20 Things I learned at the Sasquatch Festival (and on the journey to and from the Sasquatch Festival).

1. Jack White is actually Jesus.

 No, really. There’s no other explanation for something that immense and that incredible. My four-day pass ticket was $300 which included access to all the shows, and camping; but really, despite unlimited awesomeness the whole time I was at the festival, that $300 paid for the Jack White set. And it was worth every penny, and then some.

2. People really like Chiddy Bang.

There’s this rapper – Chiddy Bang – who I had never ever heard of. And of all the shows I saw for the duration of the weekend, nobody’s audience was as involved or enthusiastic as Chiddy Bang’s. The floor was alive with waving arms and bobbing heads and an energy that could be seen right to the top of the hill. Huh. Who knew…?

3. Dinosaurs are leaf eaters.

It’s true, I guess; we were walking up the hill to our campsite and some random person was telling everyone he passed this very fact. I don’t really know what kind of drug does that to people.

4. Blitzen Trapper are very, very nice dudes.

At the Easy Street Records artist signings, I had the awesome opportunity to say hi to one of my all-time favourite bands, Blitzen Trapper. They were awesome and nice, and hand-shakey, and they signed my festival program; I wish I had something cooler to get signed, but it sprung up on me too quickly. I told them how much I loved them and their response? “We’re just a band!” To which I replied, “It depends on who’s asking.”

5. “Live Free” is a state of mind.

Yes, my friends and I discussed the irony of a slogan like “Live Free” among $9 Gyros and $11 tall boy cans (they were $3.49 at the Circle K…). However, there is something that can be said about ‘living free’ at this festival; that’s how it was there. The Gorge does things to people; they abandon pretty much all aspects of their regular lives to the point where looking around at fellow festival-goers, you have not the slightest idea what their regular life is like. We just assumed they were all accountants.

6. You don’t shower at Sasquatch.

In fact, nobody does, aside from those really high-maintenance people who came equipped with all their stuff to shower, including the 3 American dollars it costs to take one at the festival. I overheard a girl who said, “I waited two and a half hours to take a shower today!” My time is better spent elsewhere. Cleanliness and hygiene? Meh.

7. Taco Bell doesn’t serve fries in the United States.

-“Can I take your order?”

-“Can I get a cheesy gordita crunch and a Fries Supreme?”

-“A what?”

-“Fries Supreme?”

-“Sorry, I can’t understand what you’re saying… a ‘something’ supreme…?”

-“Yeah… um… fries…?”

-“Sir, we don’t serve fries here.”

 

That happened.

8. Metric is actually cool.

I used to think I didn’t like Metric, but after seeing them at Sasquatch, I realized I was wrong. They not only put on a rockin’ show, but introduced some seriously badass tunes from their upcoming record. Energy, combined with the best girl power I saw all weekend, changed my mind about my fellow Canucks, and I was glad to be wrong.

9. The Gorge is a truly beautiful place.

The Gorge quite literally delivers what it promises; driving towards middle-America, we first passed cities and ‘burbs, then mountains, then farms, then suddenly the landscape made a dramatic shift to deserts and canyons and this gorgeous river which sparkled in the waning daylight on our way to the campsite. When sitting on the hill watching shows at the amphitheatre, you can see the gorge in the background and the sunset. It makes for an amazing and almost spiritually rejuvenating combination of good music, and natural, mythic beauty.

10. It’s hot to watch hot boys roll their own cigarettes.

Smoking is gross, and it kills. And when hot, hip boys whip out their papers and tobacco, I get a little weak in the knees.

11. Bikini Baristas exists and it’s a thing.

More on this in another entry but in short, GOOD GOD, Y’ALL.

12. You can get BLT-flavoured Lay’s potato chips in the USA.

How do they make the lettuce, tomato and bread flavour work in these chips? I wish I bought a bag so I could find out.

13. I love not showering for 4 days.

Why? I don’t know. But there’s something about it that rejects all societal norms, which is exactly what I’d been yearning to do before heading out to this festival; to me, it states, “I don’t care what I look like, I only care what I feel like.” I barely wore makeup either for the duration of the festival, and I put my hair in a ponytail or simple braids, without product. Glorious.

14. When you’re not attached to your cell phone/laptop, you feel much farther away for much longer.

I was gone from Canada from Friday morning until Tuesday afternoon. It felt like lifetimes. I had to call my mom when I got back to ask her who won the Eastern conference and what else happened while I was gone. It was like being in space for eternity, or Narnia. Weirdness.

15. John C. Reilly plays old, classic country music for some reason.

I guess post-Walk Hard, John Reilly felt like he needed to explore the country musician that lives inside of him; so he got some friends together and played the Yeti stage at Sasquatch this weekend; endearing and hilarious as ever, his big actor name drew in a huge crowd of hipsters, most of who caught a glimpse and a photo, then B-lined it towards the main stage promptly afterwards. I felt badly about this, so my friends and I stuck around. Reilly is a talented dude, if only he played music that I dug.

16. Fun. is fun.

And for those of you who stuck around just to hear “We Are Young” and then left afterwards, you missed “Some Nights”, the most solid song the band has ever released; it’s both solid and a super good time. For shame, Sasquatch!

17. It’s really hard to get wasted at a music festival.

Dirt, long days away from the campsite, and expensive food and drinks in the venue, and energy-sucking sequential concerts day in and day out make getting drunk tough for someone who’s older than 21. Every night we headed back, I was mystified as to where all these kids got their party energy from.

18. The walks to and from the venue every day kind of made the festival.

On our way back from the venue one day, there was a guy with a poster board that said, ‘My Honest Opinion of Your Bum: $1’; on another occasion, a guy ran by me, grabbed a sprig from the bushes that grew alongside the dirt path, turned to me and said, “GOD, THIS SMELLS WONDERFUL!”; a big group of drunk girls walked by us singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of their lungs; a guy introduced himself to a stranger as Richard Lewis and the stranger replied, “Is your middle name ‘Gere’? Like ‘Richard Gere Lewis’?” Just to list a few quality examples.

19. There is a town called Thorp, and it is adorable.

 

20. Music breeds love, togetherness, and free spiritedness in the collective.

This is something I’ve always known and something that I’ve always loved and cherished about music; it is one of the great fundamental gifts of humankind that we are able to find the materials and find the ways to express ourselves through the music we love, and the music we make. It’s an inspirational inherent elixir of life, and it brings people to this magical, revitalizing place that allows tens of thousands of people to live as a huge community of vagrants and slobs and who peacefully gather around to listen to the amazing music they love. I was always aware of this, but was never so enthralled with this fact as I was while at Sasquatch.

See you next year!

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