BottleRock, High Sierra, Outside Lands, First City and... Hickey? That's right, there's another Bay Area festival centered around music on the horizon, but that's about where the similarities end.
You won't find any corporate sponsorships or VIP sections at Hickey Fest 2014. Also, don't count on perusing rows of familiar food trucks or catching a shuttle back to your plush hotel room. No sir, Hickey Fest is held in the Standish Hickey State Park, roughly 200 miles north of S.F. Referred to as the "gateway to the tall trees country," Hickey Park surrounds the south fork of the Eel River.
At its core, Hickey Fest is about community. "I do a lot of bike riding, and I've done a couple bike tours down from Portland," festival organizer Ash Reiter tells me. The Peg House, a local music venue, is a stopping point right before the largest hill on the route; Reiter knew it would be the perfect setting for a new kind of festival. "Everybody stops there and collects themselves," she says. "You end up with this community of people that are all on the same pace."
Reiter established Hickey Fest last year "as a way to solidify my music scene a little more and give all the musicians a chance to meet each other." While most of the bands performing are already at least acquaintances, Reiter points out that "it's hard to become tight friends when you're in a rock club that's blaring music all the time."
The bulk of this year's lineup (with over 35 bands) is comprised of local favorites -- Sonny & the Sunsets, Papercuts, Foxtails Brigade, DRMS, The Blank Tapes and Ash herself -- but it also features out-of-towners Chris Cohen (Vermont) and Graves from Portland, not to mention the national touring act Allah-Las. It's an enticing docket of performers, especially considering a three-day pass goes for only $75 (and includes camping). "I've had several bands be pretty gracious... knowing that this is going to be a cool event and making it happen for what we can do," grants Reiter.