Larry Sabo moved faster than the speed of his Canon’s shutter during the June 29-July 2 High Sierra Music Festival. By using his mountain bike, he flitted from the Grandstand, Vaudeville, Big Meadow and Music Hall to capture images at the 27th annual festival in Quincy. Incredibly, Sabo photographed every performance on Day 1.
Shooting the first three to five songs from each set, he took more than 2,000 images on the first day and more than 1,500 on each of the next three days.
“I had to tightly schedule everything,” he said. “I tied a clock to my camera harness so it was right in my face so I could keep on time. I couldn’t do this without the bicycle because it’s too far to get to the main stage and back without missing something.”
As he does every year, Sabo stayed on the scene by sleeping in his camper trailer just outside the fairgrounds. He faced some adversity when he lost his cell phone. “I didn’t have my phone the whole day on Saturday, even though it was returned to me by the stage crew of the Big Meadow stage early that day it had a dead battery and it took all day to charge it back up again.
Covering the festival was the fun part for Sabo, who is now processing all of his shots.
“I’m working on Tahoe Onstage stories, other requests from performers, vendors and crowd patrons first and then will go through each day as I can,” he said. “It’s tough since I have shows to shoot over the next four days.”
Below, Sabo lists his five favorite performances from the 2017 High Sierra Music Festival.
5 – Jerry Joseph & the Jack Mormons. You can tell this guy has led a hard life and has an equal outlook on experiences, but boy can he put emotion into a song. Don’t let me forget to mention he’s a superb guitar player. I really want to hear more of him.
4 – Another gold standard will be the Lebo & Friends set with Melvin Seals, Bobby Vega, Jay Lane and Lesley Grant (one of my favorite female vocalists around).
3 – Next will be Bokante, which is a collaboration of superstars. Watch for this band in the future. With a sound like no others, I’m sure they will do quite well.
2 – Billy Strings has more energy and talent than you would think humanly possible. I mean, come on, have you ever seen someone do a back somersault while playing the guitar?
1 – My favorite set was the Troubadour Session on Saturday night with Andy Dunnigan & Jake Simpson (The Lil’ Smokies), Jonny “Mojo” Flores & Paul Kamm (Achilles Wheel) and Kat Myers (& the Buzzards). These guys can just look at each other and communicate musically through osmosis.
Any one of these artists or bands alone was worth the price of admission!