5 Reasons to Attend Sasquatch! 2014

posted by Laura Baker-Finch & Kelsey Stoulil on April 29, 2014

Sasquatch! 2012 by Laura Baker-Finch

George, Washington -- There are so many great music festivals taking place over Memorial Day Weekend, it'd be wrong to just pick one favorite - but Kelsey Stoulil and I did anyway. 

We're head-over-heels in love with Sasquatch! Music Festival. Kelsey, a Seattle-native, has been attending for years. I, on the other hand, have only experienced Sasquatch! once, but I've been dreaming of my return ever since. 

Sasquatch! began in 2002 as a little-known, one-day event. It has since grown into a three (sometimes four)-day festival that draws crowds from across the country - though most notably from the Northwest - and has earned a spot among North America's favorite music festivals. Sasquatch! emphasizes indie rock and alternative bands as well as singer-songwriters, with a few electronic and hip hop acts woven into the lineup to keep all music-lovers' appetites satiated. 

It may not draw as many celebrities as Coachella, have as much corporate sponsorship as SXSW, or be as city-central as Lollapalooza, but that's exactly the point. Sasquatch! is basically in the middle of no where (at least three hours from any major city), but its remoteness has kept the low-key spirit and mega-fan attendance of the festival alive, making Sasquatch! well worth the trip no matter your city of origin. Don't believe us? Read on as we break down the top 5 reasons you MUST attend. -- Laura Baker-Finch

1. The Location 

Sasquatch! 2012 by Laura Baker-Finch

Whether you’ve attend the Memorial Day Weekend music festival or not, you have definitely seen its view. The Main Stage is situated atop a massive cliff that opens into the Columbia River Gorge, a canyon on the United States' fourth largest river, and an image that is almost always used to promote Sasquatch, for good reason. These images, usually taken at sunset, are even more breathtaking in real life. 

I still vividly remember my first time witnessing the view at The Gorge. Just before sunset, I walked up the hill that leads to the main stage only to have chills sent up my spine as I reached the top and saw the venue’s unrestrained, natural beauty. Having lived in an urban area for the better part of 5 years, the open expanse of the amphitheater was as powerful as looking up at the tallest building in NYC. I was alone, but had a smile on my face just the same as I descended the hill to join the crowd. 

Sure there are perks to a city-based festival, but Sasquatch manages to blow them all out of the water. Who needs public transportation, restaurants, and a hotel shower when you can stare at that view for days straight? 

However, Sasquatch’s location isn’t just ideal for the view. The gorge itself created the amphitheater and provides natural acoustics for every band that takes its stage. Plus, the remote nature of the venue means later end times and more noise! -- Laura Baker-Finch

2. The Lineup 

Outkast via the artist

As a whole, the Sasquatch lineup rocks. When they festival cut itself back to one weekend, we were glad it was this lineup that stuck. Let’s start with the headliners: you can’t call yourself a respectable festivalgoer in 2014 without seeing Outkast at least once, you just can’t. So tick that one off your bucket list (and shake it like a polaroid picture) at Sasquatch! this year. The National and Queens of the Stone Age keep the festival true to its rock festival roots. Sure, they’ve incorporated more hip hop and electronic artists over the years (it’d be a financial mistake not to) but, at heart, Sasquatch is about rock n’ roll and you can’t get much better than The National and QOTSA in that department. 

Further down the bill, Sasquatch has its bases covered with hyped up-and-comers (Banks, Chet Faker, Big Freedia, Chance The Rapper, AlunaGeorge) and indie radio darlings (M.I.A, Foster the People, Haim, Foals, The Naked and Famous) but also brings in tried-and-true mainstays (Elbow, Mogwai), sure-to-start-a-dance-party DJs (Major Lazer, Boys Noize, Ryan Hemsworth), and Seattle/Portland’s local scene (more on that below). 

The schedule has already been released, and while overlapping sets at such large festivals are unavoidable, it’s not too bad. The festival has five stages to work with, plus a pretty late end time (for location reasons mentioned above), so chances are you’ll be able to catch every artist you want to see - if only for a quarter set. -- Laura Baker-Finch

3. Local Focus 

Iska Dhaaf 2014 by Kelsey Stoulil for The Owl Magazine

One of the best aspects of Sasquatch! is its dedication to local musicians. Showcasing talent from around the Pacific Northwest has always been a staple over Memorial Day Weekend, and this year organizers have turned the local showing up a notch. 

Despite the cancellation of its second weekend, the festival managed to rebook the majority of locals bands scheduled to play for the original weekend. That means this year is teeming with Seattle, Portland, and general Northwest pride. From surf rock to rap, gritty blues to electronic R&B, you're bound to find a local band that will blow your socks off. Be sure to catch some Seattle favorites such as Night Beats, Iska Dhaaf, Raz Simone, Tacocat, La Luz, Growlers, and Hobosexual, ya know, just to name a few. -- Kelsey Stoulil

4. New Food 

Sasquatch! 2013 by Kelsey Stoulil

The Gorge has finally heeded the requests of many Sasquatch! attendees, bringing in a new selection of eats in addition to those from years past. This year will feature a much larger variety in terms of vegetarian and vegan foods, as well as locally sourced, organic ingredients. From portobello burgers to sweet potato fries, veggie lovers will have a lot more options when it comes to festival sustenance. If you’re like me and have more carnivorous tendencies, we recommend the double decker fish and chips bus (above). Get your English on in the seating area atop the bus while snagging an elevated view of the Bigfoot stage.

While in the campground, be sure to keep an eye out for pop-up breakfasts. Fellow campers may be slinging breakfast burritos, hot coffee, and smoked meats for a morning treat. They never last long though, so do some scouting and find your local breakfast buddy the night before. If you miss out on some home cooked (tent cooked?) goodness, there are vendors set up just on the edge of the campground as well. -- Kelsey Stoulil

5. Camping 

Sasquatch! 2013 by Kelsey Stoulil

If you've ever been to Sasquatch you know what the campground is like. It might be loud and rowdy, but after one visit you'll fall in love with the madness and be yearning for another year. If an all-night party is what you want, you can find it within steps of your tent. And not the "playing-music-through-the-speakers-of-your-car" type party (which is a TERRIBLE idea, unless you want your battery to die). A group of my friends literally brings a professional sound system, turntable, and light up PVC dome with them every year - this is not amateur hour. 

If you want to crash after a long day that's cool too, just pop in some ear plugs, curl up in your sleeping bag, and let the light thud of nearby parties lull you off to sleep.  

Sasquatchtown can be whatever you want it to be. The sense of community that springs up with the tents every year is truly something to behold (aka breakfast burritos, see above). You are all there to have a good time, and everyone is willing to make sure that you do. 

Last but not least are the highly debated shower situation. There may be long lines for them, but any native Sasquatch attendee will tell you that showering is not a part of the plan. Roughing it out is a huge part of the experience, and trust me, most of your fellow festivalgoers will not be concerned with showering, so don't worry about it, YOLO right? -- Kelsey Stoulil
Follow @laurajbf on Twitter
Follow @kstoulil on Twitter

See Also:

Sasquatch! 2013 Coverage
Our 9 Favorite Female-Fronted Bands