Last weekend I attended the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington. Annual attendance hits about 25,000, with the bulk of those camping out for 4 days and nights, it is one of the biggest outdoor festivals in the United States. Five of my best guy friends and I camped together and then the three girls in our group camped in a different area. There were a wide variety of artists playing, with the headliners being Disclosure, Major Lazer, M83, A$AP Rocky, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Sufjan Stevens, Purity Ring, Rudimental and X Ambassadors. A complete schedule can be found here. It was my first music festival and a truly amazing experience, but it would have been helpful to know a few things before. So my friends and I made a list of tips on how to have a successful Sasquatch.
Tips for the camp:
– Lets be clear: you’re going to be camping out. Cars are parked next to each other, eating whatever they bring, sleeping in tents, using porta-potties, drinking beer, suntanning, and vibing to the constant bump of the music coming from everywhere at once.
– The main tip for the camp is to come prepared. You will need a tent(s), sleeping bags, a table, water, beer, propane stoves, hotdogs, hamburgers, sandwich meat, fruit, etc.
– Bring a tarp/canopy tent. It’s Memorial Weekend and it’s going to be hot. I can’t stress this enough. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, find shaded area, whatever you can do to not melt your face off from the sun, do it.
– It is camping, but there are showers available for a $3 charge. Don’t go in the mornings when the lines are long, go a little after noon.
What we did:
We rented out tents, pads, and sleeping bags from the Outdoor Program at SOU. We brought most of our food and drink from home; prices at the festival are of course inflated. We brought two tarps – laid one under the tents and my engineer friend Fred made the other into a makeshift shaded area, capped off with the Alaska flag.
Tips for the festival:
- The main tip here as well is come prepared. With 4 separate stages (2 secondary, a rave tent, and the main Sasquatch stage), and artists playing from noon-1am for 3 days and 5pm-1am the first night, there were 114 total artists that performed (including 10 comedians). Look at the lineup prior and highlight the must-see acts, or print out a lineup and carry it with you.
- Bring water, then use your empties in the festival area. Bottles of water are expensive but there are “Hydration Stations” to fill up for free.
- The camping areas and festival area are separate, so there are many ways to space out when you go in to the actual festival. It was unrealistic (at least for us) to do 12 straight hours for 4 days, so our two options were to go in to the venue early and come back to camp for a break, or stay in camp for the earlier acts and come around 5pm each night. We chose to do the latter.
- The way we did it, we got to see acts we wanted to, be in the Sasquatch stage “pit” area for the main acts, and got to bond and chill at the campsite in the sun during the morning and early afternoon. At my next festival I may come for the earlier acts, which SOU student Hannah Carson says is smart. “Watch all the headliners, but also check out some bands you’ve never heard of,” Carson says. “It’s a good chance to broaden your horizon when it comes to music.”
- SOU student Kevin Lepola says, “Bring shoes you don’t really care about. You’re camping, laying in the grass, dancing, jumping, running through fields with them on; they’re gonna get dirty, or lost.”
- SOU student Isaiah Navales says, “Don’t bring valuables to the venue.” Navales unfortunately had his GoPro seized at the same checkpoint where attendees are checked for alcohol and any “illicit” items.
- SOU student Fred Llorente says, “Pace yourself. By Day 4 we were struggling to get up in the morning, but we made it through.”
- SOU alum Alyssa Lee says to think about the awesome life you still have post-festival. “Don’t quite leave it all on the line out there. It’s not worth it to be the kid that overdosed just cause there are so many sick drugs lying around and in the moment it sounded like a grand idea. Be a little smart.”
- SOU student Gannon O’Gorman says, “Never trust a Shayne with a ‘Y.'”
- SOU student Melissa Elliot says, “Be prepared to leave a changed person.”
- SOU student Francis Llorente says, “When people ask, ‘how was Sasquatch?’ I don’t know what to say. It’s just – it’s the classic, ‘you had to be there’”
- I’d say go in with an open mind. I had no idea what to expect, but the Sasquatch Music Festival got me out of my comfort zone, and I got closer with and gained some kickass friends. We will definitely be back. The Gorge. 2017. Come Sasquatch with us.