/1). Other acts include The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, STS9, Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, Ghostland Observatory, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Umphrey's McGee, Zappa Plays Zappa, Keller Williams, The Felice Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Big Gigantic, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Toubab Krewe, The Indobox, and The McLovins (ha...yesss!) amony many others.
High Sierra Fest, in it's 20th year (these guys know what they're doing fo sho!), is held in beatiful Quincy, CA, which is nestled in the High Sierra Mountains and only a short drive (about an hour...and a beautiful one at that) from the Tahoe area. Three stages will feature the likes of Widespread Panic, The Black Crowes, The Avett Brothers, Ozomatli, Railroad Earth, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Blitzen Trapper, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Lotus (damn, they're playing both fests...that's quite a haul!), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, The Slip, BLVD, Trampled By Turtles and tons more.
High Sierra also has four late night venues on the grounds with the first round of acts taking the stage from 11:45pm - 1am, and the last bands playing from 1:30am "until..." And from what I can remember about seeing The Disco Biscuits late night there back in '06, I'm pretty sure we didn't get outta there till 4am or so. Tix for these shows are extra, ranging from $16 - 24/night, or you can pick up the combo wristband for as much as $38/night.
Nateva also mentions "late night festivities," but I haven't been able to find much else on this besides that you must buy the Weekend Pass (With Camping) to attend these shows, which will currently run you $219. The Weekend Pass (No Camping) is $199. And, of course, there are other options: VIP, RV Passes, etc. Check here for full details on Nateva Fest ticketing info.
The High Sierra 4-day pass is $195. If you want to bring your vehicle on-site, that's gonna cost ya though - $45 for motorcycles, $85 for "vehicles" and RVs (no hookups...with hookups is sold out). There are also three VIP packages, one of which is sold out. Check High Sierra's site for complete info on tickets.
So where will you get your music fix over the 4th? Honestly, before I wrote this, I was thinking Nateva had a leg up, but now I'm leaning towards High Sierra. I have great memories from the few hours I spent there in '06 (yes...we snuck in the very last night and just bought a late night Biscuits ticket) - there was just such a super relaxed, chill vibe about the place - that it makes me want to go back for more now. AND it's well put together. That's not to say Nateva won't be, but it is the first year for the fest, and unlike High Sierra, they don't have their daily schedule up yet - or info on late nights, etc. Obviously, geography is a factor for many, but being in Texas, both fests are pretty equi-distant (aka effing far off) for me. Looks like I'm headed to Cali...hopefully!