Last weekend’s Sasquatch 2010 was a jungle in the desert: neon facepaint, psychedelic feather headdresses, animal head toques and Deadmau5 ears. The visual spectacle only added to the magic of some amazing performances.
Vampire Weekend proved again why they are one of the best new bands of the 2000s, ending a soulful, high-energy set with the now-classic Walcott. LCD Soundsystem had the Gorge synchronized dancing to All My Friends – another flash mob performance sure to appear on YouTube. And Massive Attack’s set, which drew on classics from Blue Lines as well as this year’s Heligoland, was accompanied with giant pop-culture references and media quotes. It was a heartwarming surprise to hear reggae legend and Massive Attack mainstay Horace Andy – who must be in his sixties or seventies – sing live.
Many Sasquatch attendees comment on the isolated location of the Gorge: a three-plus hour drive from Seattle. It seems this journey only contributes to the festival’s vibe. It really is a spectacle. All weekend, campsites filled with impromptu dance sessions and barbeques with new friends. Lining up for the Honey Bucket outhouses captures the festival’s diversity: one is as likely to hear Wilco as Justice, accompanied by the ubiquitous MGMT. On the festival grounds, the sunburned and happy masses sipped $11 beers and reclined on the grass to soak up strong performances, which are too numerous to mention: The Tallest Man on Earth covering Paul Simon; The Dirty Projectors jamming out Bitte Orca. Canadians A-Trak and Jets Overhead represented home while DeadMau5 rocked a Tron-inspired stage set to close out the first night.
Even now, writing from Vancouver and sifting through photos, it’s hard to disentangle the best elements of the festival from the riotous, raucous whole. For those on the West Coast, this writer can think of no better way to start the summer.