Congratulations to the newly weds Aislinn and Roy Brown!
I was in Big Sky country, aka Montana a few weeks ago to celebrate one of my best friend’s wedding. Aislinn is from Alaska, I’m not exactly sure where, but she talked a lot about Juneau so for the sake of this article, we’re just gonna say she’s from Alaska. We went to Gonzaga together and then L’institute Catholique in Paris where we both studied French for 9 months.
The Adventure Crew in France
The whole group of Gonzaga students in Paris got pretty close and went through a lot of very interesting adventures as we traveled through Europe together (there were 13 of us). This included some trips through the rest of Europe, both organized by the school and by ourselves so we got some good chances to travel and see the world. We also became friends with a lot of foreigners, mostly British folk because of the lack of language barrier.
College ended after another year back in good ol’ Spokane, Washington and Aislinn went to law school after. But she visited me in Boston with Nathalie and Molly and Brian and I got a chance to visit her and meet Roy in DC during her second year. Molly and Brian were part of the Gonzaga in Paris group and Natalie stayed at the same foyer as Aislinn and Molly. I think Natalie was doing an internship at the time, but I kinda forget.
Into the Treasure State
A bunch of us from the Paris group headed up to the wedding in Montana, including Anna and Kelly/Kelly’s fiancé Greg. Molly and Nathalie met me at the Missoula airport and we all hitched a ride with Kelly down over to Helena, where we had an AirBnb.
This is one of the few weddings I’ve ever been to (I think maybe 5 so far?) and I was pretty stoked to spend some quality time with my best friends from college. Before I knew it, the wedding ceremony was over and we were on a bus out into the middle of nowhere for the reception, where I got my hair cut (I’d been growing it for 5 years) and spilled wine on my shirt within 5 minutes of getting my first glass (I hadn’t even taken a sip yet!).
The wedding reception was super fun, but I get tired really early nowadays so I was basically passed out at midnight and on the bus back to the AirBnb. Fell asleep around 2, on the floor (I like to sleep on the floor for my back).
I haven’t been able to travel like this in quite a while, so I’m very grateful to be able to see a new places and fly on a couple of planes. There’s nothing quite like spending time staring out at the clouds and the land from an airplane, or seeing a new landscape that you’ve never seen before from a car. Montana was beautiful and the name ‘Big Sky” is definitely appropriate for the area that we stayed in about an hour north of Yellowstone.
Nothing to do for a Little Time
I got a little break from having to do anything. It was much needed for my yoga instruction, probably even healthier for my yoga practice and then probably was most essential for my landscaping work. Not having to dig any holes for a week was really nice. I got to recharge my batteries and get ready for more work! And everyone needs a little break from reality sometimes 🙂
I got a chance to see some wildlife during the trip, including some red-tailed hawks, a golden eagle, and some deer (so far) like 3 bison and a moose and her daughter. The flowing River outside of the Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky was breathtaking and getting a great view of it from the room is definitely a first! No bears or anything ridiculous either, which was nice.
Good Food and Good Company
We did a decent amount of hiking and got to eat a lot of midwestern comfort food, on Monday the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill and a pretty fancy last night at Horn and Cantle. Wednesday I spent the day flying back into town. Got to hang out with Nathalie until I left and got back around 9 o’clock. I think we left the hotel at 8:30am.
So it’s definitely not easy to travel to Montana, its quite a good distance away, but the nature and less populated spaces made it really easygoing and picturesque.
There are 3 bones in the human shoulder, or glenohumeral joint; the humerus, the clavicle, and the scapula. These bones are stabilized by 15+ muscles, depending on how you count them to create the shoulder joint. (often the muscles are grouped together; i.e. the posterior, medial, and anterior deltoid are often grouped into ‘the deltoid’). This supplies a tremendous amount of mobility to the arm and hands, at the cost of the stability of the joint.
The muscles and bones of the shoulder joint work very closely together. They are very often depicted together in anatomy books because of how they functional in unison. The human shoulder joint is nothing short of incredible as a feat of natural evolution. It is a major evolutionary advantage over our primate cousins. Human beings the ability to climb, sprint, and perhaps most incredibly to throw objects accurately over large distances in conjunction with the excellent eye-sight of homo-sapiens sapiens because of our shoulders.
