Trip Report: 2008 Sasquatch Music Festival (Part 1)

One of the things you don’t really expect to see during the course of a day is violent graphic pantomimed monkey rape.

At least, not so early in the afternoon.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. This memorial day weekend I was joined by Lance Bubo, Kympossible, Erika and Adrian, and Shyama (coolest name EVAR btw) in a trek out to the Sasquatch music festival at the Gorge.

Wait wait don’t stop reading, come back, come back. I promise I won’t go on one of my long winded philosophical descriptions of how wonderful the gorge is etc etc. I promise. Really.

Instead, through the power of Web 2.0 service pack 4’s multihued dot technology, I can show you!

Photo Credit: Erika

As I’ve mentioned before the Gorge is located approximately 180 miles from anything at all. So our first order of business was to drive up US 2 to Wenatchee where our hotel was. Wenatchee is about 45 minutes from the Gorge. Ellensberg is closer, but all the hotels there were booked. After checking in then hitting the Bell for lunch we were off.

The music festival itself had a ton of acts I wanted to see. Since Bubo was up from Portland we decided we’d most likely leave late Sunday so he wouldn’t face a total of six hours in a car on Monday. (In retrospect we should have arranged better and stayed to see more of the acts but the ones we saw were all great.)

Upon arrival (it was several people’s first time at the Gorge) we staked out our place on the lawn. Immediately I was struck by something…

Photo Credit: Erika

I just can’t quite place it…

Photo Credit: Erika


Photo Credit: Erika

I never did figure out what it was. But we were well stocked with food and water and stuff. It was sunny, it was beautiful, and as I twittered sitting there in one of my favorite places on earth, all was right with the world.

Except we didn’t have any beer dammit. The mere possibility of cold, refreshing beer was suddenly important, critical! We went to the concession stand. Thankfully we were able to secure a low interest loan from the vendor against all our physical possessions so that we could afford the beer. Eleven (11) dollars a can for "Domestic" beer (Coors) or Twelve (12) dollars a can for "Premium" beer (Heineken).

The extremely high cost of the beer and the long lines you had to wait through to get it resulted in the beer actually increasing in value once you left the concession stand. This quickly led to a barter system where ounces of beer rapidly became worth more than dollars and thus became the basis for obtaining cigarettes, pot, sexual favors, etc. Soon a paper currency developed based off the beer standard, the "Ouncie", and it wasn’t long before Fiat money capitalists were arguing moving off the beer standard and backing the value of the Ouncie with just pure military power.

But I digress.

We got there in time in the afternoon to hit the tail end of Beirut on the main stage. We hung out a bit for Ozomatli, who I thought were really good, but then The National was replaced by The Fleet Foxes.

A word about The Fleet Foxes. They are not fleet. Within seconds of their taking the stage half the audience was asleep and the other half was rapidly figuring out how silly a beer based economic standard was, causing a rapid crash in the Heineken futures trading market, which rapidly spread to other so called recession proof markets like the Margarita credit consortium. Seriously these guys are supposedly the cool new sound but they were just the totally wrong band to have on the late afternoon slot. You could actually hear snoring over the wailing of the beer traders and the glacial pace of the playing of the band. Awful.

It was over the horrible playing of the Somnambulant Foxes that we heard some crazy good Johnny Cash. In fact, someone over there had the Yeti stage rockin’ and rollin’ with that Cash. We were startled to discover it was Vince Mira, a 16 year old kid from Seattle who apparantly was born with Johnny Cash’s exact voice. I want to make this absolutely clear, this kid didn’t just sound like Johnny Cash, he was absolutely indistinguishable from Johnny Cash. This set off a firestorm of theories on our part that maybe Johnny Cash was like Bhuddha and was constantly reincarnated into new forms like the Dalai Lama. Thus having explained the phenomenon we had the best chicken strips I’ve ever eaten.

The New Pornographers made up for the Catatonic Foxes. I thought it was odd they didn’t play "Electric Version" which is the song that’s in Rock Band. But I really enjoyed the entire set. They’ve got a really great sound and I wish more of their stuff was in Rock Band.

This guys shirt says "I’d rather be snorting cocaine off a hooker’s ass". He even manages to look nonchalant wearing it. I hear later on he cleaned up in the Jack Daniel’s Hard Lemonade hedge fund.

Photo Credit: Shyama

By the time MIA took the stage the sun was lowering enough to cool the air which created pockets of rain. They circled around the lawn without directly hitting us.

Photo Credit: Erika

That wouldn’t last for long. When Modest Mouse came on it was sprinkling steadily and the wind had picked up. Having been up late the night before, I was starting to crash so I catnapped during the Modest Mouse set (See what I did there?), being awoken by the bemused light of several flashbulbs as Shyama, Erika and Kympossible chided me for sleeping, and I quote, "during a fucking Modest Mouse set!"

Photo Credit: My loving friends.

When 10pm rolled around for the R.E.M. set the rain and wind were now steady. The lights over the stage were actually swinging in the wind. To the band’s credit they came out and played, and played well. But six or seven songs in, the weather won out and we returned to our hotel rooms to crash.

I’ll post about day 2 a bit later, including the aforementioned monkey rape, my taxonomy of lawn denizens, and more crazy fun.

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