Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why no Sasquatch next year*

I went to the Sasquatch music festival this weekend. As usual, the location is beautiful and the music ranged from good to mind-blowing (another post on the music later). But unless the organizers manage to resurrect John Lennon, I don't plan to go next year. At one point, waiting in some annoying line or other, I said, "I can't wait until next year, when we're NOT going to Sasquatch."

First of all, the price is too high. Usually for festivals, I do a little calculation of how much I'd pay to see each band individually and that decides whether I go. This year, I was so excited about The Cure that I'd bought two (non-refundable Ticketbastard) tickets for all three days before I did the calculation and realized that I wouldn't have paid $75 for any of the days. So again Sasquatch, next year it'd better be zombie Lennon. And if you're messing with necromancy, why not Cobain, too.

The ongoing frat-guy-ization of Sasquatch reached fever pitch this year with some annoying morning-zoo types blaring music and trying to get people to humiliate themselves for free ad t-shirts next to a pitching cage, a corporate SUV (hott!), and a semi truck parked on the lawn where only two years ago, a guy dressed as a banana had done quiet interpretive dance. I missed Banana Man.

And holy shit is the alcohol situation bad. Of course you can't bring your own, and they charge through the nose. PBR was $11. For those prices, I decided to keep my self-respect and stay sober. But having been wildly envious of people who stayed dry in the bar during the hailstorm a few years back, I decided to go into the bar as soon as the crowd started cheering on the rain.

Sure enough, rain started to fall, the crowd started to cheer, and we rushed over to the bar. I was surprised by how short the line to get in was. And yet, we were in line for ten minutes while one gal looked at every ID as though it were an Israeli checkpoint. Then she spent two minutes each putting on a wristband just so.

When I got inside, the gal at the bar carded me again for my $9 mini-Sutter Home. So the hard-won wristband was useless. At that point, I was okay with it. She was nice, and it's a little flattering to be carded when you're 33 years old**. That is, it's flattering every now and then.

We left the tent ASAP (they had the concert showing on little tiny TVs, but no sound on), wherein I got yelled at for carrying out my empty mini-wine for later label use in my wine journal. The Fiance said he understood -- I might get wild and start smashing people over the head with my empty plastic miniature wine bottle.

We came back to the bar when the skies got threatening again. Longer line, even with two additional people on ID duty. One guy waved his bracelet and zipped through. I waved my bracelet at ID Dude #1, he spied my myriad gray hairs, and waved me through. But as I tried to move forward, ID Dude #2 said, in full authoritarian mode, "Your ID! Where's your ID!"

Now, nothing pulls my trigger faster than a mean person.

"This is ridiculous!" I said. "I've been checked!" I said, waving my wristband. "YOU checked me!" I said to the gal who was studiously ignoring the scene I was making. By this time, I'd pulled out my ID (after 12 years, I've no doubt I can do this in my sleep) and been waved through by ID Dude #2. "I'm 33!" I said as I stalked into the bar. "Then act like it," I heard the sheepy obviously-old fattened multitudes who haven't been carded since they were 15 behind me think. Still, I swear to God my tantrum (or probably dozens like it) had an effect. The next day, ID Dudes were circulating in the crowd, giving out wristbands at people's leisure. That'd be fantastic, if the wristbands weren't utterly useless to anyone under forty and 200 pounds.

I decided it'd take a Biblical flood to get me back in the bar, so we just stuck out the brief little rain showers for the rest of the festival. Much more pleasant than the Kafka-esque bar. But more beverage-related hassle awaited! In addition to either cheap or high-quality beer, I enjoy a good cup of coffee. That is, an afternoon without any coffee is an afternoon with a bad headache. On Sunday, they were out of coffee. On Monday, they were out of coffee cups. How do they not want the all-profit $4 they were charging badly enough to ensure they have coffee and cups to serve it in? Market forces. Pfff.

How the Gorge management treats its guests was embodied perfectly in signs on various beverage vendors. "As requested by the artists, all bottle caps must be removed and confiscated upon purchase." Now, people who throw bottle caps should be banned from attending any concert ever, but I am fucking certain Chris Walla did not request that all of his fans be treated like criminal infants (with giant trust funds). But that's exactly the way the Gorge did treat us, every step of the way.

Though nothing, not even the jaw-dropping Battles, was "too loud," I guess this all amounts to: I'm too old to be treated this way (though apparently I don't look it).

*Barring zombie Lennon.

**Thanks for the youthfulness, fat Irish cheeks! I've seen what gravity will do to you come age 50 though. Must mentally prepare.

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