Now, I don’t mean to rub salt on the Sasquatch! wound, but for those of you who didn’t get to attend Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington, I truly feel sorry for you. It was one of those epic experiences that festival-goers will tell their grandchildren about over and over again. Sasquatch! 2010 was three days of pure musical bliss and debauchery.
Founded in 2002, Sasquatch! has boasted impressive line ups, from headliners like Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay and Jane’s Addiction in previous years. Presented by House of Blues, its basically like Coachella, minus all the celebrities, total scorching heat and without Jay-Z. Darn.
Arriving at the Gorge at midnight after a painstaking 13 hours in the car, I had learned a very valuable lesson, to which I would like to share with anyone venturing Stateside for a festival of this grandeur: leave early. I, unfortunately, learned this the hard way.
The massive Memorial Day weekend border line was the least of our problems. Not only does it SUCK waiting two and a half hours in a one lane queue to enter the campsite, but spending another hour attempting to navigate through a field of drunk people to secure a decent location was the cherry on top. Anxious to start having fun like everyone else, it only got better when we were forced set up our tent in torrential downpour at 3 am. Oh, and without a light source, might I add. I.d.i.o.t.s.
The importance of leaving early and being prepared was particularly stressed after noticing our neighbors’ camp grounds; some campers came in school buses, some brought couches, many had beer pong tables set up, some brought badminton nets and a few sites were equipped with full kitchens or fire pits. This experience has made me realize that I can longer live a fulfilled life unless I own a Volkswagen Van ASAP.
Despite the rocky start, camping is definitely the only way to go when attending a music festival. If you can ignore the risk of getting your port-a-potty knocked over with you inside (I am NOT joking, this happened to a girl in our row), camping can be fun. There was a dance party on top of an enormous stack of hay! Where else does that happen?! The experience is unparalleled with the amount of unadulterated excitement of everyone wanting to make friends with everybody else.
Saturday morning rolled around for Day 1. We began the pilgrimage to the Gorge at noon with the thousands of other campers down the dusty trail. Mumford & Sons was the first stop at the Bigfoot stage.
Next was the highly anticipated Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It was nothing short of spectacular. Surely, it was no surprise that the crowd favorite was “Home”. Their set seemed way too short, but then again, there is the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” for a reason. I still can’t get over the fact that the hippie Alex Ebert is the former Ima Robot. Musical genius, I say!
After that I headed over to Broken Social Scene and the Main stage. I wouldn’t have expected less from such professionals. Leslie Feist, sadly, did not make an appearance, much to the dismay of everyone in the crowd. Lisa Lobsinger, however, was fantastic. I’ve never seen anyone with seemingly less stage-presence look so cool on stage.
Since I’m basically the most pale person I know and there were no in and out privileges, by 7 I decided to be a baby and had to finish up the day early with Miike Snow. It was one huge dance party that I just couldn’t get into after hearing Miike Snow’s album on repeat throughout the campsite the entire time.
Sunday. Day 2. Busiest and best day of the festival. Woke up bright and early to catch Caribou at 12. Simply brilliant. Canadian mastermind and former Polaris Prize winner, Dan Snaith played the majority of songs off the new album “Swim”.
Local Natives were right after and were one of my favorites of the weekend. Having waited to see them live for some time, I was not disappointed in the least, despite the slightly off performance of their cover of the Talking Head’s “Warning Signs”. Their set featured the cutest moment of the festival, with guitarist and vocalist Taylor Rice dedicating “Who Knows, Who Cares” to “the love of his life”. Precious.
Next was Tallest Man on Earth, who drew a huge crowd at the Bigfoot stage. I, for one, was alarmed that he was not very tall at all. Nevertheless, he was given extreme attention for just a solo guy with his guitar.
Kid Cudi on the Main stage was the best performance of the entire festival in my opinion. He opened his set with the Jay Z track he’s featured on, “Already Home” and I wanted to die. When he played “Pursuit of Happiness” and my favourite track off Man On The Moon, “Up Up and Away,” I actually lost my mind.
Afterward I headed to the XX, which was also one of my favourites of the weekend. I know, I know, I’ve said that about almost every show, but seriously, their set was impressive. The performance was so clean and precise that it added to the euphoria of the music. They were one of the most interesting to watch, especially the bassist, Oliver Sim, who is simultaneously the freakiest and coolest person I’ve ever seen.
Girls followed at the same stage for the most tranquil and serene show of the day. They didn’t draw a huge crowd as they were at the same time as LCD Soundsystem, but I didn’t mind. It made for a nice intimate performance.
Following was the long awaited Pavement. I know tons of people who went solely for this, so my expectations were high. It was good, but it did have it’s flaws. With various technical difficulties, which stopped the performance once or twice, and the longest set ever, (they played an extra thirty minutes) it wasn’t the best.
The night ended with a total bang with Public Enemy. I’m not even joking when I say that witnessing Flava Flav in the flesh has changed my life. Seeing the infamous clock and hearing Fight The Power was epic.
Day 3. Monday. I will refer to this final day of the festival as the Day Where I Wished I Was Someone Else. I say this, because the day began with Phantogram. I now have a total girl crush on Sarah Bartel. What a babe. The amount of energy was refreshing for the first show of the day.
I went to Telekenesis at the Yeti stage next. It drew a small crowd, but it was just wonderful. It made me reminiscent of last summer and excited for the one to come. It finished early though, so I managed to catch the last half of Passion Pit. It was much better then when I saw them in April at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, which I wasn’t that impressed with. Frontman, Michael Angelakos’ performance and the order of the songs may have had something to do with that.
Next was part two of the I Hate My Life Day, aka Zooey Deschannel in real life for She & Him. I’ve loved her since seeing her in Almost Famous, so this was huge for me. I don’t think there was a single person in the audience that didn’t want to marry her or be her. She is perfect. Seriously. It isn’t fair. Oh, M. Ward was pretty great too. They even played an M. Ward song, much to my delight.
Afterward I saw Band of Horses. They were average. I really don’t have anything to say, other than that.
I spent the rest of the evening in the Rumpus Room, formerly the dance tent. I first saw Hudson Mohawke, who killed it, followed by the mind blowing Neon Indian. So great! Tracks like “Deadbeat Summer” were so fun to dance to. It was also Part 3 in my Girl Crush Day because of the tiny keyboardist, Leanne Macomber.
To end the festival on the highest note was Boys Noize. The most fun, for sure. People were going crazy! I think everyone in the festival was crammed into that small tent. I was the most sweaty I think I’ve ever been in my entire life!
Sasquatch! was easily the highlight of my year, thus far. Even beating last year’s festival (I only attended one day). Sure, it had it’s disappointments. The freezing cold nights being one of them. Another being City and Colour canceling and being replaced by Mt St Helen’s Band, because Dallas Green has been diagnosed with pneumonia, but that’s okay because I’ve seen him in concert upwards of 6 times. I was gutted to miss acts due to scheduling conflicts like Patrick Watson, Laura Marling, The National and Massive Attack, among others. And I really wish I had seen some of the comedic acts like Darryl from the Office (aka Craig Robinson). Regardless, I feel satisfied with all the talented musicians I had the pleasure of watching. Seriously, next year, you should go.
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