(Erika Tooker) The Schellraiser Music Festival will take place June 1 - 3 near the small town of Ely, Nevada. The headliners include Dinosaur Jr., Blonde Redhead, Asleep At The Wheel, The Joy Formidable, Blitzen Trapper, Murder By Death and more. Bands will play in one of the most stunning high-desert landscapes in North America, surrounded by the majestic Schell Creek Mountain range, for which the fest is named.
This is the second year for the micro-fest -- the first seeing Old 97's, Houndmouth, Shannon Shaw, BRONCHO and more than 25 other bands perform at the remote McGill Pool Park three hours southwest of Salt Lake City. With much smaller crowds than most festivals average, Schellraiser 2022 offered festivalgoers and bands alike a rare chance to interact and engage with each other in a unique natural setting, at an event where the focus was squarely on the music. Event founder Rudy Herndon says, "Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller announced that the lineup was probably the best-curated one he'd ever seen, and guitarist Ken Bethea paid us the ultimate compliment by comparing the overall vibe to that of Marfa, Texas."
Schellraiser was created and is curated by Herndon, who has lived in the area off and on since 2006, and is passionate about bringing more culture to Eastern Nevada's Steptoe Valley.
Herndon has always been a massive music fan, with wide and varied tastes from Hall & Oates to Alice Coltrane to Mercury Rev. He wanted to help promote more live music events locally, so in 2019, he walked away from his career as a journalist and dug in to make the inaugural Schellraiser happen. He says the vibe "reflects our love of alternative and independent music, from country to cumbia, punk to pop and soul to psychedelia."
His biggest inspiration to start a fest was born after visiting Texas, when he attended the Trans Pecos Festival of Music + Love in Marfa, for two years in a row. He saw the potential to do something similar in rural Eastern Nevada -- a place that has many things in common with Far West Texas, but is arguably even more spectacular. "I wanted to create a different kind of smaller-scale event that's inclusive and welcoming and joyful -- and free from the kinds of crowds, trends, social pressures and pretensions that plague larger-scale festivals." Herndon says the festival's small size not only encourages greater interaction among festivalgoers; it also minimizes impacts from traffic, overcrowding and waste.
To further reduce impacts on local traffic, the festival is partnering with the Ely Shoshone Tribe's Tsaa Nesunkwa Cannabis Dispensary to offer free rides on board the one-and-only Canna-Bus. The perfectly named bus will be shuttling festivalgoers between the festival venue and the tribe's dispensary, along with other stops in Ely and at Schellraiser's 80-acre campground.
In keeping with Schellraiser's goals to build a more sustainable event, the festival's off-grid campground is home to the largest private solar power array in the surrounding area. A solar battery storage system keeps the lights on at 10 developed camping sites long after the sun goes down each day.
Beyond Schellraiser, Herndon is also hoping to jump-start the culture through the restoration of the historic and long-abandoned McGill Theater near Ely. The mixed-use project aims to restore the main auditorium for movie screenings, concerts and other special events, while eventually creating a smaller second auditorium for screenings of classic, international, indie and arthouse movies.
Full Line Up
Asleep At The Wheel
The Secret Sisters
West Texas Exiles
The Two Tracks
The Joy Formidable
Death Valley Girls
Frankie And The Witch Fingers
The Plastic Cherries
Murder By Death
The 40 Acre Mule
Joshua Ray Walker
Jenny Don't And The Spurs
White Rose Motor Oil
Noelle & The Deserters
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