I think we can all agree the modern-day music festival is a unique experience. Whether you’ve been to one, or spent a weekend worried about your 18-year-old daughter at Coachella, we all have some sort of preconceived notion about what goes on at a music festival, but do any of your conceptions about these fests involve bingo? For that reason, you might be surprised to hear that the Tahoe-born event The Great Bingo Revival is gaining national traction and most recently landed a slot at central California-based music festival Lighting in a Bottle. LIB is located a little inland between Big Sur and San Louis Obispo.

You may be thinking, bingo? Like the game your grandmother plays Tuesday nights at the Rec Center, bingo?

Same game, different atmosphere. The Great Bingo Revival, also known by its more PG-13 rated nickname of Blackout Bingo, is the brainchild of Rusty Reams and friends, who in 2012 hosted the first event at Jakes on the Lake in Tahoe City. Seven years later the show — which Reams describes as being a 1970s, funky, soul-train themed party that uses bingo as a medium — has taken place in California, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, and on a cross-country Southwest Airlines flight.


“We’re a Tahoe artist collective bringing the pure zest of Tahoe life all across the nation,” Reams said. “Our passion for life is shown through our passion for bingo.”

It’s not all fun and games for this Tahoe crew who has organized events for the Truckee Rotary Club, benefits, 7-year-old birthday parties, and corporate events for Google and YouTube. Their monthly event at Alibi Ale Works benefits the Tahoe Waldorf School. The gang also performs every Thursday at the Auld Dubliner during peak Tahoe seasons and has a show on April 20 at The Saint in Reno.

Each show is interactive, encouraging you to come dressed up, join the game, and maybe even win some totally random prizes you never knew you wanted. So, if you’re wondering if Lighting in a Bottle is right for you, try checking out some of the events mentioned above. As Rusty says, “Play hard, bingo hard.”


  • Ally Gravina

    Ally Gravina is a freelance journalist and former Moonshine editor based in Graeagle. She has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in arts and culture reporting.

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