Sasquatch! 2010. A weekend to remember. Ninety-nine of the best bands, artists, and comedians from around the world gathered at the gorgeous Gorge Amphitheater out in the middle of nowhere in Washington State to provide the perfect escape from the norm for so many festival goers. The festivities took place May 29th, 30th and 31st. A diverse lineup of musical artists including Massive Attack, Pavement, Kid Cudi, The National and more, coupled with the sheer gigantic amount of people that attended (most of which were early twenties and late teens, mind you) led to an eclectic and adventurous three days.
To give an idea of the sort of vibe that one might get from Sasquatch!, if you were wearing ‘normal’ clothes, you were a minority. The costumes and personality were immense and only made the weekend more interesting. This, however, was only the actual festival; the campgrounds themselves might have been the craziest part. There was nothing like them: literally an ocean of cars and tents for what seemed like miles. Every car had its own group of people looking to have their own good time as well.
As far as the music goes, it was fantastic. Aside from the immense amount of technical errors either from the Sasquatch! crew or from power shorts (not entirely sure), the music stood out as the best part of the weekend as it should have. Indie rock legends Pavement and Ween played sets as well as bands like My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, and MGMT. Even the smaller stages saw a lot of action. The Bigfoot Stage (second biggest) saw acts like Public Enemy, The New Pornographers, The xx, and The Dirty Projectors.
A couple of shows that stood out as really something special were The National, Public Enemy and believe it or not, deadmau5’s late night DJ set.
The National played songs off of their last three records (High Violet – QRO review – Boxer – QRO review – and Alligator). Lead singer Matt Berninger (who may have been a little tipsy) put on a fantastic show for all of his fans and new listeners alike. During the song “Abel”, Matt jumped off of the stage and went at least 100 feet into the sea of people to scream his high-energy lyrics. Kicking over microphones and knocking expensive equipment off of the stage definitely did not go over well with the staff, but what can they do, it’s Matt Berninger.
Even though it was moderately lame that Public Enemy had to play their set at the second biggest stage at Sasquatch!, it didn’t seem to phase anybody that was there because the majority of the tremendous attendance was more interested in seeing Flavor Flav and crew rather than the first half of Massive Attack. Tens of thousands of festivalgoers gathered ‘round the stage to see something very special that only they would get to see: A beat is played. The audience cheers. Two men dressed in full army uniforms come onto stage and start a choreographed dance to the beat and the audience is going wild. They dance for two minutes or so and suddenly all of the music comes in, the beat is progressed, and Public Enemy makes their entrance. They all run out on stage and shower the front members of the audience with money. It was a sight to be seen: money and fog in the air, Public Enemy on stage, a purely massive crowd going absolutely insane – and then, the sound cuts out. Just like that. All that could be heard was the very quiet monitor mix on the stage. All of the energy that the audience had faded away and everybody is upset. The sound stayed out for about a minute, and then continued to cut in and out for the next few songs. This may have happened due to a power shortage, but that is only speculation.
deadmau5 put a cherry on top of the first day with his late night DJ set. If you have no previous knowledge of deadmau5’s work then his set was a surprise, in a good way. At first all you see is a cube. A big cube on stage and some expensive lighting set ups. Then the music comes in and the set is illuminated. You see a cartoon-like mouse head from behind the giant cube and the surreal and obscure factors really become evident. From there, the entire set was a mesh of intricate electronic trance music accompanied with one of the most elaborate visually stimulating lighting set ups ever seen in concert. Needless to say, at the end of what is in essence the first day of a giant three-day party, deadmau5’s set quite possibly could have been one of the most epic parties ever conceived.
To be fair, Sasquatch! did have its downfalls. For one, they sold far too many tickets. There were way too many people in attendance. It was difficult to even walk around and get from one place to another sometimes. One more downfall, quite literally, is a costly one. The price of everything is just pushing the envelope so much that you might think it would be tough to justify, but in the end Sasquatch! is not just a festival. It is an experience. To be honest, if you have the money, ridiculously high prices for mediocre food, traveling expenses, cost of tickets and camping don’t necessarily outweigh the benefits of an experience as grand as Sasquatch!. It is such the perfect break from every day life that it is tough to imagine reality again when immersed in it all. So then, Sasquatch!: three days of good music, good company, all around good times, with a dash of adventure and spontaneity – not such a bad time at all.