This year’s Guitarfish Festival is scheduled for Aug. 1 to 3 at the Cisco Grove Campgrounds. Founder Brent A. Dana and organizer Zebuel Early shared their insider tips and fun facts about the rootsy, local music festival with an environmental twist. Get the inside scoop, check out the schedule of musical performers, pack your camping (and dancing) gear, and head out to the fourth annual Guitarfish Festival for a weekend of music and dancing in the mountains. ∼ Ashley Owen/Moonshine Ink

Brent A. Dana’s 10 Quick Facts

1. Intimate Vibe: Enjoy the warm, friendly, and laid-back environment, balanced by a little bit of festival sexiness.


2. Diversity: Dance to a wide variety of awesome music, featuring up-and-coming artists from all over the country (see line-up to the right).

3. Family Friendly: Bring the kiddos to the Starfish Kid’s Area with music, activities like arts and crafts, hula-hooping, and nearby family camping.

4. Blue is the New Green: Support the festival’s goal of raising awareness of overfishing and pollution in the ocean, and helping to protect valuable freshwater resources.

5. Location, Location: Camp in Cisco Grove, a hidden jewel in the Sierra at 5,100 feet. Grounds are conveniently located right off I-80 with ample power and fresh water on site.

6. Mountain Biking: Take the daily free shuttle from Cisco Grove to the Hole in the Ground bike trailhead. Feel the rush on the 17-mile downhill trail, and then pedal your way back to the festival site (reserve your spot on the shuttle early, email

7. Great Outdoors: Take a hike or go on a four-wheeler expedition from the campground to any of the numerous lakes just north of Cisco Grove. Make your way to the top of Signal Peak for a bird’s eye view overlooking the campground (visit for details).

8. Show Off: Performances are paired with spectacular light shows, lasers, and moving lights that Dana described as “really off the hook.”

9. Swimming: The South Fork of the Yuba provides a series of pools on the south end of festival grounds. Warm up dancing and then take the easy walk to a refreshing dip in the cool flowing waters.

10. Yoga and Art: Interactive Burning Man art is on display all weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, join yoga and meditation classes with Andrea Brook, who pairs her practice with music from an earth harp called the Sonic Butterfly. (What is an earth harp? Watch a performance here.)

Zebuel Early’s Inside Scoop

1. Guitarfish is experienced enough in its third year to have all the bases covered: good music, good vibes, good art, good organization, good vendors, good food, good camping, and other outdoor activities. Because it’s a fresh event with new energy, it provides a unique opportunity to witness a festival before it gets too big. Imagine attending High Sierra in its early years. Any attendees of a previous Guitarfish will attest to the fact that this event is truly unique.

2. What really makes this festival unique is our dedication to the ocean and our aim to raise money and awareness to protect our seas and make sure fishing is done with future generations in mind. “Blue is the new green” is our motto.

3. I’ve never been to a festival where everybody is one. Many festivals leave guests on one side of the fence and artists backstage. Throughout the Guitarfish weekend, the guests and artists have an opportunity to really get to know each other and create one-on-one experiences.

4. This festival is so conveniently close to Tahoe that one-day trips are easy. If you forget something, it’s a short drive back to grab it. If you have to cover a shift at work, it’s no problem to go work and come back. It’s literally right up the road from Donner Summit.

5. Don’t forget your swimwear, sunscreen, a comfy chair to relax in, hammocks, an acoustic guitar, Frisbee, fun clothes for the evening, good food and drinks, and gifts for fellow campers.


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