Sasquatch Festival / The Gorge (George, WA) / Day 1 Review 5.24.2013
Published: June 3, 2013
By: Gracie Roberts
This year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival had many surprises in store for its 40,000+ attendees. Those returning to Sasquatch yearned to experience the views of Washington’s beautiful Columbia Gorge while laying out on the main stage’s hillside and watching some of their favorite bands perform live.
This was definitely accomplished in great fun, but not without with some hiccups and curveballs along the way. These aspects of the festival made it a bit overwhelming for those who attended Sasquatch for the first time this year. Notable slip-ups of the festival’s production included some major sound issues with the venue’s stages, general disorganization of the Amphitheather’s security team, and a great deal of bands who started their sets much later than scheduled. These details made parts of this year’s Sasquatch a bit bumpier than past years, when the event’s organization seemed to still be in its prime. Nevertheless, no one can take away the magic that Sasquatch brings to the Gorge each year. Festival attendees made the best of the somewhat disorderly situations, grooving along to the bands they love the most like there was no tomorrow.
The majority of Sasquatch campers arrived late on Thursday night, only to be welcomed into the Gorge Amphitheater by rows of cars that stretched all the way back to Silica Rd., the route that leads straight to the Gorge’s venue. While many cars arrived at the venue around 10 or 11 p.m., they didn’t actually arrive at their sites until anywhere between 4 and 6 a.m. This was the first organizational catastrophe of the long weekend -- it seemed that there was a colossal miscommunication between the campsite security that caused campers to have to wait in their cars all night long. Fortunately, when the lethargic attendees finally arrived at their sites, many of them found they didn’t want to sleep due to the sheer excitement of being back in the Gorge. Early breakfasts were prepared, music began to play around the campsites, and Sasquatch was officially beginning.
On Friday, May 25, shows began at 4 p.m., giving campers the majority of the day to rest up from the long night (and morning) beforehand. Friday’s weather was cloudy yet pleasant, with pockets of sunshine peaking through the Gorge’s moody skies from time to time. During the late afternoon, campers made the infamous walk to the Amphitheater, more than ready to get the ball rolling inside the venue.
The biggest names on Friday’s roster included Father John Misty, Youth Lagoon, Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were Friday’s headliners, who rocked Sasquatch’s main stage from 10:30-12:00 a.m. Fans were able to get amped up at Macklemore, jamming along with the energetic beats that Ben Haggerty brought to the Gorge after years of performing on the Amphitheather’s smaller stages. When Sasquatchers had their fill of Macklemore’s top-quality hip-hop, they hiked over the hill to see what was happening at El Chupacabra, formerly known as the Banana Shack (or simply “the dance tent” by some of the bigger EDM fans that attend the festival each year).
Photo: Maxime Quoilin
The night’s sole electronic artist was last on Friday’s roster. 24-year-old Harry Rodrigues, better known as Baauer, was doused by the spotlight on the first night of the festival. After the explosion of the “Harlem Shake” videos popularized by fans on YouTube and social media platforms, attendees needed to see the face behind the name of this young, fresh artist who seemed to pop up out of the blue during the second half of 2012.
The truth about Rodrigues is that he’s been producing music since the age of 13, mostly focusing on house and electro sounds in his younger years. In August 2012, Baauer was signed to the LuckyMe record label, on which he plans to release an EP sometime this year.
Rodrigues, dressed in a casual white tee, bobbed along onstage as thousands of fans crowded into El Chupacabra for his late-night set. He dropped tracks such as Flux Pavilion’s “Gold Dust”, Dismantle’s “Computation”, and Savage’s “Swing.” Finally, the long-awaited “Harlem Shake” started to play, an extended intro building up the crowd’s already-obvious excitement. After a brief pause for shouts and cheers, the track dropped in all its glory, complete with growling lion samples and bass loud enough to shake the entire dance tent. Confetti coated the front portion of the crowd, who were featured on two LCD screen next to the performing artist.
At 12:45 a.m., Baauer ended the first day of Sasquatch with a bang. His peak-energy set left fans excited for what was to come in the three days ahead of them in this majestic place they had quickly come to know and love.