Sasquatch! Music Festival was the highlight of my pre-adventure adventures. An annual music festival held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington on the Memorial Day weekend for four days. Our crew consisted of Hannah and I and three of her mates from a former workplace.
We roadtripped up to Seattle and out to East Washington and watched the landscape morph from vivid greens and trees to deep rivers and a brown and granite lands. Resting at gorges and roadside stores along the way.
Sasquatch was my first four-day music festival and I could happily live there. The Gorge is touted as the most beautiful venue in the USA. It lives up to its promise.
In the camping grounds, there is a city of thousands of tents, wagons and buses from all nationalities and cultures. The characters extreme but on the most part, happy. People letting their freak flags fly high.
What was the best performance? It's hard to say - there were so many standouts.
Alabama Shakes tore the house down. We met a woman who had travelled from the OC to Washington State by herself just to see the Alabama Shakes. She had never been to a festival or camped before, and couldn’t find anyone to go to Sasquatch so she bought a ticket, drove the couple of days trip by herself, set her tent up and partied on. What a legend!
Grimes was everything. Four years ago, when I first came to America, I had searched everywhere for tickets to see her perform. Timing meant it didn’t work out. So it was a special moment seeing her intensity on stage, thinking about the last four years and where I had been. Grimes - the soundtrack to my own personal Olympics. The dancers ruled us all with daggers, killer glasses and a whole heap of attitude. Grimes's weird little huffs, puffs and grunts in between smiles and acidic beats, screaming in Russian and all things in between. From sugar sweet humble apologies to wailing Taiwanese death metal screams. She took us everywhere.
Sufjan Stevens. Strange Sufjan. Surreal Sufjan. Sweet Sufjan. Soulful Sufjan. This man gave me a spiritual experience. I had never heard of him before I saw him walk out on stage in giant angel wings and an African-influenced neon tracksuit to sing a lullaby and then smash some banjos. He re-appeared in an outfit that looked like a giant cooked potato covered in aluminium foil and then he was dancing in about 40 balloons. I know I had tears in my eyes at his music. I wasn't the only one. Beautiful.
Florence + the Machine owned the stage. It felt like she was singing directly at me. I think everyone felt that way. Demanding the stage, she asked us all to be her ‘choir of hungover angels’ and her status as Queen was confirmed when a girl from the audience crowned her with a floral wreath. We were lucky enough to be a few arm's length from the stage. The energy was amazing. So amazing, one couple standing directly in front of me were in the throes of ecstasy - with each other - spurred on by the natural kind and the chemical kind, I would say. So myself and three others that were squished against them in the crowd were forced into a swaying motion with them. Probably one of the more stranger experiences I have had at a concert.
We also saw Major Lazer, Disclosure, M83, and slivers of Caribou. The greatest find for me (besides Sufjan) was Allen Stone. That boy has a set of lungs on him!
I don’t do drugs, and had decided to do Sasquatch alcohol-free anyway because I still wasn’t recovered from L.A. When people were asking me if I was ‘rolling’, I figured it was a term to mean ‘rolling along with the good times'. Turns out no. Probably one of the more memorable characters we met was this man, known by many as “Go Fuck Your Self”. Anytime anyone asked him something, he would say “Go F*#! Your Self” in a range of tones. It was the answer to anything and everything. I asked him if they were the only words he knew. He said ‘Yes, she gets it!! SHE gets it!’ Turns out he knew seven words! A few days later, we stumbled across GFYS in the portaloo line. He had had an epiphany. He informed us that after taking some acid, and lying in a field for four hours, he realised that really it was about Go Loving Your Self. The GFYS had become the GLYS. Sasquatch it seems had worked its magic.
About 99 per cent of festival goers we met were some of the most generous you could meet. Bangles and little messages of love were being handed out all over the place by attendees and besides Florence, there was always space to move and dance to your own beat in the crowd.
The music was sublime. The dancing amazing. The vibes - just a whole load of happy!.
Camping. Music. My best friend. New friends. A top-notch crew. Nothing but fresh air and good vibes. I'm in for Sasquatch 2017.