Rain, mosh pits and Macklemore: the Sasquatch Festival experience

Sarah Branoff/Staff

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This past weekend was the musical event of the year for many Cal students as they attended the annual Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington. Some of us at the Clog road-tripped up north to the land of legalized marijuana and North Face jackets (which were even more prevalent there than here in Berkeley, if you can believe it) to see headliners like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Alt-J and Steve Aoki. The festival lasted four days, and for the small, small price of $350, tickets included camping on the grounds with the rest of the 100,000 festival-goers. The food was horribly overpriced and the weather more chilly than we California-blooded folk would have liked, but the music was absolutely epic. Macklemore was extravagant and cocky in a way that only Macklemore could’ve been, and as a native Seattle resident, he exposed a more genuine side than fans usually get to see as he expressed his love for the Pacific Northwest. The soothing British voices of the Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party made us melt, and the electric vocals of Grimes were pleasantly and shockingly smooth.

Genres ranged from rock to trap to alternative, but many bands included hints of multiple genres in their performing styles. Even amid the mosh pit of Dropkick Murphys, for example, one could detect folky bagpipe tones, while Capital Cities managed to incorporate both electronic melodies and a teen-pop boy band feel. We were able to explore lesser-known bands, like Wild Belle and Tekekinesis, that are sure to make it big in the very near future. We were obviously rocking our Cal gear for the entirety of the festival, and our Berkeley pride swelled a little with every “Go Bears!” that was yelled at us. At one point, we ran into another group of Cal students and burst into the Cal drinking song (definitely impressing the Oregon State and Washington U friends we had made). Between crowd surfing to Imagine Dragons and lying on the grassy hill listening to the visibly intoxicated but still mesmerizing Edward Sharpe, the most magnificent characteristic about the festival was the location itself. The Gorge Amphitheater (located in George, Washington — cute, right?) is home to one of the most amazing views the Clog has ever seen. From nearly every stage at the festival, Sasquatchers could witness natural beauty at its finest — you could see huge, dropping cliffs and wide river forks slicing through the massive valley. After four days without any obligations (or a shower), dancing in the rain on Monday afternoon provided Cal students with a pretty magnificent “yolo” moment as they relished in being young and surrounded by beautiful music. The tickets were expensive, and the drive back to Berkeley was long, but the experience was worth it all — without a doubt.

Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]