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As a transplant to California from the Midwest, I will always place extraordinary value on seasonal events. For those who grow up in the Midwest, the varied seasonal climates instill the importance of taking advantage of seasonal fun. For once the season ends, it will be another year before it returns. In the fall, the brisk nights and changing of the leaves are what many people refer to as “football weather”.  Winter months are fueled by the motivation to complete the indoor projects that were abandoned the previous spring. When the Midwestern winter breaks and spring takes hold, all is possible—aside from avoiding the mud. It’s the summer months the bring many of my favorite activities: swimming in rivers, camp-outs,4-wheeling, concerts, and visits to all sorts of picturesque places of natural wonderment.

When the opportunity came to do all of my favorite summer activities at once, I was all over it. This opportunity came in the form of the Mountain Vibe Music Gathering ( in Soda Springs, August 10th – 12th, 2012 at Shinneyboo Creek Resort ( along a breathtaking stretch of the South Yuba River.

With a vehicle full of camping gear, and a brief stop to purchase what I considered a cheap ticket ($75 for 3 nights camping and over 20 bands) from Rooster at the ZuhG Life store, in Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza, I was on my way uphill to MVMG. Having never attended MVMG, I had no idea what to expect; all I knew was that a friend had spoken highly of it. However, just knowing that I could ignore most of my responsibilities for a few days was enough to set the mood.

Beaming like a lighthouse, I gladly handed over my ticket and received a warm welcome and instructions on locating a camping spot. Once I found my spot, my camp was essentially set-up. I had decided against bringing a tent would be sleeping in my SUV on a nice flat surface. With camp set-up and flashlight in my pocket (I knew I wouldn’t be back to camp prior to sundown) I headed for the stage, thoroughly ready to take in some live music.

The Friday night special guests were as excited as anybody for the MVMG to begin. The Human Will cut the mountain vastness with his hypnotic melodies, and by the time Lazy Boy Troy left the stage, the crowd was worked to a near frenzy. The Friday night acts did the job of priming the attendees for the festivities yet to come.

When enjoying the great outdoors, morning always seems to come early. I was up with the sun, and took full advantage of enjoying the mountain morning—the calm before the storm. As I watched the stage get changed over and helped lift some speakers into place (the shear mass indicated to me the good times to come) I knew that Shinneyboo Creek Resort was going to be rocking.

The acts Saturday did not disappoint, given the energy being emitted by the audience. Neither the heat, nor Friday’s late night, would discourage the vibers.

After several hours of lapping up jams from Massive Delicious and grooving to the funky sounds of ZuhG, I allowed myself to give into the idea of a swim. Just a few hundred yards down the trail I came to the South Yuba River and a spectacular setting only the high sierras can offer. This cool mountain river and majestic setting worked dually to refresh my body and soul. Now rejuvenated, I headed uphill and returned to the sounds and smells (I had my mind set on BBQ’d ribs) of the gathering.

As Saturday night came to a crescendo, the mountain really started to vibe. The evening was topped off with killer performances by Forrest Day and Lyrics Born. Far from done, the vibe of the MVMG spilled over to the campfires, and the sounds of merriment continued filling the forest until the hours just before dawn.

Fully expecting to head home on Sunday, I moseyed back to the stage area early that morning to see what I could see. I was surprised at the relative cleanliness (relative in the sense that the property was absolutely pristine upon arrival) considering the amount of party goers the same area had housed hours earlier. In fact, throughout the Mountain Vibe Music Gathering, I witnessed numerous attendees, artists, and staff, (even Moose, a golden retriever, whom I witnessed enjoying a gigantic portion of something tasty) taking part in keeping the forest tidy.

Once the music started Sunday, I knew it would be another day before I could leave this special event and majestic place. So, after a few breakfast burritos and a “thank you” to the vendor, I decided to remedy the issue of not having spent enough time at the river on Saturday. When I returned to camp to gear up for the river, I was informed that my neighbors/new found friends (we had shared a pot-luck dinner the evening before) had the same idea. Together we spent a great portion of the day with many other vibers swimming the South Yuba River like blissful otters. My decision to stay the entirety of Sunday had already paid profits of pleasure ten-fold, and my re-emersion into the music brought further returns in the same currency. A rocking set by The Stone Foxes was all I required as a final night-cap, and a rocking set was definitely delivered.

Morning came. Pleasantries and goodbyes were exchanged. Friendships and memories were made. Those in attendance had the same sentiments— “See-ya next year.”

After giving MVMG a three-day test run (and loving the entire experience) I couldn’t wait to find out more. When I got the chance to talk with Allen Drachman and Annessa Hortey from Mountain Vibe Entertainment (, which does all the party and event booking at Shinneyboo Creek Resort, I felt lucky.

What I really wanted to know was if there was to be a 4th MVMG. I was elated to hear an enthusiastic “Oh hell yeah.” from Allen. I asked them how MVMG got started. “It was a campfire dream…which grew from grass roots.” Allen told me. And grown it has. This year, the attendance was estimated around 700. “As is, we could handle around 1,200 with the stage in the current location.” Annessa said. “We’re just building.” said Allen. That being said, the 160 acre property at Shinneyboo Creek Resort looks as if it could support more than 10,000 guests.

When asked if the 3rd annual MVMG was considered a success, the responses were immediate. “Of course,” said Allen “I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have great people be a part of this… we had no altercations at all.” Annessa said that she also “considers it a great success.” I agree.

Stay tuned to the Mountain Vibe Entertainment website for dates for the next MVMG and a possible Rocktoberfest. Stella Natura is coming up next month on September 21-23rd, 2012.

If you would like to check out some of the music from this year’s MVMG head to where the event was broadcasted live and will be replaying it on the air.

Words John Wheeker