The Clavicle and Scapula are both considered to be part of the shoulder girdle, the structure that supports the appendages of the upper body. The shoulder provides stability for the neck, or upper third of the spine.
Bones of the Shoulder
Scapula – wing bone, or blade bone connects the humerus and clavicle and lies on the back of the rib cage. The name derives from early Roman times when it was thought that the bone resembled a trowel or small shovel.
Humerus – the humerus is a long bone of the shoulder joint, connecting the shoulder girdle to the forearm.
Clavicle – also known as the ‘collarbone’, it is the first bone to ossify in an embryo, and connects the sternum to the scapula. It rotates upon its axis like a key when the shoulder is abducted. It is also the most commonly fractured bone.
Tendons and Ligaments of the Shoulder and Armpit
The Glenoid cavity is a shallow depression in the scapula, that connects to the head of the humerus and allows for the arm-bone’s articulation, forms the basis for the ball and socket joint and is held in place by the head of the biceps tendon. The rotator cuff also reinforces this joint with the supraspinatus tendon.
The Rotator Cuff consists of four primary tendons: the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, the teres minor, and the subscapularis muscle. The tendons of these fours muscles merge to form the rotator cuff tendon.
The Coracoacromial ligament connects the coracoid process (the hook like structure on the shoulder blade) and the acromion (the highest profusion of the shoulder blade). This ligaments helps to shield the head of the humerus.
The AC Joint, or Acromioclavicular joint is the joint at the top of the shoulder that connects the acromion to the the collar-bones. There are several acromioclavicular ligaments as you can see in the image on the right and they are organized to provide added stability to the joint and to house the bursa and synovial fluid that allows the joint to articulate easily.
The conoid ligament connects the clavicle and the coracoid process further stabilizing the collar bone to the shoulder blade.
The caracohumeral ligament connects the coracoid process to the humerus.
Together, these ligaments stabilize and support the shoulder joint, allowing for the extreme mobility that we humans enjoy. However, the large amount of smaller ligaments and tendons sacrifice a certain amount of stability for this increased mobility and range of motion.
Deltoid – responsible for lifting the arm and giving the shoulder its range of motion. Often this muscle is separated into 3 sub-muscles, anterior, lateral, and posterior as they are able to innervate separately.
Teres Major – A small muscle that runs along the lateral border of the scapula and connect to the humerus.
Teres Minor – extends laterally and obliquely from the head of the humerus to the scapula, underneath the Teres Major. This rotator cuff muscles rotates the head of the humerus and stabilized it as it moves in space.
Supraspinatus – connects the scapula to the humerus and abducts the shoulder and arm.
Infraspinatus – connects from the medial side of the scapula to the humerus to aid in stabilizing the shoulder. A thick layer of muscle on the outside of the shoulder blade and is the main external rotator of the shoulder.
Subscapularis – Directly opposes the infraspinatus muscle on the interior of the shoulder blade. It rotates the humerus medially and adducts it, preventing the displacement of the humerus during motion.
Serratus Anterior – originates on ribs one through eight and connects to the medial interior edge of the scapula. The serratus anterior muscles work in conjunction with the latissimus dorsi to lift the shoulder blades and pull them forward and are one of the primary core support structures for the shoulder. Shoulder injuries often occur in yoga because this muscle is not fully contracted, especially in Chaturanga.
Subclavicus – A small muscles that lies between the clavicle and the first rib that draws the shoulders down and forward.
Pectoralis Minor – a thin and flat muscle in the upper torso that lies underneath the pectorals major and originates in the second, third, and fourth ribs. (sometimes the 5th rib instead of the 4th). This is the primary chest muscle that assists in lifting the shoulders.
Sternocleidomastoid – the primary visible neck muscle that rotates and turns the head and neck. It inserts at the sternum and clavicle and travels up to the mastoid at the temporal lobe of the skull.
