Last week, the Lost Sierra Hoedown, announced its set times for the weekend of September 19-22, 2019. This was done with little fanfare or social media blasts, just a post that those of us in the know get incredibly excited about. The Lost Sierra Hoedown is held annually every year in Johnsville, CA (High Sierra regulars will know that Johnsville is spitting distance from Quincy) in Plumas County. In its own beautiful way, the Hoedown is the anti-festival. It’s like a pot that all the ingredients of a stew travel to, jump in and become a savory bubbling thing – together. And it is one hell of a stew. There are no tiered ticket prices, no incremental rollout of the line-up, there’s no VIP treatment or anything like that. We all pack our stuff into the site and pack it out at the end of the weekend. If you forget something, you talk to your neighbor who not only has what you’re looking for but will definitely share it. This is an event that you get out of it what you put into it. At only 500 tickets, this is probably the most intimate musical setting you’ll ever know. Don’t be surprised to be standing in line at the taco truck (it’s a GREAT taco truck) and strike up a conversation with Tim Bluhm, or Marty O’Reilly or Lauren Bjelede.
The setting, the Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl, is probably the finest setting for a musical gathering there is. The ski hill slides down in a natural amphitheater fronting a 19th century ski lodge with a deck large enough to host headliners and an interior with a fire ring to keep hoedowners warm as they listen to the inside sets. There’s a late-night tent and an even later night tent to keep everyone busy as long as they want and all under a blanket of Ponderosa Pine and endless Sierra stars. Oh, and this is the perfect place to bring your kids if you have them. Family is a focus here. Whole gangs of kids run through the festival site, playing with bubbles and friends they have just met, or swinging in hammocks – all generally grungy and loving every second of it. Nature becomes the greatest playground of all and an opportunity for kids to connect with something real and wonderful.
The music is generally awesome. Organizers have been curating line-ups year after year that blend fresh faces with Hoedown staples like Willy Tea Taylor, Nathan Moore The Sam Chase and the Untraditional, Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra, Royal Jelly Jive, Bobcat Rob and the Nightly Howl, Jordan Smart and Twain. This year is no different. You will hear new songs you’ll fall in love with and reconnect with songs you’ve loved all along. 2019 will bring us additions like The Burning Pictures, The Tim Bluhm Band, The Coffis Brothers, and Whiskerman to name only a few.
Most folks that attend the Lost Sierra Hoedown once end up calling that weekend an indispensable part of their year – a sort of New Years Eve because its cooler than Times Square. They return year after year because they need it. They need the unique love, the smiles and hugs, the connection to the elements and the music and they just need the hang. More than a few attendees will tell you both earnestly and sober that this thing has literally changed their lives. Tickets are flying and you should secure yours sooner . . . nah . . . you better get them right now. Its been a sellout the last three years so get on the stick and we’ll see you up there.