7.14.2014

Music Festivals

Coachella, Ultra, Beale Street, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, TomorrowWorld, CMA, Jazzfest, and Pitchford are just a few music festivals that happen around the country. Besides Bumbershoot, which takes place downtown Seattle over Labor Day weekend, the music festivals here in Washington are Summer Jam (a one-day rap and hip-hop festival) and Sasquatch (a three-day alternative music festival). These take place at the Gorge Amphitheater on the Columbia River. It's an amazing place with breathtaking views. Touring festivals like Watershed, Carnivores, and Paradiso will be stopping there this summer. Dave Matthews Band has done a few days every summer for as long as I can remember. Other bands with tour stops in the next few months are the Zac Brown Band, Aerosmith & Slash, Jack Johnson, and Bruno Mars. 


The Gorge is a three hour drive from Seattle. In college I made sure to gather a bunch of friends and check out at least one concert each summer out there. We went to the Warped Tour a few times and also saw Blink-182, my absolute favorite band at the time. It seriously is a cool place for a concert, but the highlight was the camping. There's a huge lot next to the amphitheater for car camping complete with "comfort stations" (porta-potties and sinks) and pay-per-use showers. We packed coolers full of food and hid our alcohol under the trunk. We did this because if security caught minors with alcohol during the car check, they made them pour it out on the spot. Luckily that never happened to us. We'd pay for our one night stay, follow the car in front of us, park on the grass, and pitch a tent right next to our car. We'd get out our little chairs and pregame with our alcohol hidden discreetly in water bottles. 



The problem with pregaming in the desert is that we were hot and dehydrated, but quenched our thirst with alcohol (and juice!) rather than water. We'd get wasted in half an hour, haphazardly apply SPF 80 all over our bodies, and head down the endless path to the amphitheater. Once down there, we'd try to regain consciousness energy by napping on the lawn or cooling off in the misting station during the opening acts. Honestly, it was pretty miserable and we always questioned our poor decision-making skills. The headliner typically started at dusk, so the temperature dropped, we'd get our second wind, and head down to the pit to watch them perform through an amazing sunset and into the night with light shows and pyrotechnics. After the encore, we'd participate in the mass exodus back to the campsite. It was like walking among zombies. Everyone was out of energy and hungover with tired feet, sunburns, and sore, scraped and bruised bodies. You know, standard mosh pit injuries.




Back at our car/campsite, we'd recharge for our third wind. We'd take baby wipe baths, reapply deodorant and makeup, eat a bunch of junk food, and start drinking again. It was so windy and so cold at night, we'd have to change our clothes for winter conditions. Well, if you consider a hoodie and flip-flops winter apparel. Midnight is when the fun really began. We'd roam through the rows of cars and do shots, dance, talk, and make out with total strangers. These random people instantly became our BFFs who we shared a very strong bond with. But that only lasted a few hours. This was 1999-2002, way before social media, so we didn't even bother trying to stay in touch with our new besties.


Around 2:00 am, when security started to enforce quiet time, we'd head back to our tent to pass out. We'd shiver all night long in our sleeping bags, afraid that the wind would toss around our puny tent. Once the sun came up at 5:30 am, we'd scarf down a Pop-Tart and guzzle water while throwing everything into the trunk of our car and be on the road by 6:00. Yes, your math is correct. We'd kinda, sorta sleep for about three hours. We'd spend the entire three-hour ride home listening to the bands we just saw and retelling stories of our crazy behavior the night before. Once we got home, we'd shower, sleep for fifteen hours, and vow to do it all again next summer.

Now? This sounds like my worst nightmare. I'm exhausted after a regular concert thirty minutes from my house that ends at 11:00. The next morning my ears are still ringing, my feet are sore, and I feel hungover even though I didn't drink anything. I'd never be able to handle a festival. If I ever do go to a concert out there again, I'll definitely be getting a hotel room for the night. Ugh, when did I get so old?

All images via Google. There's no way I'm sharing any of my pictures.
World. Class. Hot. Messes.

6 comments:

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I never did an overnight festival, everything about it is anti what I like. LOL. I have friends who followed Phish around for weeks and months at a time when we were younger. No can do!

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

The only music festival I've been to is Beale Street's MusicFest. It's huge, but not Coachella huge. I haven't gone in a while though. I'm just too old for that shit now.

Susan S. said...

I. Am. So. Jealous. What a perfect place to have a music festival.

I am a HUGE music festival fan and we have travelled all over to see them. Looks like I have been seriously missing out.

PS- Did you know that Blink is in my top 5 favorite bands?!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Those views are unreal! What a beautiful location. I did Jazzfest a few years ago and I used to go to the Warped Tour when I was younger (when they actually had punk music), but never in a setting like this!

I do go to amphitheater shows in the summer though. That's about as close as it gets :)

Kristine said...

Oh the gorge... I can't hang like I used to over there but it's still fun trying :) I'm normally trying to sleep when all the good parties are getting started. Hashtag I'm getting old :/

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Never been to such a festival but I don't handle crowds very well so don't think I would enjoy it if I did