Levator Scapulae – the main function of this muscle is to lift the scapula, originates in the neck C1-C4 and travels down to the medial border of the scapula. Works in a state of near unison with the serratus anterior muscles.
Rhomboid Major – connects the shoulder blade to T2-T5 of the mid spine. It is slightly deeper than the trapezius and slightly inferior to the rhomboid minor. Together with the serratus anterior and pectorals minor, it connects the shoulder blades to the rib cage.
Rhomboid Minor – Also connects scapula to the spinal vertebrae, but superior (higher) than the rhomboid major and slightly smaller. Connects C7 and T1 to the shoulder blades. Oftentimes this muscle is completely fused with the Rhomboid major.
Trapezius – a large paired surface muscle in the shape of a diamond, connecting the occipital lobe to the shoulder blades and travels down to the lower thoracic vertebrae. It helps to move the scapula and the arm. Because it connects both the spine and the shoulder blades, this muscle can be one of the primary causes of neck tension in the body.
Latissimus Dorsi – a large flat muscle one the back that originates in the mid and lower back and travels all the way up to the head of the humerus. Is it the largest muscle in the upper body and is implicated for cardiac support and is also an accessory breathing muscle. Tightness in this muscle has been shown to be a primary contributor to back pain.
Nerves of the Shoulder Joint
The Brachial Plexus is a network of nerve tissue that supplies the arm and shoulder with innervation. Branches of the plexus, in particular from C5-C6, supply the majority of the muscles of the shoulder. The plexus continues down the arm to form the radial, ulnar, and median nerves of the arm.
Blood Vessels of the Shoulder
The blood Vessels of the shoulder function very similarly to the nerves (often in the body, nerves and blood vessels run in parallel to make the innervation of the muscle tissue more accessible to the nervous system. The Auxiliary artery becomes the brachial artery at the upper arm and continues down the arm to become the radial and ulnar arteries. Most of the blood vessels of the shoulder branch off the auxiliary artery.
Rotation in the Shoulder
Bursa – Shoulder bursitis is a common cause of shoulder pain and occurs when the rotator cuff tendons are impinged, or unable to articulate properly. The shoulder bursa is extremely important as it creates smooth range of motion for the arm and shoulder to travel.
Rotator Cuff – the rotator cuff tears are another common cause of shoulder pain, usually cause by a tear in the supraspinatus muscle.
Range of Motion – As I discussed earlier, the shoulder’s range of motion is largely allowed for by the tremendous amount of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that work together to mobilize the arm. This comes at the sacrifice of stability. The stability of the shoulder comes from the muscle tissue, which can limit the range of motion in the shoulder, which may be healthy for the skeleton, especially under large amount of duress. It is easy to see this limited range of motion in body builders, whose muscles have gotten large enough to impede the motion of the shoulder. An appropriate balance between stability and flexibility is what we are looking for in yoga (or at least I am looking for this balance) so that the joint can have maximum longevity.
I’ve recently finished a few projects that I am proud of and I have an awesome mentor that is showing me how to do all sorts of incredible things with outdoor construction, landscapes, planting, cleaning up yards, taking down trees, etc. I’m getting into great position to generally setting people’s yards and property up for success and durable function.
I have ‘Partnered Up’ with Dave Thomas
I have a mentor and partner who is working with me on all of my projects and ensuring that I can be successful in the things that I am endeavoring. Dave Thomas will be working with me on my projects for the foreseeable future and that makes me stoked. I am working on his website now, get ready to view a catalogue of his 12+ years of landscaping projects.
New Truck, New Tools
I am investing the best tools I can get my hands on which includes an old 91 Dodge D250 thats only two years younger than I am. I can’t believe I’ll be 30 tomorrow, yikes!
I have a few recent projects that I am very proud of and plan on doing a bunch more this year. I’ve gotten very familiar with outdoor construction and am looking forward to learning as much as I can. I have pretty much all the tools that I need to landscape, so feel free to get into contact with me if you have a project, or want an estimate.
