When my friend Aaron suggested a group of us get together and mass exodus to the Pacific Northwest for the Sasquatch Music Festival, an Indie Rock festival held in the middle of nowheresville, Washington State, I was dubious. I’m 27 years old and not well-known among my friends as an outdoor enthusiast.
It’s not that I hate the outdoors. I like walking outside. I like eating in the sunlight. I really enjoy a time on the beach. However, my times outside are always book-ended by a shower and a nice warm & soft bed.
You see most of the people who go to the Sasquatch Music Festival are a special breed of hyperactive, crunchy hipsters mostly found in the Pacific Northwest. I’m a southern transplant in New England who believes in air-conditioning.
I’d love to be the type of girl who could just throw on a t-shirt, take a sponge bath and forget all my cares and worries in a pair of skinny jeans and day-glow colored shirt. However, I’m not like that and my friends who were like that aren’t like that anymore.
That’s why we rented a gorgeous rental house right on the Columbia River in Vantage Washington. While thousands of Spokane kids were rocking the shanty camp towns and rocking the Honey Bucket, my friends were sleeping comfortably in our real beds, cooking Pancakes every morning and soaking in the Hot Tub every night while watching the stars.
After several nights of this posh and cushy festival experience, I soon realized that my relative comfort wasn’t the only reason I felt that Sasquatch was the festival for people like me (read: Old Indie Rockers). While the Sasquatch Festival has its fair share of younglings who threw massive costume parties in honor of Passion Pit and MGMT, I felt quite at home there, too. You see, old indie rockers like me… we still like to kick back and slum it with the kiddos every now and then, too! Sure our insides don’t take the PBR like the used to and we don’t always throw ourselves into the pit and stay there dancing for hours, but we know our fucking music. Fortunately, the perks of Sasquatch don’t just stop with the killer line up.
1.) The Gorge – You may read a hundred blogs before your first Sasquatch experience, but none of them can praise the location of this venue enough. After watching a few shows on the Main stage, I was almost tempted to stay there all weekend just so I could spend more time enjoying the view.
2.) Sandwiches for all! Unlike other Music festivals like Coachella (where sneaking in packs of Beef Jerky is like the Underground Railroad), at Sasquatch all you have to do is pack yourself a wonderful lunch in a clear plastic bag. Every morning our team of Sasquatchers would wake up and make a lunch feast that would last us through 12 hours of music. A gallon size plastic bags will store a lot of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, power bars and cookies. We avoided the $9 dollar chicken strips for all three days and judging from the nastiness you can’t avoid in the Honey Buckets, our insides weren’t as wrecked as those unfortunate Sasquatchers who weren’t packing their own lunches. There are some things you can’t unsee, people.
3.) People in the Pacific Northwest are Happy – It takes a flinty New England to make a blanket statement like that, but people in the Pacific Northwest are just happier than anywhere else in the country. Following my blanket statement, I’m going to make an uninformed assumption and guess that people in the Pacific Northwest are happier because they aren’t afraid to fill their landscape with wind farms. They also have the most delicious cherries I’ve ever tasted. Their farmers markets are better. They aren’t always cold.
4.) A smaller festival means it’s easy to hop from Gig to Gig – The stages were absurdly close together which meant that it was incredibly easy to bounce from band to band. I heard a lot of rumors that there was a lot of bleeding/sound issues at Sasquatch. Yes, there were some sound problems (Public Enemy’s set got the brunt of the sound fail) but I didn’t have any issues with stages causing sound to bleed.
5.) Proximity to Seattle & Portland & Vancouver. If you’re looking to get to know the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy to plan a nearly perfect vacation with Sasquatch on the itinerary. If you haven’t been to Seattle or Portland, they’re easily two of my most favorite cities with some of the best food, culture, and art opportunities. If you need an excuse to finally get to see what that area of the country is all about, Sasquatch is the perfect reason to do it.
6.) Chance to see quality indie acts without having to foot the bill for Jay-Z or Muse or some other crap band that needs a lot of money.
Big names cost big money. However, I often feel that by the time a band or musician has “made it big” the quality of their music has seriously deteriorated. At Sasquatch, I didn’t feel like there were any acts just “doing the festival circuit”; many of the bands (with the exception of Steven Malkumus who decided to have a hissy fit during Pavement’s set) were seriously happy to be at the Gorge. I remember one point during Broken Social Scene’s set, Kevin Drew shouted to the crowd of very happy concert-goers, “LOOK AT WHERE YOU ARE! YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO BE HERE.”
….and that’s pretty much why I’m a Sasquatch loyalist now. I can’t wait to go next year because something tells me that this won’t be the last year with a killer line up.