Surviving while Searchin’ for Squatch

Standing had grown wearisome. It had gotten to the point where I had to shift my weight from one foot to the other constantly to avoid blistering. I wanted desperately to be back in my tent at the campsite, snuggled in my toasty sleeping bag.

Just then, scattered cheering began to amplify at a rapid rate. Five men appeared onstage and wordlessly picked up their instruments. They began to play.

For the next 90 minutes my face was melted by the amount of earth-pounding rock that emanated from Jack White and his bandmates. Songs like “Blunderbuss” and “Icky Thump” shook the amphitheater relentlessly until the concluding encore of “Seven Nation Army.” This, was the Sasquatch experience…

This year’s Sasquatch Music Festival was the first major musical montage that I had ever attended.  Held at the Gorge Amphitheater May 25-28 in Quincy, Wash.Headliners included Pretty Lights, The Roots, Bon Iver, Beck and White.

Aside from my interest in many of the bands performing I had little idea of what to expect from this event. What I found was that it was not only the music which left me speechless but the amount of sincere connectedness which I felt with everyone there.

Concerts began on Friday night with Santigold, Girl Talk and Pretty Lights energizing the crowd. Although I wouldn’t consider myself an electronic fan, Pretty Lights had me jumping around which erased any grogginess from the five hour drive the day before.

It is safe to say that Saturday was the greatest day for musical performances. With The Civil Wars, Metric, The Shins and Jack White all gracing the main stage, I was enlightened with the perfect mix of laid-back melodies and powerful guitar wizardry.

The only quip I have about the concert is the lengthy walk that took place from the campsite to venue. It was at least 40 minutes, with the packed nighttime shuffling taking at least an hour. This roadblock really affected me on Saturday, as I would have enjoyed seeing the Alabama Shakes and Childish Gambino, had time permitted.

Monday offered one of the top performances of the festival in Gary Clark, Jr. One of the reasons I enjoyed his sound so much was the fact that I am an avid blues rock fan. His execution of “Don’t Owe You a Thang” had even the uncultured ear begging for more saucy guitar riffs.

One of the most underrated acts of the weekend came from the band Walk the Moon on the Bigfoot Stage. Despite this stage being slightly smaller than the mammoth mainstage, Walk the Moon utilized their endless energy to convince fans that they were one of the up-and-coming acts from this year’s lineup.

Another surprise performance of the weekend came from the rap group Dyme Def. Although I hadn’t heard much from this group previously, I found myself entranced at this 30 minute concert.

It is almost impossible to talk about the Sasquatch experience without mentioning the camping experience that accompanied it. The night we entered the venue, the staff ushered us into lawn spots roughly the size of an airstream trailer. For the next four days we survived in this parceled area of grass, grilling and staying hydrated to retain our energy.

The true community was felt when we were at these campsites. Complete strangers ambled from site to site, conversing with new acquaintances and sharing any food or entertainment they provided.

The one thing I gleaned from this weekend is that the Sasquatch experience is more than just a cluster of enthralling musical expositions. I was incorporated into a total microcosm of cultural peace. It resulted in one of the best weekends of my life, blanketing me with a blur of lasting experiences.