Sasquatch Music Festival 2011
A Message to the Overlooked
Festivals are not run by magical imps, or elves that need no sleep. They are run by people, no different then you or I, and these people are owed an overwhelming amount of gratitude for the work that is put in to create and maintain what was Sasquatch Music Festival 2011.
To the back office staff, who work throughout the year to envision, plan, and execute the perfect festival – Thank you.
To the on-site staff who sometimes work 18 hour days standing in the sun without a break – Thank you.
To whoever cleans the Honey Buckets – Thank you.
The list is endless but the key message is the same, those on the ground who are making this festival what it is can often be overlooked, and unfortunately they all most certainly are overworked by the end of the weekend, so this is an extension of infinite thanks from myself, and all my compadres at Sasquatch 2011.
A Music Festival Has Many Beginnings
It was a year ago that many of my friends returned from Sasquatch 2010 with memories brimming with joy, laughter, and camaraderie, that was when Sasquatch 2011 started for me, and for most of them as well. See, festivals have many beginnings do they not?
The return from the year prior is not only the end of that year, but truly day 1 of the 365 countdown to the next, a countdown with many checkpoints along the way. I remember quite clearly the excitement many of us shared as the pre-sale opened up and tickets were gobbled up soon after. As the line-up unveiling approached I can introduce you to many of my friends who sat tirelessly at their computers, or staring at their smart phones watching twitter as the bands were listed one by one. Next is the endless rush for those without tickets to obtain them, those with tickets to find the time off of work, or sell their extras.
As the time goes by, and the festival becomes closer and closer, a new sense of beginning enthralls many social circles. Rides begin to be planned, shopping lists made, festival attire is purchased and the heart starts to find a beat that will soon match the rhythm of the festival itself. It’s a pulse that emanates from the very nature of the Columbia River Gorge itself, calling out to all those who will soon be pulled into it’s magnetic majesty for the 5 days that will be shared and known as Sasquatch Music Festival 2011.
Music Becomes Secondary to the Experience
Yes, in theory, Sasquatch is indeed a festival centered on live music, but in practice it is so much more. Peeling off the layers of this festival is truly reminiscent of a gift that has been wrapped over and over again almost incessantly but once you reach that tiny little box inside it opens up another world. Sasquatch is somewhat of a Pandoras box, once you open it, all of your concerns, worries and fear are released, and in the bottom of the box is left a magical world.
From the moment you pull into the campgrounds at the Gorge, one is welcomed into a community. A giving, welcoming, warm and carefree community that has all made their pilgrimage to this musical mecca. Friends from all over, all around, are forming bonds throughout the week that will last a lifetime. Of course most made this journey to see at least one of the incredible bands that play, but as Alex Supertramp found out in the isolation of Alaska, this life is meant to be shared and without friends, Sasquatch wouldn’t be the same.
Musical Mecca: Tent City, Honey Buckets, & Never Ending Bass.
It’s important to highlight the sheer immensity that makes up the Sasquatch Tent City. From the first sight of the sun, to it’s final moments in the sky, east to the west as far as your eye can see, there are campsites. Each campsite holds at least one tent, but more often then not, many many more. A sprawling tent city that reaches miles in every direction. It’s an incredible site to see for the first time, and since we pulled in and set up camp at night, it wasn’t until the first light of the dawn that I was able to recognize the sheer grandiosity of what this mecca had become.
With more people than most British Columbian communities have you could imagine a few of the finer points in life begin to dissolve such as running water, flushing toilets and garbage bins but…you manage. After all, it is a music festival right? The bathrooms, known quite ironically as “Honey Buckets” were cleaned each day, but surely you found yourself in Winnie the Poohs nightmare once or twice over the entirety of the festival itself.
The campgrounds themselves were quite clean, most garbage was kept within each individual campsite, albeit for a minor twister that ravaged a few sites and cycled plastic bags into the air across the site, carrying it all away to the farmers fields that run adjacent to the grounds themselves. It is something strange coming from Canada to see only a few receptacles here and there, which didn’t necessarily become to big of a problem, but I didn’t hang around to see many of the fields at the end of the night, nor did I see the campground after the festival had ended but I could picture a sight for sore eyes most assuredly.
If you aim to sleep at Sasquatch, you may want to bring earplugs or expect to listen to some soothing music in your iPod during your time. With the amount of people enjoying their freedom in Pandoras box, some are sure to make the decision to not sleep, and that means bass lines from vehicle stereos until the wee hours of the morning. It can become somewhat of a lullaby if you find yourself riding the right wavelength into your sleeping bag at night, and it’s not like the blistering sun against your tent won’t wake you up around 6:00am anyway, right?
Photo: Grant Wilson