Finishing the Spiro’s Yard in Late 2018
Last year I got to install a front-yard on the borderline of granite bay and Roseville and it turned out great! Here are a few pictures of the walkway, patio, creekbed and plants that we installed. I’m really happy with how everything turned out and their new walkway is awesome! First project with mortar set flagstone 😀
Jamie and Joe Bryant’s Yard in Old Roseville
At the end of last year and beginning of this year, I endeavored into a new project, this time a full backyard install complete with fencing, a new front gate, two new side gates, two larger planters, a garden fences, a trellis, and a completely new drain system, irrigation, and plant layout. Here’s how it turned out! (I’ll do a more comprehensive post on this yard later, it was a ton of work and a lot of it isn’t shown here.)
Jody Summer’s Yard in Old Roseville
A couple of weeks ago, we finished Jody Summer’s yard in old Roseville and it went swimmingly! it was a total of 5 days and we removed a on of concrete from an old sidewalk, got rid of 4 or 5 tree stumps, stump ground the remains, tilled the area for sod and reconfigured the irrigation (including adding a new timer and a dedicated drip valve. We designed an entirely new plant layout, constructed a brand new decomposed granite entry walkway, new sod, bark, and a little wildflower area down by the street (also covered in bark).
Tree Work in Berryessa and ForestHill Ranch
I got a chance to use my chainsaw a bunch on some bigger trees, its really a terrifying thing to be cutting huge sections off of multi-ton trees that could squash me at any second. I got a chance to work with my buddy Alex who is a tree expert and got to see him do some incredible climbing and John who is more of a ranching expert, but also knows a lot about trees and climbing. Tree work is dangerous as hell, man.
Onto More Projects in 2019!
Right now, Dave and I are working on a Tonnos off Greenback in Orangevale. I’m pretty excited for this one and will have some pics once everything is finished. I got to use a ditch witch for the first time! I also am employing a drone now, so my photos will be way better soon and I am going to start using more video footage. I’m looking forward to this next year of landscaping work in a big way!
Lately, I have been consumed by starting a landscaping business, too busy to make music or work on my website. I started this new landscaping business and am working now as a designer landscaper in Sacramento. It’s hard work, but certainly pays the bills in a way that I don’t think yoga ever could. The only rich yogis that I’ve ever met are the Jois’ and they have an incredibly tightly run business in Mysore, India.
Landscaping is my Future
I love yoga and I might love making music even more. I am continuing to teach indefinitely, but as I said in my last article, I do have to scale back my yoga teaching from 8 times a week to 5. Teaching 5 yoga classes every week will still give me the opportunity to improve my teaching while doing a full time landscaping gig.
Creation is the Priority
I’ve always loved making stuff. These new planter beds that I have built in old Roseville are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen. I am learning how to create high quality, long lasting landscapes. Learning is my priority and I’ve gotten good at using concrete and also at working with dirt and grading, plants, drains, and the whole process of putting together a nice backyard. But I also bought a guitar recently and have started playing, learning chords, and am going to start learning some songs soon. Even though I am busy, I am busy doing stuff that I love so I always have more energy! Until its time to fall asleep.
The Cost of Artistry
Honestly, life has been completely exhausting lately. I fell asleep at 9:30 on New Years. I had a couple beers, but man I can’t party worth a shit anymore! But I guess thats a good thing! I like waking up early anyways, so heading off to work at 5 or 6 isn’t a big deal at all. Only I have a really hard time staying up later, which is pretty weird for me. I’ve had mild insomnia for as long as I can remember. My New Years resolution is to work on staying up later, so I can have more social fun time! Also, to play a few shows in 2019, something I didn’t get a chance to do in 2018.
Finding Balance between Passions
My yoga practice has actually been revitalized in a big way by landscaping. I need it to take care of my joints and relax my muscles which get overworked on the daily from using power tools and you know, repetitive pounding motions. I think I have found a trifecta of things to do that I love!
Looking Forward to 2019
Expect more landscapes, different mediums of sharing my art and blog articles in 2019! Apologies for not writing in a while, but I’m excited to continue blogging. See you on the yoga mat…
Recently I have come to the revelation that I simply do not have enough time during the day to get the things done that I want to get done. This includes my recently started landscaping business, my music and this blog. So I have decided to do a little bit of scaling back teaching yoga and my yoga instruction schedule.
