Not everything goes according to plan. For instance, one doesn’t plan on being stuck on a mountain pass for multiple hours en route to a music festival. But sometimes, lane closures happen. We should have brought a cooler (I’ll get back to that in a minute). Although the drive took significantly longer than we anticipated and much longer then Waze predicted, the drive was still beautiful. As we got closer to the Gorge and started to see more and more windmills, we started to have the familiar feeling of driving to Coachella at the Empire Polo Fields. As our minds wandered back to the awesome times we’ve had at Coachella, our anticipation and excitement steadily grew for the Sasquatch Music Festival with every passing mile.
When we finally arrived at the Gorge, we were fully ready to experience all that Sasquatch had to offer. We grabbed a carafe, yes a whole carafe, of wine (nice touch Sasquatch) and set out to enjoy the festival. The people watching was awesome, and although we were surprised that there weren’t more people in attendance, those who were there were having the time of their lives. The grassy hill overlooking the Main Stage provides an excellent place to watch from afar, chill with friends, take a break after some hard core dance moves, and/or get to know a special someone you've just met. The vibe of the grassy seating area reminded us of the Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. The weather, music, and wine were all amazing.
The setup of the venue was terrific. All the stages are so close to each other compared to other festivals we’ve attended. It was really easy to see all of your favorite artists if you put in the effort and had a plan. Sasquatch also did an amazing job of limiting conflicts in the lineup – sometimes a major negative of attending a larger festival. We didn’t experience any issues with long lines or having to wait for anything either, and almost everywhere at the venue provided a great view of the stages. As far as the music goes, here are some of our highlights: Flint Eastwood, The Head and The Heart, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, and LCD SoundSystem.
Jax Anderson of Flint Eastwood brought the energy and she really engaged with her fans. The up and coming Indie star lyricized about her gritty hometown, which painted vivid pictures of her version of the “Real Detroit." She kept her set fun and lively and the stage in the El Chupacabra tent was the perfect fit for the set. Watching Flint Eastwood perform, it’s easy to understand why they are going to keep becoming more and more special.
It was also great to see The Head and the Heart so close to their original stomping grounds. The band is from Seattle and they gave a huge tribute to the late Chris Cornell– RIP. They talked to the crowd about the time they covered one of Soundgarden’s songs in their basement, only to have himself come down and listen, offering critiques. The sun was setting during their set which made it even more special as they covered Temple of the Dog- Hunger Strike – it was a chilling moment to hear that song and to reminisce the memory of such a great. Behind the Sasquatch (Main) Stage, where The Head and the Heart were performing, there's an incredible view of the Columbia River, and when live music is accompanying that view... prepare yourself for a once in a lifetime sunset. To make it even more special, off to the left side of the main stage is a bar with a platform over the cliffs that gives a crystal clear view of the Columbia River and the side of the Main Stage. This provides one of the most unique drink experiences of any festival we’ve ever attended.
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires did not disappoint. Bradley came out with so much swag, it was hard to take your eyes off of him. He’s a funky, soulful character with unbelievable dance moves for his age. He can swing his hips and pop down to the ground and back up faster than most 20 somethings. We’re happy he’s healthy again and touring. If you get the chance to see him, make sure you don’t pass it up.
Last, but certainly not least, LCD Soundsystem. What a treat to hear them perform their two new songs live! Their disco ball and set were amazing as always, and the acoustics at the Gorge make great music even better. The bass was so perfect during LCD’s song, “I Can Change”, it was as if the disco ball was having its own private dance party. James Murphy, who's awkwardly cool on stage, gave fans some great news while he was performing. He informed the crowd that their new album is done and should be available in about six weeks. I’m going to reemphasize, this is great news! The set list they played was on point, perfectly blending all their older hits with some their new tracks that will be on the upcoming album. The crowd was pumped up and there was even a T-Rex watching the show. “New York I Love You” really did it for us because the backdrop during the song created an incredible ambiance.
Now, I know you have all been wondering what this has to do with coolers and things not always going as planned and I’m finally going to tell you. Since we were stuck in traffic for so long and forgot our cooler, our food, particularly our salami, started to get really warm. Turns out the danger zone is a real thing. Clarissa ate some of the Salami after Friday’s show and got food poisoning early the next morning. We tried to tough it out but ultimately had to go back to Seattle. It was a bummer for sure, but we are glad that we got to experience and can’t wait for next year.
If you're looking for a unique, non-hectic festival with a great crowd and awesome camping, do yourself a favor and get some tickets to next years festival! Thanks Sasquatch for an incredible show at an unbelievable venue!
Written by Daniel De Vries and Clarissa Wong. All photos by Daniel De Vries.