Sasquatch Festival at The Gorge
Any excuse to see a show at the best venue in the world is a good one, especially if it’s for an entire weekend, and for a festival, and the fact that one of the acts is named Nine Inch Nails. The excitement takes place at the gorgeous Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, about 2 hours east of Seattle. Jason, Stefan, and Lester decide to take part in the festivities and return to the good times that come along with the Gorge experience. For Jason, it is his first visit since the Pearl Jam shows in 2006.
After hanging out at Easy Street Records in Seattle for a good hour and a quick drink across the street, they head east on the I90 in two separate vehicles, because Jason will continue driving east after the festival while the others will be returning north. They make a stop in Ellensburg, WA at the Central Washington University campus, where Jason parks his car in one of the parking lots for free and jumps into Lester’s car for the final 30 minute drive to the Gorge.
Arriving at the peak hours of 3:00am, they are appointed to the camping area by the entrance, Lester pulls into a wide open spot, and they begin setting up camp. Beside them is a VW Westfalia with Alberta plates on it and a mysterious Tiki Bar sign, which immediate stikes up a conversation. The Albertans will latter be known as family.
The morning was spent amusing the neighbours from Alberta, as there was an attempted to construct a pole that would hold up 2 large tarps with the idea of providing some shade from the beaming sun. It was hot, but at around 30 degrees, it does not even compare to the heat that was experienced at the Pearl Jam shows. Many techniques were tried, but all failed. And after an hour of fucking around, they gave up and sat down for some beers and waited for the shows.
There was a solid lineup at Sasquatch, consisting of some good headlining acts and some equaling impressive lower end performers. Jason did not have a ticket for the first day and waited at the box office for more tickets to be released, however, the afternoon heat was too much to bare, and he decided to skip out an hour into it and return later. The box office did release a bunch while Jason was away and there were some spares floating around, but at $150 plus he deemed it to be too pricey to see the Kings Of Leon, whom he’s seem far too many times. Instead he listened to the Decemberists performance from outside the venue and returned to the camp for an easy night.
This was the big day. The morning was spent slamming back breakfast burritos from the Gorge grill, many surprisingly cold beers from Lester’s cooler/trunk, and a variety of straight shots of vodka/whiskey/rum/jaegermeister from the delightfully sharing neighbours. They would end up smuggling the remaining contents of their bottles into the concert grounds for further intoxication.
Upon entering the venue, Jason, Stefan, and Lester made a b-line towards the main stage to catch a performance from The Walkmen. Resisting the urge to leave after an amazing performance of The Rat, they remain for the conclusion of the set before moving on to check out the other stages, Yeti and Wookie. Calixco, The Avett Brothers, and The Submarines all filled the gap nicely before a return to the main stage for a rocking performance from TV on Radio set the stage for the big boys.
Snaking their way up to the front of the pit, Jason and Stefan psyched themselves up for what was a memorable and bone crushing performance from Nine Inch Nails. Two hours of pure intensity later, they escaped out of the pit shirtless and drenched in sweat from the other moshers in the area, Jason almost losing his beloved sanuks. For the final act of the evening, they sat back from the crowd to watch Jane’s Addiction wow the crowd and put on an entertaining performance.
Heading back to the camp site, the day of concerts may had concluded but the night’s entertainment had only just begun. An hour was spend polishing off all remaining alcohol on the premises before a plan to check out what all the noise outside of their silent camping area was all about. After the plan to drive to this noise was unanimously voted against, the journey was taken upon by foot and some good old Gorge wandering. From this, the posse was formed.
The goal was to reach campsite 26b, where the Albertans knew of a party around an RV. Leaving the quietness of their campsite, they quickly approach a couple of security booths with guards inside peaking over at them. This was the entrance to all the madness. It was like a border control and as if they were crossing into Mexico. So being very careful with their entry, they soon arrived into Crazy Town. Consisting of swarms of people high on life, Crazy Town was in another world of its own.
At the entrance was a Capitalist hippy trying to sell tye-died shirt for $15 but wouldn’t give you change if you gave him a $20 bill. The posse pressed on, not being drawn into a rendition of “Oh Canada” as sung by a group of 50 enthustiastic fellow country men from the north in the middle of the road. Following a guy in a banana suit down a path, the posse realized that they had gone too far and a group huddle ensued to regroup and to do the hokey pokey dance. They were then approached by a glowstick man dressed in complete black with glowsticks attached to him outlining the bone structure of his body. A shot of rum was taken by all. Walking back in the same direction, the posse was momentarily distracted by another wandering group. A guy questions them where the party is at, and trying to answer his question they soon realized that he was wearing nothing but his underwear and the conversation ended.