I want to spend more making things like EDM tracks and working on beautiful landscapes. My creativity is something that I feel I have to cultivate actively. I want to spend more time making things like this vector image below that is now my site logo. I also haven’t gotten as much time as I’d prefer to practice yoga on my own.
As much as I love teaching yoga full-time, it is an enormous time and energy commitment to teach even one class a week. Right now, I am teaching 7. So, I have decided to cut back on how much yoga I instruct namely my Friday evening class in Auburn.
Lately, I have gotten very focused on quality. I am producing less EDM tracks and spending more time with the tracks that I release. FlyBy, my most recent dubstep track, is a result of this. I have also felt the desire to teach fewer classes for quite a while, so that I can get deeper into music and landscaping. The same has happened with my writing.
This is the LAST WEEK I will be teaching the 5PM FLOW @ EW Auburn on Fridays.
We have a new teacher coming in to take over Friday night. I am excited to free up my schedule for more time to DJ and Landscape. Although scaling back teaching yoga is not easy; I am conflicted about it. However, I do think that the East Wind Auburn Community will be very happy with the new teacher. She will be an excellent addition to the studio.
Teaching Yoga is still my passion
Hopefully, I will continue to teach yoga for the rest of my life. But I don’t want to limit myself while I am young and able to do more physically. And let’s be honest, yoga is not the most lucrative endeavor on planet Earth. To survive comfortably as a yoga teacher, I need multiple jobs. That’s why I started landscaping.
Why I Love Landscaping
Back when I first started teaching yoga, I remember getting very discouraged with the state of the world. Most of my frustration stemmed from changes in the climate and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. Landscaping seemed like a good way to create change in this area, and still does. I enjoy choosing plants that will thrive in environments. I try to create miniature sanctuaries for life within the yards that I design. Ideally, all the plants work in unison to support each other. The design and plant selection aspects of landscaping are my favorite!
I missed yoga today (10/24) because I was supposed to be working in the Bay Area
on a big landscaping project. I might have to work on it this Friday(10/26) instead, so if you are planning on coming to my classes on Friday this week, there may be a sub (they will be great, promise!). I don’t like getting subs, but it is unavoidable as I work on this job that requires a good amount of traveling.
Sorry to my students for scaling back yoga teaching, I hope you all understand why!
Breathing is a fundamental act of life. In humans, breath represents the gateway between the mind and the body. Also called ventilation, it is the first action we take when we are born, and the last before we die. The lungs are the primary mover of energy within the body; when stressed, the breathing rate elevates. Yogis and practitioners of meditation are particularly interested in breathing as a way of becoming more aware of the body.
Ideally, a yogi can breath in and out through their nostrils ceaselessly. Some people have physical limitations in their ability to do this, so as always, consideration must be taken the unique deviations of an individual skeleton. The physiological difference between breathing through your nose and through your mouth is tremendous. Clearing your nasal and air passageways can be a simple part of daily maintenance, or caring for the body’s optimal organic function. Yoga is the exercise of “stilling the mind” through the restricted the flow of breath. Using the nostrils is key to that restriction.
The “Energy” Organ
The lungs are a primary source of our energy level. They extract oxygen from the air we breath primarily on the exhale. About 5% more of the oxygen in the air is extracted into our lungs when we exhale through the nostrils as well (air has been measure to enter ~21% and leave ~12% while breathing through the nose | ~21% and leaves at 16% through the mouth).
“When you exercise, carbon dioxide levels increase significantly which alert the chemoreceptors, which subsequently notify the brain’s respiratory center to increase the speed and depth of breathing. This elevated respiration rids the body of excess carbon dioxide and supplies the body with more oxygen, which are needed during aerobic exercise.” (Sarah Novotny and Len Kravitz, Ph.D, UNM, “The Science of Breathing”)
Nose Breathing and the Diaphragm
Because the nostrils are smaller then the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back flow of oxygen during the exhale. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them. They also increase the humidity of the air that travels into the lungs and Similar to closing the end of a teapot, breathing this way creates pressure in the diaphram and allows for a deeper exhale. A more complete exhale activates accessory breathing muscles to the fullest capacity which includes all of the abdominal muscles. All of this occurs muscularly while the sustained, increased oxygen level affect the muscles and nervous system regenerating it and allow the yogi to continue practicing. The key is slowing down the pacing so that the body can sustain its oxygen level.
