“Brb, off to Sasquatch!”

Last week I made way across the country to check out the Sasquatch! Music Fest, at The Gorge, which has been voted the World’s best outdoor concert venue 6 times running. I left with an eagerness for some adventure, experiencing huge concerts, and craving a break from city life. And to taste that whole West Coast vibe, bro. Discoveries: It’s real! I also am slightly fanatical and wistful about the “Peace & Love” era of the 60s and this may be the closest thing to reliving what Woodstock ’69 would be like. During which I would have snuck backstage and made out with Jimi Hendrix. The End.

But seriously. It’s 8 am at the very beginning of Sasquatch! Music Fest 2012, and after a breathtaking drive the day before through mountains, I wake up in my now boiling tent, still bundled as protection from the cold Quincy Valley, Washington State desert night air. I overhear a group of random guys nearby talk about which chick in their town posts the hottest Instagram photos. Ah, it’s 2012. Maybe I can still slide down some mud and/or hangout with people on acid with feathers in their hair. Peace & Love is whatever you make of it, dude.

A world away from my favourite local coffee shops and bountiful park picnics in downtown Toronto, I am camping out in the middle of nowhere, and so are 30,000 other lovely humans. I’m hanging with an awesome crew I met up with in Vancouver, and somewhere on the drive down, between a grocery stock-up at a Wal-Mart bigger than the moon in Nowheresville, Washington and setting up our tents together in the desert darkness, we’ve become festival besties. The majority of people seem to be from Washington State (Seattle, Spokane, etc) and British Columbia (Vancouver, Victoria, etc) but there were others I met from Australia, Ireland, Calgary, New York, California, Ohio, Colorado and Edmonton.

We’re all there to enjoy the musical stylings of none other than acts like Beck, The Roots, Tenacious D, Charles Bradley, Jack White, Fun., Metric, Feist, Bon Iver and many more. The main stage sits nestled down in a big canyon/gorge/V shape/whatever, perfectly placed so beyond the stage, your view overlooks the rolling hills and Columbia River. You could find yourself a nice spot nestled on the hill and literally stare off into the distance for hours, and many did. Or you could never sit a moment and wander between several other stages and tents housing dozens of musicians, DJs and comedy acts like Portlandia (put a bird on it, yo).

Sasquatch! Music Fest is in it’s 10th year and The Gorge Amphitheatre has been around since 1984, with its first concert performed by Jesse Colin Young. A reviewer of that first ever intimate, organic show wrote “The music, beautiful scenery and warm sunny skies made this concert an event that will be hard for those in attendance to forget.” It can put your heart in your throat and was unforgettable, and incredible. If you’re in Toronto and thinking of checking it out next year, you can either head west to Seattle or Vancouver by way of plane, train, bus or car and from there, drive or take a shuttle about 3 hours east of Seattle (5 from Van) to the Gorge Amphitheatre grounds.

Depending on how granola-d out you wanna get at the fest, there are some options for ya! You can camp on festival grounds in a tent or trailer (or outside curled up in a ball on an air mattress covered in facepaint), stay at one of the nearby camp grounds like Wild Horse (with a little more peace and quiet and a mean homemade cheeseburger), or hotel in one of the nearby cities, like Ellensburg. For those familiar with camping in Ontario’s Muskoka, Temagami or “up north”, comparatively there were no mosquitos, black flies or deer flies, hooray! Although at times I got swarmed by masses of people dressed in animal costumes or like “sexy seniors”. And in terms of accommodations, I somehow ended up lucky enough to get the best of both worlds. When I got there the main campground was full so I was directed to the much quieter, spacious “Overflow” area which was basically a vacant field nearby. One day I wandered into the Main Campground, and even though it was a ton of fun, I’ll take vacant field over dubstep trucks/people zoo//tent city any day of the week! Hallelujah, the Sleep Gods have got my back! (Does this mean I’m an old lady now, at 25?)

But what about the music? For more on the Sasquatch Experience, read our YouTube-enhanced SDTC Sasquatch 2012 Playlist to check out the fantastic live music scene


Head to our Facebook page for full Sasquatch photo gallery!

~ Becca Lemire

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)