Sasquatch Festival review Day One

The Great Wall Of Quincy

Heading east along the I-90 for what seemed like an eternity was how the Sasquatch began for us and the tens of thousands of similar campers. The journey concluded at 724 Silica Road, Quincy, WA where we ended up joining a humungous car queue with signage which wasn’t far back enough. Instincts guided us into the right car lane for campers at the general campground, however many didn’t follow the same path of luck and you couldn’t help but see the panic as they tried to get into the ever mounting line.

After finally making it through into the camping area, we had the privilege of joining yet another queue inside the grounds to reach our soon to be allocated spot. The Gorge and bulk of the Sasquatch activity was completely out of sight once we had been told where to set up, and battling the rain and wind to erect our tent became the next obstacle to overcome.

Once ready, we made our way to the Gorge Amphitheater. Two main issues stuck out though; we weren’t checked for ID or tickets prior to entering the campground, that seemingly wasn’t any sort of a problem. However reaching the gates was a different story, maybe you could camp without a ticket, but not get involved in the show as a few friends of ticket holders found out. Above that was our trek to the campgrounds whereby it took us half an hour to exit the camp site, and a further ten minutes to pass over the pathway leading to the Gorge. I overheard a passer by remarking “I think by saying your four day ticket includes camping was a bit of a scam,” clearly a Sasquatch first timer, he wasn’t impressed. The scenic view proved worth it.

The camp site for general camping was organized chaos. The grass was easily a foot high, and it wasn’t the soft flexible kind; being in a sunny field, it was a mixture consisting of a good amount of sharp straw like dead grass. Once you placed down your tent, it was actually fairly comfortable to sleep on. The issue came though with your camping neighbours, but that’s to be expected. You also had scalpers parading around continuously.

Consistently on the walk from the campsite to the Gorge you would overhear criticisms. I timed the walk for myself; 20 minutes to get there, and of course, 25 or so back as it was uphill. “The Great Wall of Quincy” is how it looked from the start of the path. It wasn’t that long a walk per se, but considerably more than first timers expected.

I had aimed to interview Rival Schools, but the group were in a fair amount of a rush, so after performing Sasquatch 2011’s opening set and winning over some new fans, they left for their next date.

Scottish Biffy Clyro performed on the Bigfoot stage, with the band’s signature shirtless tattooed and for their lead singer, scruffy look. However, as we’re all well versed, appearances can be deceiving as they graced over their lengthy catalogue of course touching on the hits “Many of Horror (When We Collide)” and concluding with “Mountains”.

Bob Mould was the first to grace the main stage, and despite his legacy, he may not have been the best pick for opening day on the mainstage. With the beautiful Gorge backdrop, the location is designed for huge audiences and despite a great performance, a large audience he didn’t draw. The Bronx also fell significantly short of that later on, even musing “I still can’t see no motherfuckers dancing!” Despite the fact that they started off poorly, the shredded vocals group did manage to draw a larger crowd as their set went on. But were they there for the Bronx or Death From Above 1979 who would later follow?

Over on the Bigfoot stage, Against Me! held their own. Ranging in their material from thrash rock to captivating more mellow songs, the audience continually grew and became more engrossed in the group’s set.

The Amphitheater on this 2011 Memorial Day weekend started having it’s potential realized when Death From Above 1979 graced the stage. The sun was descending, with inspiring views as it did so, and the temperature was dropping, but the un-obstructed visibility from the sun was becoming apparent and did nothing but help Sebastian Granger’s five year wait to perform again with DFA1979. Their cool form of punk won over the thousands eclipsing the Gorge’s hills.

DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid’s set at the Banana Shack drew a huge raver crowd, touching on Indian inspired sounds amongst others to form the DJ set, Anjali’s audience spilled out of the “shack” and surrounded the area, loving every second of it. For those uninterested in the Foo Fighters, Anjali presented a very contrasting option. Excellent set.

Predictably the Foo Fighters took in the largest audience, despite people leaving to enjoy the campsite. The group of course played the Foo hits, touching on call and response chants and having their audience really enjoy the band. Grohl was definitely a captivating frontman, clearly a little drunk, cursing repeatedly, but keeping his mid song musing entertaining and sharp. As soon as the next song began, there was no shred of evidence that he wasn’t clear in his thoughts as the group performed their material amazingly live, Grohl bopping to the beat, his head resembling the movements of how the muppets were brought to live, quick snapped head bobbing. There was an amusing point in which Dave Grohl tried to get the crowd to perform alongside one of the group’s newer songs, but not enough knew it to sing along when the music stopped. Regardless, Grohl smiled, quipped about them being older Foo Fighter fans and continued on.

The first day of Sasquatch was confusingly fantastic. Despite my campground issues, for which I don’t blame the other campers, more so myself (what was I to expect? Lights out after the show and everyone falls asleep?), the offerings by the festival on the first day were definitely impressive. I’m still looking for the actual Sasquatch though, there are lots of frauds wearing his image in the crowd, but their outfits seem removable.

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