SASQUATCH! Music Festival

Travel dates: May 22-25, 2015

Merely two days after coming back from LA & Santa Monica, my friends Wendy, Harriet, Blake and I left for Sasquatch! Music Festival. It was my first multi-day music festival, so I was excited to say the least. Because I was the only one who could provide a car, I drove the 4.5 hours from Vancouver to The Gorge Amphitheatre. It was tiring, but we survived! We left between 5-6am and after a stop at Wal-Mart, we arrived around 10am. The system for parking at the Gorge was simple and easy: just arrive whenever you can, and park where the attendants tell you to. Cars circled outwards from the middle, so by the end it just looked like a giant crop circle.

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Our packed car

 

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Harriet squished by all the stuff

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Wendy excited for Sasquatch!

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Cars setting up

While we were setting up, it was about 29 degrees. This was bloody hot by our standards, as we were still experiencing spots of rain up north in Vancouver. Nevertheless, we were all so happy to finally be there and ready for a weekend of great music, good company, and an overall fantastic time.

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Just got to the campsite & ready to crack open a cold beer!

Since the campsite and the stages were about a 10-15 minute walk apart, each day we participated in the “pilgrimage” to the stages. Starting from 1pm all the way until the evening, crowds and crowds of people could be seen walking towards the music. We usually left around 4pm to arrive at the stages, since most of the acts we wanted to see started around that time. We would listen to live music from 4pm until about 1 or 2am. We usually slept until 9 or 10am and took the late morning / early afternoon to relax at the campsite. Ahh… that was the life. Not the mention… the Gorge Amphitheatre was absolutely GORGEous! (don’t mind the pun)

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Pilgrimmage to stages

 

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Entering the festival grounds

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Friends!

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Absolutely beautiful day at the Gorge

 

It was clear some other groups had done this before. People brought gazebos, tarps, foldable tables, beer pong kits, flags, frisbees, lawn chairs, and more. Our setup looked a bit sad next to others’ full-blown campsites, but we made due with what we had and our neighbours were extremely nice to offer us sangria and shade.

Since we were there for the music, allow me to share and elaborate on the musical acts we saw. In the months leading up to the festival, I’d been listening to Spotify playlists containing all the artists, so I was somewhat more prepared for the 100+ acts of the weekend. Some musical highlights (in no particular order):

  • Kendrick Lamar
    • All I can say is… WOW. Although I’ve dabbled in hip hop music for the past few years, it was my first time at a rap show. It was nuts! No matter where you were in the crowd, you were in a mosh pit. There was so much energy, and even though I didn’t know all the lyrics to the songs, it was tons of fun. He really knows how to work the crowd. Not to mention, Kendrick Lamar is a cutie….
  • Chromeo
    • I absolutely loved them! Proud of some fellow Canadians, their high energy, cool displays and stage presence made it such an enjoyable show. The music festival environment was perfect for them – I would definitely see them again.
  • Spoon
    • I’ve been a fan of Spoon for so many years, and I finally got to see them live. None of my friends knew of them, so I went to the show by myself. But I was totally fine with that! It was nice to just stand back and enjoy the music. It’s a shame that Spoon isn’t more popular – they really have a great sound. I profited from their lower popularity by being in the third row!
  • James Blake
    • I simply loved James Blake. He has a great voice and gives me a “you’re so cool I just want to be like you” kind of feeling. Although he did seem a bit tired from touring, his genuineness still shone through.
  • Mother Mother
    • One of my Top 5 favourite bands of all time. I’d seen them a few times before, but I just had to see them again. They were debuting some of the songs from their new album, which had a harder, grittier sound. I’m loyal to the band, so I loved it. The best is singing along during the entire set because you know ALL the lyrics.
  • Modest Mouse
    • I had no idea what to expect from Modest Mouse – they’d always been such a mysterious band for me and I didn’t know how they would be live. It seemed like the lead singer, Isaac Brock, had some angst built up in him or something. Modest Mouse had more of an aggressive style than I’d anticipated, but I’m still glad I saw them live in concert once.
  • Lana Del Rey
    • One word (or is it a sound?): ZZzzZzzzZZ. I’m sorry, but I found Lana Del Rey a bit boring. She didn’t have much stage presence, and the low tempo of her songs lent to an overall low-energy performance. It was incredibly windy, so poor Lana had to keep pushing her long wavy hair to the side as she sang. Overall, I felt she handled the wind extremely well – I was really impressed by this! You go Lana.
  • Of Monsters and Men
    • I’m not crazy huge fans of Of Monsters and Men, but I could see why people really like them. Their chill Icelandic vibes were calming, and they did some cool stuff to mix up their set. They really were a great band live… if only I liked their music more.
  • The New Pornographers
    • They’ve been a band for a while, but despite their “older” stage in the band life cycle (in relation to many other bands at Sasquatch!), they’ve still got it. They sounded just like their recorded songs, which was cool and unexpected. I sang along to the hits that I knew.
  • Tame Impala
    • What an eccentric and psychedelic band – they were just in their own little world on stage. I feel like you had to be on some hallucinogenic drugs to fully enjoy their concert, but I really enjoyed how they mixed the psychedelic electronica with hard-nosed rock and roll.
  • Future Islands
    • Started listening to Future Islands after their single “Seasons” started blowing up. I gotta give them props for putting all their energy into attending a music festival. It definitely seemed like a one-person show, as the lead singer’s high intensity was unmatched by the rest of the band.
  •  Madeon
    • The MOST talented live DJ I have ever seen… and he’s only 16! Unlike most artists that just push a button and run around on stage, Madeon was actually playing live (either that, or he’s REALLY synchronized with this pre-recorded tapes). I was actually engaged the entire time during his set – definitely the most impressive DJ show I’ve been to.
  • Cashmere Cat
    • Loved loved LOVED him. He seems like a recluse “keep-to-yourself’ kind of guy (at least that’s the impression I’ve gotten from him), but he sure puts on a crazy show. He’s one of the few EDM artists that I believe actually cares about the artistry of his music instead of trying to pump out hits. High energy, in his own little bubble, really concentrated on his set… that’s what I like to see.

There are more bands that I saw, but I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

I really wished I saw Robert Plant. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t make a point of seeing the Led Zeppelin legend. Maybe next time…

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The Gorge with the sun setting in the background. Absolutely mesmerizing.

I was so happy with my first multi-day music festival experience. I realized that the key with attending these kinds of events is pushing all your concerns, commitments, and worries on the backburner. It’s an environment where you really have to be present to soak up every wonderful moment. And once again, this reinforced for me the importance of finding the right people to travel with – it just made the trip that much better. This made me so excited for the next festival: Squamish Valley Music Festival in August!!

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Beautiful evening at the Gorge.

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