Okay, so "we" doesn't really translate to "respected members of the music community" and actually just means "my floormate Michael and I" - regardless, it's hard to find a shorter, more accurate description of what it is. With music festival season looming upon us, concert-goers may be wondering which one is deserving of attendance. There's certainly a handful of well-known festivals to pick from, though the first few that come to mind each have their own drawbacks.
Tennessee's Bonnaroo just recently released its lineup, while Chicago's Lollapalooza has yet to do the same. But unless you live in the area of the two, you probably don't want to venture all the way out across the country to hit up either.
SoCal has the pleasure of hosting Coachella, which features a myriad of big-name acts this year. But even with an unprecedented second weekend added, it still managed to sell out in a heartbeat. Bay Area locals could also consider Outside Lands, but who really wants to wait until late August?
This is where we go back to the indie kid Christmas.
Held annually every Memorial Day Weekend (this year, May 25 - 28) and elbowing its way into the high ranks of music festivals, Washington State's very own Sasquatch! Music Festival qualifies as music festival perfection, and here's why:
It's Almost Too Pretty
Just a road trip away, the Pacific Northwest has its many perks (yes, even despite the rain) and the Gorge Amphitheatre is one of its most prized possessions. Founded in George, Washington (shout-out to wordplay and our nation's first president!), the Gorge is a venue favorite among touring artists, and it's easy to understand why. With pleasant May weather and a location overlooking the Columbia River, the Gorge offers sweeping views of the Columbia Gorge Canyon as a concert backdrop. I mean look at it! How could this be real!?
One time I saw Band of Horses perform "The Funeral" while the sun was setting here. I didn't know how to deal with all the beauty.
Does a concert-goer normally ask for beautiful scenery to accompany a music festival? Not particularly. But with Sasquatch, that's what you're going to get nonetheless.
The Music is Almost Too Good
The 20,000+ attendees of Sasquatch can go to each of the five stages and find a wide variety of acts to please the ears. Some big names have passed through Sasquatch in early years (both Kanye West AND Arcade Fire in 2005?!), and those playing the main stage this year are by no means unknown, with Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, and the Shins all performing, just to name a few acts.
Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend/my future husband at Sasquatch 2010.
Indie and alternative rock are the festival's main staples, but you can't count out the Banana Shack, a dance tent hosting the majority of the weekend's electronic artists, including Wolfgang Gartner and a DJ set by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame. The Banana Shack is also home to the festival's comedy lineup (hellllllooo Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia!), while a new stage this year will please underground hip-hopheads as well.
It's also important to note that Sasquatch has a knack for compiling a lineup full of artists who are about make it big. Take last year for example. At the time of the 2011 Sasquatch lineup release in February, Foster the People was relatively unknown. Seeing their name on the bill, many were all, "Foster the Who?" But given a few months of radio play and growing popularity, Foster the People became the next big thing, and massive crowds came out to see their set in May.
"Pumped Up Kicks" was everywhere, and it's almost as if Sasquatch knew it was going to happen. Sasquatch magic!!
So who's going to "Foster the People" 2012? I suggest checking out the Bigfoot Stage for energetic, on-the-rise Walk the Moon, whom I recently discovered at a concert that you can read about here!
Don't worry. Even if it looks like the bands on the bill are too obscure and unfamiliar to you, just know that doing your research and discovering new bands is half the fun.
It's Not Just a Music Festival, It's an EXPERIENCE
Is it too cheesy if I say that? I'm allowed to sound a little lame in this right? It's hard not to be super stoked when it comes to Sasquatch. I may sound calm, cool, and collected right now, but every thought of what's in store this May has me wanting to scream with excitement.
You wanna crowdsurf on an inflatable shark? Don’t worry about it.
I mean this is a festival where face paint and costumes are encouraged (last year I saw a group of 20 people dressed as Waldo. Tell me where else you can find that). Where you'd be crazy not to fashion a slip'n'slide out of tarp and soap down a grass hill while watching your favorite band. Where you can be dancing by yourself and suddenly start a huge dance party. Where you spend all day stage-hopping, sitting in the grass, dancing, and making new friends. Then you go back to the campgrounds, blast some more music, go to sleep for a little bit, then wake up and do it all over again. A weekend camping with your best buds and the surrounding community of happy people makes Sasquatch unlike any other festival out there.
I think one of the many veterans on the Sasquatch! Facebook page said it best:
"More than the amazing venue and the usually well rounded lineup, there's just this feeling you get, a vibe, if you will. It starts the first night you get there and it lasts the rest of your life. I think it has something to do with so many happy people gathered in the same place. Sasquatch is a special place where you can scream at the top of your lungs and everyone around you joins in. It's a place where you can wear the weirdest outfit you want, and you'll be the coolest person in the world for 4 days. It's an escape from reality, a glimpse at utopia."
Four days of great music at a majestic venue with friends and strangers who are about to be your friends? Don't mind if I do.
Although festival tickets sold out in the last week, I implore you to find a way to join in on all the fun this year and in the future!
Images courtesy of Flickr (1, 3, and 4) and Google (2).
Oh yeah…this is my first entry as a writer for the BARE blog! I'm super excited to be sharing all sorts of content with you guys, whether it's related to music, fashion, or overall Cal happenings. Wassup internet!!
Sheila Wagner is currently the Assistant Editor of BARE Blog and puppet of the Illuminati. Always up for a concert and an adventure, sometimes she doesn’t finish her senten