May 22, 2012

Guide To Sasquatch: Festival Ins and Outs

For all those Sasquatch rookies out there, here's a little info about the fest, where to be, and what to avoid.

The Acoustic Tent

Last year, one of my favorite surprises was the Acoustic Tent, situated right in the middle of the festival grounds. Simply by scanning a bar code with your smart phone and entering your e-mail address, you can win access to the tent for the whole day. Many bands, before they perform their full sets, stop by the tent to play for 15 minutes or so to about a hundred lucky fans. Last year, I was able to catch intimate shows from The Decemberists, Givers, Foster The People, Flogging Molly and Fitz and the Tantrums. Keep an eye out this year for how to gain entry. It's well worth your while.

The Walk

For Sasquatch first-timers, keep something in mind. If your favorite band is playing at 1:30, don't leave you tent at 1:25. The walk, from the average camping site into the festival, can take up to 20 minutes in crowds. And that won't be a happy 20 minutes if you miss bands you want to see. Just by entering the festival early last year, you might be surprised by some bands you don't know yet, and you have a greater chance of getting in the prized acoustic tent.

The Stages:

Sasquatch Stage

The Sasquatch Stage, of course, is where the big guys play. Sasquatch has a unique feature here though: the view. While watching any group perform at this stage, you will have the pleasure of seeing the beautiful Columbia River in the background. If you're tired, I recommend setting down a blanket on one of the amphitheater's grassy ledges and camping out to watch great act after great act. For those of you who need to be close to the stage, luckily, the main stage at Sasquatch due to its size and layout, is very easily accessible. It is often very easy to get a great spot for some awesome bands.

Bigfoot Stage

The Bigfoot Stage is the second largest stage at The Gorge, and this year, will host The Roots, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Tune-Yards, Alabama Shakes, and many more. Situated right near the entrance to the fest, Bigfoot is a great place to catch a glimpse of an act you're unfamiliar with on your way in or out of the grounds.

Yeti Stage

The Yeti Stage is the smallest stage at the festival, which means it is a great place to go if you want a great view of some of the smaller bands on the bill. This year, Dry The River, Honeyhoney, Hey Rosetta!, Said The Whale, and many more will grace this little stage with their presence. 

Banana Shack

The Banana Shack is a large tented stage that is reserved for electronic acts and comedy. The innovative lighting rigs always make it a perfect place to dance the night away. This year, Portlandia, James Murphy, Nero, Wolfgang Gartner, Beats Antique, Apparat, and more will pay a visit to the Shack. 

The "Maine" Stage

This stage is brand new this year. The sole purpose of the "Maine" Stage is to get young Northwest hip-hop artists attention. With Seattle hip-hop getting lots of attention these days thanks to artists like Blue Scholars and Macklemore, dozens of other artists are waiting in the wings. The Physics, Sol, Scribes, Grynch, and other locals will hoping to build some buzz after their performance at The Gorge.

Most importantly, relax, have fun, and enjoy all the great things Sasquatch has to offer.

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