Let’s look at the different parts of the anatomy involved with breathing.
Muscles involved with Breathing
Latissimus Dorsi (upper back)
Diaphragm – primary breathing muscle
Serratus Muscles (ribs)
QL (lower back)
The bottom of the diaphragm is extremely important as it separates the upper portion of the torso from the lower and assists in the ventilation process. This is key to understanding why full capacity respiration is so important to the human body. Most of the organs lie within the Thorax, or chest cavity, so the lungs have a very complex and interesting relationship to the rest of the organs, especially the organs of the digestive tract.
How your Lungs Affect your Organ Anatomy
Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs. And because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do though the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in. This affects the vital nervous system connections to your lungs and heart. Not breathing well through your nose can alter your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase the intensity and frequency of the human stress response. Many researchers have said that mouth breathing can also be misdiagnosed as ADHD. This is why yoga can be extremely important and useful for children and to alleviate the negative aspects of stress response (cortisol release).
That about does it for the known effects of respiration through the nose, although I’m sure the benefits to the organs, specifically the digestive tract are understated. Share what you know below!
It was almost 4 years ago in India, when I first started learning to write melodies and drum loops. I had downloaded a trial version of Ableton Live, top of the line, modern electronic music production software. At least in little ways, I think I’ve worked on my music each day since I got into my first groove in India. Many times, there isn’t always a computer to write my thoughts down. However, I am almost thinking of some melody or baseline. I also have a deep passion for EDM; I am always listening actively to the music that is around me. Some days I would spend 16 hours in front of the computer making a track, including this one I made in Kathmandu on my 26th birthday (back when I first start producing, this track is over 3 years old!
Electronic Synthesis Techniques
I got into making electronic music because I enjoy the avant-garde nature of modern synthesis and the revolution that is taking place in the music industry as technology evolves. My music evolves with the technology 🙂
Creating modern electronic music with the best tool.
The best example of why Ableton is the top of the line for production is the release of Ableton Live 10 earlier this year. This release drastically changed my production process, as well as added a bunch of new tools to my belt for mixing audio and sound design. It also tremendously increased my efficiency. I also use various virtual synthesizers and analog modeled software to achieve a professional from my computer including Zebra 2, Serum, Sylenth1, Waves plugins, the Izotope Mixing Suite, and the newly acquired Spire. I also use Splice‘s sample libraries for a lot of drum samples and most of my vocals. I am hoping to upgrade to a new computer relatively soon though and start working with more vocalists ASAP! 😀
Make sure you download a free trial from their website to try it out!
3 Finished Albums and counting
I have produced 3 quality albums now that I consider to be good pieces of artwork. I’ve written a lot of singles in between the albums as well and I’m really just trying to continually improve my ability to produce and mix sound, while releasing a decent amount of what I am making. However, my released music is small fraction of what I make; most of the sound design and mixing that I do gets thrown away. Recently I reformatted my computer so all of the sounds from EROS and before are now lost to time. So remember that all of my tracks are pretty highly curated and that I have spent a lot of time browsing through samples to find the ones that resonate.
Other Artists Inspire Me
Modern artists constantly uplift me and inspire me; especially underground artists that are busy making their own sound and their own styles of music. Of the Trees, ToadFace, and G Jones are just a few examples of this kind of unique individuality represented in their music. All three have brand spanking new albums coming out right now, so check em out. Its almost as if they’ve put their personalities into their music.
I very recently released 2 singles
And I am really happy with them. Turn the volume up and play with a subwoofer! They are house/dubstep hybrids, so I hope you are too concerned with genre. My sounds continue to evolve and so does my mixing knowledge and ability to create cool shit! But my mixing ability has drastically improved over the years, which truly makes the difference you can hear as my ability to make modern electronic music has progressed.
