Sasquatch! is a young person’s game and I’m getting too old to deal with the hoards of party folk blaring late-night dub-step.
My yearly pilgrimage to the Gorge (a.k.a. the shrub-steppes) now consists of taking photographs while enjoying a handful of musicians.
This year’s lineup was not as spectacular as years prior but there were still some great acts that did not disappoint.
As for the photos, I managed to snag a couple good shots here and there despite not having a “media pass” for the third year in a row. This has got me thinking; I might be the best Sasquatch! photographer to never have proper media credentials.
But, I digress…
Let’s take a look at some of the photographs from this year’s photosafari.
Before you feast your eyes upon the Gorge’s natural beauty, you must wade through the lawless wasteland that is the campgrounds.
A circular field of farmland transforms into a campground overnight in order to accommodate 30,000 concert goers.
Life in the grounds resembles a frat-house squatters camp. People spend their days drinking, playing games (flip cups, beer pong and “ladders”), listening to music and, if need be, looking for drugs.
During the Memorial Day long weekend, the temperature is always hovering around the mid-high 20s (C). Wind and rain can roll in at anytime making things unpredictable.
Just like the weather, the campground antics is also unpredictable. It is a goldmine for bizarre sights and oddities.
So many people are vying to expose their unique characteristics and be accepted in a temporary-anarchistic society. It’s a fair assumption to say that the average person cannot handle the four day festival culture that breeds on the banks of the Columbia River in Central Washington.
The Gorge Amphitheatre is the most beautiful theatre I have ever had the privilege of seeing. Every year, I take the same shots but they still seem as fresh and beautiful as my first time at the Gorge. It’s a shame that the Sasquatch! organizers try to impose lens limitations on DSLR’s.
On the first day, I tried to bring my new GoPro camera into the concert. The bag-check security, that normally looks for booze, told me I could not bring the wide-angled recording device into the fairgrounds. As he was telling me this, a young man with a slack-jawed grin was holding a GoPro in his hands walking through the gates.
I pointed and said, “but that guy has the exact same video camera.”
The guard said I would have to return to the campsite with the camera. I managed to talk my way out of a twenty-minute walk back to camp by promising that the small camera would never see the light of day. I kept my promise because I had other plans for my Nikon and 200-300mm lens.
People ask how I managed to get all my camera gear into the fairground and every time I’d tell them that I smuggled my lenses in a secret compartment in my backpack. Once I’m past the gates, I’ll take off the 50mm lens from my camera and then fasten an appropriate lens for sniping sweet pics.
Photographing musicians/bands is cool but it often leaves me feeling hollow. Unless you are shooting a lively band hell-bent on doing sweet jumps and emitting sweet emotions with a visual display happening right behind them, every gig seems the same. Photographing bands then turns into an act of capturing superficial trophies. It’s kind of creepy in a One Hour Photo type of way.
I’ve made it clear to some that I make this annual photosafari to document the freaks and their adventures at Sasquatch! And, I mean “freak” as in:
a. A drug user or addict: a speed freak.
b. An eccentric or nonconformist person, especially a member of a counterculture.
c. An enthusiast: rock music freaks.
1. An abnormally formed organism, especially a person or animal regarded as a curiosity or monstrosity.
I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty tired of writing this post. I’m probably just going to wrap it up with a couple more photos and say “see you next year.” Hopefully I’ll get some coin thrown my way next time around…