Playshops are an integral part of the High Sierra experience. They’re  intimate, creative, unique and big fun! All playshops will be held in the High Sierra Music Hall unless otherwise noted.

Please note: these are the 2012 Playshops. The 2013 playshop schedule will be available this spring.


11am-11:45am ~ Little Bears Run! Jump! Dance! Sing!
Moms and Dads bring the kids over for a special morning family musical experience. Teacher Jody will host and get the whole family singing, dancing, and playing in an interactive and fun playshop. Held in Mineral Building

12pm-1pm ~ Songs of The Grateful Dead
Bring your instrument as Blue Bear School of Music instructor Sean Leahy guides you through songs from each part of the Dead’s illustrious career! Everyone is invited to come join in on the fun. Chord charts and lyrics will be provided! Held in Mineral Building

1pm-2:15pm ~ New Orleans Piano
Join pianists Marco Benevento and CR Gruver (New Orleans Suspects) along with the on-point rhythm section of Johnny Vidacovich on drums and Reggie Scanlan (Radiators/New Orleans Suspects) on bass as they explore the lively, joyous expression of New Orleans piano music. This session will focus mostly on the music of James Booker, the clown prince of New Orleans piano, along with music of other Big Easy legends such as Professor Longhair and Dr. John.

3pm–4:15pm ~ Nathan Moore’s Hippy Fiasco Rides Again!
"Hippy Fiasco Rides Again" has been troubadour Nathan Moore 's traveling real-time road-u-mentary, streaming all their experiences 24/7 on Nathan returns this year to showcase the Great Moorechestra Experiment, where the audience becomes part of the band! Bring your kazoo, guitar, cello, voice, instrument of choice (no drums please) or just a pair of open ears! Special guests are bound to show up as the only thing one can count on from a Hippy Fiasco is the unexpected!

4:30pm–5:45pm ~ High Sierra Pick Extravaganza
The annual High Sierra Pick has fast become a staple featuring many of the festival’s finest pickers and bluegrassers. This year’s pick will be hosted by Greensky Bluegrass and promises to be a fun-filled session for all. Come on down and see who steps up!


11-11:45am ~ Little Bears (see Friday, Mineral Building)

12-1pm ~ Songs of The Beatles
Few bands have had more of an influence on modern music than The Beatles. Blue Bear School of Music instructor Mark Schuh will guide you through a handful of Beatles classics. Everyone is invited to come join in on the fun. Chord charts and lyrics will be provided! Held in Mineral Building

1pm-2:15pm ~ Skerik’s Horn-A-Copia
The ubiquitous and immensely talented saxophonist Skerik has long been part of the High Sierra core.  His creativity and diversity will be on display as he leads this afternoon horn summit featuring many of this year’s top brass at the festival.

3pm-4:15pm ~ Guitarmageddon: Celebrating The Talking Heads
Simon Kurth, formerly of Poor Man’s Whisky and now on his own with Huckle , returns as musical director of our annual guitar extravaganza and this year he’ll lead some of High Sierra’s favorite masters of the fretboard such as Josh Clark , Sean Leahy , Lebo , and others through a rockin’ set of Talking Heads songs.  Burning Down the House indeed!

5pm-6:15pm ~ The Ramble Gramble: A Tribute to Levon Helm
Come see members of ALO, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Brokedown in Bakersfield and more get together for another historic Gramble at HSMF.  Since 2008, this rotating cast of the best of the Northern California music scene, as assembled by bassist Steve Adams, has collaborated in unique ways on familiar tunes.  Look for surprise special guests, bust out jams and a lot of fun as the Gramble pays a fitting tribute to the great Levon Helm.


11am-11:45am ~ Little Bears (see Friday, Mineral Building)

12pm-1pm ~ Songs Around The Campfire
Blue Bear School of Music instructors Sean Leahy and Mark Schuh will guide a sing and play along of some classic campfire songs, broken down to their most basic structure for all to enjoy! Bring an instrument and have fun! Chord charts and lyrics will be provided. Held in Mineral Building

12:30pm-1:45pm ~ Bloody Mary Ball with The Nibblers
Sacramento area band The Nibblers have been adding to the High Sierra festivities for years with some serious renegade dance parties at their camp that always provide big time fun. Come start the final day of the festival off on the right foot and join The Nibblers as they throw down their funky fresh grooves at the Bloody Mary Ball.  

2:45pm-3:45pm ~ Brownout
Brownout is the alter ego of Austin’s Latin funk-rock salsa band Grupo Fantasma . They have been Prince’s backing band adding punch to his Purpleness’ power with their soulful backbeats, psychedelic exploration, tough grooves and brassy streetwise accents. Brownout is the place where these talented players really let the funk fly. Come catch it if you can!

4:30pm-5:30pm ~ The World According to Steve Poltz
It’s Steve Poltz ’ world and we’re just happy to live in it.  By this time Sunday, chances are you have either experienced Steve Poltz or heard someone telling you about their experience of hearing him. Here’s your chance for more! Steve is an extraordinary songwriter/storyteller that will take you on a ride you won’t soon forget.

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