Local acts go down Sasquatch! memory lane and give this year’s attendees some tips.
Sasquatch! Festival starts today and runs through Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25) at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, WA. Headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, and Of Monsters and Men.
It’s given that headliners drive festival ticket sales, but the entire Sasquatch experience – which includes camping, meeting new people, the spectacular location, and new music discovery of local bands – is really what you’re paying for. “You basically have a little slice of heaven,” said Ryan Devlin from Smokey Brights, one of the many local acts performing this year. They play at 2pm on Sunday at the Uranus stage.
For the local bands in this year’s lineup going to Sasquatch isn’t just another tour date, it’s a reunion with music fans and a familiar way to kick off summer in the Northwest.
Devlin said he drove by the Gorge on a recent tour and thought to himself, “Whoa, we are totally playing there soon!” The thought of getting to play a festival like Sasquatch after four years of building the band up with his wife and best friends is still pretty unreal to him.
Smokey Brights has been touring all year and say they are prepared for basically anything that could happen in a live setting. “You name it, we’ve probably experienced it. So, I feel like we are in a really strong place to do our thing in front of a whole new audience in a place we’ve never performed before,” said Devlin.
Smokey Brights’ Sasquatch tip: “Don’t text and port-a-potty.”
Yogi Paliwal, a standup comedian originally from Seattle and now based in Brooklyn, NY, has been attending Sasquatch since 2008.
Recounting his 2009 experience, he wrote to his fans this year, “It isn’t natural to see Aziz Ansari do 45 then Zach Galifianakis do an hour then Nine Inch Nails, and finally end the night with DeadMau5. I drove home from the festival dreaming of one day being a part of it.”
Dreams do come true and Paliwal is “freaking out” that his life is the way it is. With some hard work and dedication, who knows where you’ll end up? Well, this year you’ll find Paliwal on the El Chupacabra stage at 4pm on Saturday.
“When the sun sets behind the mountains, and the stars start peeking out I just get goose bumps. Perhaps I’m biased but I challenge anyone to prove to me another venue is better,” he said.
Yogi Paliwal Sasquatch tip: “I know this will sound crazy, but don’t shower during the festival. I know hygiene, germs and the notion of contact/sweat with thousands of people is disgusting. I promise you though if you don’t immediately remove the filth on your body the shower you take after the festival once you are home is a religious experience.
Off stage you can catch Paliwal in the crowds catching the sets of Leslie Jones, Run the Jewels, Odesza, Kiesza, and his personal favorite, Kendrick Lamar. “He is something that the current generation desperately needs in a time where ‘talent’ is based off of likes and views,” he said. “Kendrick Lamar is the truth.”
Sasquatch is pretty new to guitarist and frontman Ayron Jones. His band, Ayron Jones & the Way play Friday afternoon at 3:40 on the Sasquatch main stage. Though he grew up in the Northwest he had never attended the festival and had only heard stories about it. “I know it’s a pretty big deal,” he said. “Some artists that I really admire are going to be there. The fact that I get to share the mainstage with them is an honor.”
Big festivals like Sasquatch draw thousands of people from all walks of life. That’s what Jones finds most beautiful about the idea of Sasquatch. “The job of an artist is to bring people together. To be able to play at something this big works towards our cause.”
Though Jones said he’s the type of person that would rather watch from afar, he said he might venture into the crowds to catch some of the artists he’s excited to see perform including Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Royal Blood, and Glass Animals.
Ayron Jones Sasquatch tip: “ Well, I was told to have fun and look forward to a weekend of craziness.”