The plan from Coeur d’Alene had been to stay in/near Spokane, but we ended up just passing through, which ended up being a fortuitous move. We made it all the way to the biggest town on the map before the Gorge, so we headed to Wal-Mart (there was no Target) to get some last minute supplies.
I’m not a fan of supporting Wal-Mart, but sometimes it is the most convenient. This was one of those times, so I was thankful it was also super entertaining (and that they only got a little bit of my money). The place was crawling with festival goers. Guys in shorts and visors and carts full of burgers and beer. Let the fun begin.
Oh, by the way, in case I haven’t mentioned it, we were headed for the Sasquatch Music Festival. I had never been, and once I saw the line-up, I was willing to drive up there by myself. Luckily, I had a friend who was driving across the country so it worked out to talk her into the festival, meet up, and ride together.
So back to Wally World…we got in line behind some Canadians (there were so many Canadians!) and learned we could go ahead and go to the grounds that night (Thurs). Start camping a night early. Best decision ever.
The camping is set up in a way wherein you camp by who you were in line with coming in. (And your tent goes right behind your car.) We beat the traffic getting there when we did. And we ended up getting really lucky and making great friends with those camping next to us.
The party started that first night and didn’t stop until we went to bed Monday. Four days and five nights of good times.
Friday morning I got up to go to the bathroom as the sun was rising, and while I could justify peeing between the cars in the dark, there were too many people around to risk it once dawn broke. So off to the Honey Pots I went. In my hot air balloon pajamas. I came out to a girl talking to me very excitedly about the awesomeness of the sunrise and how everyone was missing it but us. To her credit, it was beautiful, but it wasn’t even 6a and I’m not exactly a morning person. Then she started freaking out about my pjs. That’s when she revealed a tattoo featuring a hot air balloon tethered to an anchor. Then she apologized for being so chatty so early and I went back to my tent thinking about the symbolism of a hot air balloon tethered to an anchor.
The fun was just beginning.
Ok, so I had never been to the Gorge before. Luckily our new friends had, so they did a really amazing thing for us. They made us close our eyes and walked us to the edge of the hill before telling us to open them.
Are you kidding me?! I couldn’t believe it. The experience was made better by the fact Of Monsters and Men had just started playing. I love them and in that first moment, this became my favorite venue ever. As you’ll see, throughout the weekend we switched vantage points and I would venture to say there isn’t a bad view.
My notes from Friday night center on the fireworks during the Girl Talk show (I love me some pyro!) and the part during Pretty Lights where everyone started throwing glow sticks at the stage. From all the way back. That was a pretty phenomenal sight as well.
Blitzen Trapper kicked off my Saturday list.
I had moved up to the front row because of who was on stage next.
In case you don’t know, those are The Civil Wars and I love them. Joy is eight months pregnant and the crowd was loving them and they were in awe of the incredible-ness of a gi-normous outdoor crowd singing their songs back to them. At one point, John-Paul said “wow” simply as a result of all the cheering. They asked who had seen them before, and I feel like there were like 10 of us (slight understatement). So many new fans! If the girls behind me were any indication, it seems like The Grammys did a lot for their popularity.
They brought the house down where their version of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean.” People were still talking about it the next day. I was riding a high afterward which probably helped me talk my way into a VIP acoustic set by Alabama Shakes. Alabama Shakes had been all the buzz at SXSW, but I had missed them there and then their set time mirrored The Civil Wars, so I was super excited to get into the tent to see them.
Afterward, it was time for Metric and then The Shins. (I KNOW!)
We decided to head down to the floor for Jack White. Things were crazy down there. I had to body check a couple of people, which I’m sure was just as humorous as you’re imagining it to be.
The music, however, was amazing. And while I don’t particularly find Jack physically attractive, I loved his on-stage personality, and well then he played the piano with a guitar on his lap and I was pretty into that.
(That is obviously his LA performance, but I didn’t want to just link to the audio.) In related news, if the word darlin’ (see also darling) is in a song, I love it.
Next up was The Roots, who did a really awesome tribute to MCA.
And then it was on to Sunday. And mimosas.
Our first show of the day was The Staves, which made me wish my two sisters and I were musically-talented and touring the country singing our songs.
Much of the rest of the day was spent in our awesome location on one of the terraces. Sure we had a fence in our line of sight, but the audio was great and we could lay there and still see the performers. It was a day of chillaxing and great bands and I loved it.
One of my favorite performances – probably of the entire time – was The Head and The Heart. I loved their music before I went, but had never seen them live. At one point, they sang the lyric “My roots have grown, but I don’t know where they are.” If I was a tattoo person, I’d put a tree somewhere with that phrase as part of it.
Sunday night was Bon Iver night. He opened with Perth and I was in heaven.
Monday morning a couple of our friends packed up and left early to beat the crowds. We were sad to see them go. Lucky for us our Montana pals stuck around, because we used their flag to find our way home. Apparently flags are a crucial part of camp set-up. Now we know why.
It was quite the scenic walk to the festival that day.
Inside, the fun continued. Literally.
Nate really put on a great show. He said we were the biggest crowd they had played for, and it was a good crowd that knew words to more songs than are on the radio. As we walked away after the show, I heard a 20-something guy say to his friend, “I almost cried.” I’m telling you…it was pretty impressive.
Speaking of impressed. The views never stopped being awe-some.
And then there was the moment when I felt like I was back at Let’s Make a Deal.
Another great performance on Monday was John Reilly and Friends. John Reilly as in John C Reilly. As it turns out, he’s a really talented bluegrass/country/folk artist.
We found that emergency blanket in Bridget’s trunk and it came in handy when the night got chilly.
The last acts of the fest were Tenacious D and Beck. And one awesome sunset.
I really enjoyed this festival, and as far as camping at a festival goes, this was the best weather we could hope for. Coachella would be too hot (I stayed in a nearby hotel the year I went) and Bonnaroo too humid. I’ll definitely keep my eye out on the schedule in upcoming years, and I’m so glad to know a few tricks for next time.