Woollystar Music Festival returns to High Sierra

Ismay will be performing at Woollystar Music Festival 2023.
Provided / Evan Lanam

MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. — Ringing in the summer season, the Woollystar Music Festival is returning to the High Sierra for its second year.

Hosted at the Woollystar Ranch in Markleeville, Woollystar Music Festival is an intimate and immersive weekend-long festival that will offer live folk, bluegrass, country, and psych-rock music. 

Held in California’s smallest county, Alpine County, the founders of the music festival were inspired to create an inclusive experience for event goers to immerse in the High Sierra region with live music, film, onsite camping, locally sourced food and drinks, and daily events and activities. 

Growing up herself with a passion for music, Avery Hellman, Woollystar Music Festival coordinator, was inspired to bring an immersive festival to the area from her background. 

Ismay is one of the performers at the Woollystar Music Festival 2023.
Provided / Ismay

“I grew up at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which my grandfather Warren Hellman started,” Hellman said. “When he passed away in 2011, I began performing with his band, did some work at the festival, and started doing my own events, including a small festival called the Sonoma Mountain Music Festival in Petaluma.”

Upon Hellman’s entry into the festival scene a decade ago, she has plunged into all areas of the music business. With her knowledge over the years, she has joined forces with Daniel Strickland, an artist and event manager who produces the Real Neato Music Festival in Sonoma County, to bring the Woollystar Music Festival to the High Sierra region. 

With the powerful collaboration between Hellman and Strickland, they are eager to bring the Woollystar Music Festival to Markleeville for event goers for the second year. While the event is a festival, Hellman is adamant that the festival will provide a “genuine experience.” 

Chuck Prophet at Woollystar Music Festival in 2022.
Provided / Evan Lanam

“People need more meaningful experiences in their life, and artists need more opportunity to share the work they’ve created,” Hellman said. “I wanted to make an event that feels more intimate and special for attendees, where people can experience great music without the crowds or excessive hype. I want the festival to feel genuinely enjoyable.”

The weekend will host 12 artists, including The Brothers Comatose as the main event headliner. Hellman’s band, Ismay, will also be performing at the festival. Along with live music, the event will be hosting a film screening of SPACE HAPPY: Phil Thomas Katt and the Uncharted Zone, a documentary on an eccentric Florida artist, as well as inclusive events such as nature walks, restorative yoga, and song circles throughout the weekend for event goers to enjoy. The event is also hosting food provided by Out West Cafe with gluten-free and vegetarian options available; and a full-service bar provided by and benefitting the Alpine Watershed Group and Alpine Trails Association.  

The festival is also offering onsite camping at Woollystar Ranch in Markleeville, where both RV campsites and car campsites will be available for additional purchase. 

Ismay will be performing at Woollystar Music Festival 2023.
Provided / Evan Lanam

Ahead of the event, Hellman and the Woollystar Music Festival team are eager to kick off the weekend festivities, and bring this event back to the High Sierra community. 

“Woollystar will have an intimate crowd, in a beautiful, natural landscape along the west fork of the Carson River,” Hellman said. “We can’t wait to bring this event to the community and provide unique experiences to all who want to join. It’s a one-of-a-kind event, in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, with one-of-a-kind people.”  

Tickets are available for the entire weekend, as well as for individual day purchase for Friday and Saturday. Woollystar Music Festival begins at noon Friday, June 16, and the weekend will conclude at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 18. Tickets can be purchased for the festival on, as well as are available for in-person purchase at the Markleeville General Store. 

For more information on the music festival, visit

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