When they finally found the correct path and approached their desired destination, they were distracted once again. A car party, consisting of 20 kids dancing inbetween and on top of 2 cars with rave music pumping from inside of them, intrigued some in the posse. But they were dragged away and brought to the RV party instead. Upon arriving at the RV, a notion to “posse out” was insisted immediately. But having just arrived and with the Decemberists playing on their stereo, they decided to wait until the song was over. However, the Decemberist song never ended as the entire album was like a song on its own, so they gathered around for another group huddle where someone did the splits and then the posse did the same. Crossing back over, the border patrol asked the posse what was going on in there, to which the posse advised them to check out the party over at 26b.
In the morning, the rest of the family was introduced to breakfast burritos from the Gorge Grill. Trying to fight off the heat, they next decided to drive down to the river for a dip and some beers. The river was full of people but very few of them were actually in the icy water itself. Some brave souls went in for a cool down, while most of the others watched from a distance and chilled out for a relaxing start of the day, preparing for the final day of concerts.
Santigold was the first act they caught and she put on an energetic set that inspired a man to dance feverishly by himself in the lawn area, which inspired a mob of people to join in. Gogol Bordello maintained that energy with a fun performance as always before the Fleet Foxes continued a good day of music. Over on the side stages, some caught Girl Talk and Explosions in the Sky, while the others made their way to the VIP lawn area to watch Silversun Pickups do their best Sonic Youth impression and then Erykah Badu bring something different to the table. Ben Harper closed the night and the festival with a mellow set that everyone was too tired to stick around until the end for.
Gathering around the campsite afterwards, the family decided to have an easier night as everyone was leaving early in the morning. A new invention was discovered as macaroni and cheese was added ontop of a giant smokie for mac cheese hotdogs, yummy! The family was extended as the other neighbours were invited over with their ipod filled with excellent music. With half of the posse already asleep a casual conversation was had within the group until they are interupted by a frat boy from North Vancouver.
Frat Boy – “Check it out guys. This is the Flabongo. You guys wanna try the Flabongo?”
Stefan – “What the hell is a Flabongo?”
Frat Boy – “It’s a flamigo made into a bong! You wanna try the Flabongo?”
Jason – “Where did you get that?”
Frat Boy – “I stole the flamigo off some lawn from a seniors home. Try the Flabongo guys!”
Lester – “How does it work?”
Frat Boy – “See you cut off the legs and you pour the beer into the bowl here. Then you tip it over, and the beer flows through the neck and you drink from it’s mouth. You gotta try the Flabongo dudes!”
Lisa – “I’ll try it!”
Frat Boy – “YEAH!”
Lisa tries the Flabongo and it is a success. Then a group of security guards that has been roaming around the camp site all weekend approaches. The group has stuck together at all times and consists of 3 members: a 12 year old kid aka “Bobby the rookie”, a fat black guy aka “the muscle” and a midget aka “the brains” of this operation.
The Brains takes a sniff.
Frat Boy – “Why are you smelling the Flabongo? You put your beer here and you drink from here!”
The security leaves and so does the frat boy and his Flabongo. Moments later a group of 20 year old girls approach the family. They were apparently on a staggette and looking for a party, to which the youngest one of the neighbours more than willingly cooperates, turning on the dance music in his car. One of the girls decides not to dance and join in our the conversation.
Girl – “So where are you guys from”
Family – “Seattle, Seattle, Calgary, Vancouver, Vancouver, Vancouver!
Girl – “Alright, I’m from Vancity too.”
Girl – “So you guys reading any good books right now?”
Jason – “Nope, we’re at music festival so we’re just listening to music!”
Girl – “Far out! So where do you guys come from?”
Lester – “Vancouver, we told you that!”
Girl – “No way, I’m from Vancouver!”
This continues for another 10 minutes until the music is shut off by the security. The girls leave and the conversation continues, only to be interrupted by Bobby the rookie.
The Rookie – “Hey guys I’ve got some bad news for ya. I talked to my supervisor, and I’ve been informed that the Flabongo is not allowed!”
The family bursts into laughter for 5 minutes before they could comment.
The family – “The Flabongo is not here anymore. It went that way.”
The Rookie – “Oh really? Ok. Well, party on guys!”
The laughter continued into the wee hours of the night. Laughter for the fact that the security probably wanted the Flabongo for themselves and laughter for the fact that they sent The Rookie to get it from us.
Camping at the Gorge is always a good time! Thanks to Lester for taking photos and everyone in the family for a fantastic weekend.