I now have a complete virtual studio and pretty much all of the mixing tools that I need for a professional sound!
Check out the latest modern electronic music track that I have mixed and mastered with Izotope plugins:
the E.T. – Blaster [Bass-House]
the E.T. – Current – [Dubstep]
Onward with More Art!
I am learning Adobe Illustrator and will get into after-effects to make music videos. ‘the E.T.’ is on a mission to express some art! This is only the beginning! I have a lot of visuals coming out with my next album, EROS, Part 2, and plan on doing a lot more with my visuals as I get better the modern software used to make them.
Make sure you subscribe to ‘the E.T.’ on Youtube!
Youtube is where I update all of my visuals, so make sure you subscribe to stay updated!
Last weekend I volunteered with my buddy to work as a volunteer to attend a festival called High Sierra Music Festival. It has a great reputation and honestly I had a lot of fun working and meeting people. I worked my volunteer hours for a free ticket mostly before the festival, so got to enjoy the vast majority of the festival without any responsibilities. I just had to work another 5 hours during the weekend to make up for some hours that we skipped on Saturday because my buddy and I got there late… whoops.
High Sierra was a ton of fun because of the people who attended. The bands were just okay, with the exceptions of some of the headliners and late-night acts. I definitely recommend trying High Sierra at least once because you will have a great time with some awesome folks.
We drove up three hours two weekends in a row, no biggie. It’s always priceless to enjoy a ton of new bands and music that I had no idea existed! I’ll tell you about the music and the bands first, then talk about the experience of volunteering at a music festival, then finish off with how the whole weekend turned out. I had a great time though!
These guys blew me away, especially the lead singer, who I assume is Chris Robinson? I felt like I was listening to some early 70s rock band that was never discovered and still toured the country, their stage presence was incredible. Definitely a must see.
On the last night, I got a bit confused about which stage was which and ended up seeing the Chris Robinson Brotherhood on accident, due to thinking that the meadow stage was the grand stage. I ended up getting to see the last 10 minutes of their set on Sunday after leaving Chris Robinson early and they slayed it! Pretty sure they just play ‘f you’ the whole time and creating some incredibly intricate on the fly funk breakdowns with lots of meaningful distortion. Another must see.
Okay so the Floozies were actually one of the only bands that I knew of when I looked at the line-up originally. They were just as good live as they are in the studio, perhaps better because of the lead guitarist, Matt, and his multiple instrumental skills and the ridiculously good rhythm of his drummer brother Mark. Their unique combination of production and live instrumentation is fantastic to watch.
Jam Band is what I’m told they are termed? They had some great guitar solos and some fantastic lights. Well written music for sure, but a bit boring due to the lack of low-end. Would have really loved to see a DJ get involved with their set, but I understand that’s not their thing.
Again excellent music, missing something when it came to the live performance. It was almost as if I was watching a guy at work; he did this all day every day and that to me ceases to be art and gets into commercialism, but anyways, music was fantastically written, in my opinion lacked synthesis to fill out the sound.
Volunteering at a Music Festival
Volunteering was actually a pretty good amount of work, they expected me to work every minute of the 16 hours promised for a ticket. A little bit different from my experience at Lightning in a Bottle in 2014. Expect to wait around a bunch, 50/50 on getting fed and probably have to camp. My buddy and I were actually very well taken care of so thanks High Sierra! We were fed as well, not too shabby, but if we weren’t fed it wouldn’t be worth it imo and I heard that is often the case with volunteering at festivals.
Conclusions from the Weekend at High Sierra Music Festival
I have concluded that I like really good music of any genre. With enough craftsmanship and skill any genre of music can be transcendent. I did realize that jam bands aren’t quite my thing. Though I can appreciate the hell out of the instrumentalism. Lights are also a very important part of a performance for me. Both The Floozies and the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong had great light shows and that truly set them apart from the rest of the bands with the exception of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood who absolutely exceeded any expectations I had for the festival in general with the quality of their music and performance.
High Sierra Music Festival was a great time. I highly recommend waiting for a year with some bands that you like and going out to Quincy to camp for four nights. It was a blast (especially with a free ticket)!