Rock the Mountain at Pinetop-Lakeside’s
High Mountain Music Festival

By Dave Cooper

August 4th, come rain or shine, the High Mountain Music Festival in the quaint White Mountain hamlet of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona will be happening full speed ahead. You can break away from the scorching Valley heat, assured that a day packed with live music, food, arts & crafts and mountain scenery awaits you. The official festival kicks off on August 4th at 11:00 am and goes to 10:00 pm. The pre-festival Kickoff Party will be held on Saturday August 3rd at the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber Office. After the special Kickoff Party on Friday August 3rd, the festival gets underway on Saturday from 11:00am to 10:00pm.

This year’s High Mountain Music Festival theme is “Cool Tunes, Brews, Food and Art.” Festival headliners are the multiple award-winning Phoenix based band The Sugar Thieves, performing on August 4th. High Mountain MusicfestThere’s a jam-packed day of entertainment for all ages. Advance tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the gate. HIgh school students with ID’s and children under 12 are admitted free. Some ticket packages may still be available.

On festival day, August 4th, live music will resonate throughout this outdoor, open-air festival. Nine different bands will provide a wide variety of musical styles. This year’s festival food specialty is Food-on-a-Stick. Another culinary highlight is an open competition to create a classic comfort food for the Macaroni & Cheese Bake Off Contest from 1:00 to 2:00pm, with a $5 entry fee. There will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Tasters Choice Awards. Demonstrations and sales of fine arts & crafts will be presented by the Arts Alliance of the White Mountains. And the traditional beer gardens and beverage stations will dot the festival.

The High Mountain Music Festival Kickoff Party begins Friday August 3rd at 5:00pm, featuring a live performance from Ryan David Orr. He presents a variety of music covering multiple genres. His music gravitates toward the roots side of things with folk and indie influences. On Saturday, Orr will do an encore performance. Saturday’s events will be held on the soccer grounds at the Mountain Meadow Recreation Center.

On festival day, bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle in for lots of great music. Prescott favorites Big Daddy D and the Dynamites load up next at noon, delivering high-energy R&B originals and cover tunes. Big Daddy D and the Dynamites captured the Arizona Blues Showdown title in 2007, earning an invitation to the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Shifting the musical mood and texture, the Franklin Girls will perform at 1:15pm. Popular local entertainers around Pinetop-Lakeside, these young sisters, Annelisa (13) and Adriana (17), present what they call “New School Pop with a touch of early sixties tossed in, to add a little Roll to the Rock.” Another all-female Arizona-based band, Arrowheart, follows at 2:15pm to entertain the audience with their distinctive brand of Country Pop sounds.

Going another musical direction, the 2 X 4 Tuba Quartet takes the stage at 3:15pm for what should be a rousing performance of tuba sounds. Tempe’s Darkness Dear Boy moves onto the stage at 4:30pm. They describe their sound as “alternative music mixed with reggae, punk & honkytonk.” From nearby Show Low, hitting the stage at 5:45pm, the Quarter Moon Band will recapture an up-tempo rhythm, laying down their trademark mix described as “Classic Rock, Country-Rock and Blues blended with a little bit of R&B and Motown.” From Mesa, the Mending Seed hits the stage at 7:00pm. A few years back, when a request for original music contributions from new artists came from the producers of Twilight, Mending Seed songwriter Kristin “Frass” Coppee submitted the song “Don’t Walk Away.” Although it wasn’t selected for the soundtrack, it received many YouTube hits and inspired Coppee to continue writing and performing.

Closing out the festival, The Sugar Thieves fire things up at 8:15pm. Known for showcasing what they describe as “a sultry blues roots foundation, and powerhouse delta sound that will take you back in time,” vocalist Meredith Moore more than does the description justice. She is an impressive singer, belting out songs with a natural gift perfectly suited to The Sugar Thieves blues and roots music. Back-to-back 2008 and 2009 “best blues band in the state” winners of the coveted Phoenix Blues Society’s Arizona Blues Showdown, the Sugar Thieves have also represented Arizona in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2009 and 2010. Grooving to the Sugar Thieves is a primo way to close out this event.

Local lodging is available, including $20 camping accommodations near the festival site. Click here for more information. Also, throughout this pretty mountain community you’ll find great dining, shopping, and plenty of outdoor sightseeing. To find out ticket info, directions, venue locations and what you’re allowed to bring in the festival, go to the High Mountain Music Festival website.
Festival schedule.