On its 15th Anniversary, Sasquatch Music Festival, delivered a different feel from years past.

Located at one of the most scenic venues in the country: the Gorge Amphitheater, the staggering sunsets, lush grassy fields, and cool winds created the perfect aesthetic that allowed festival goers to enjoy ethereal music with a picture-perfect backdrop.

In comparison to past years, attendance of the festival shrank, but created an ideal setting for those who decided to show up. With shorter lines and more space to groove, Sasquatch was comfortably crowded. At the main stage overlooking the Columbia River with headliners such as Florence and the Machine, Major Lazer and A$AP Rocky, I never felt like I was going to die in the mosh pit – gasping for air, and thinking to myself, is this performance even worth it? (It always is). I was able to jump and groove with adequate space without claustrophobia setting in. The nearby wildfire and raging wind may have delayed some of the sets but it did not keep Sasquatch from happening and the attendees from having an amazing time.

Day 1

The first day of Sasquatch didn’t start until later featuring a wide variety of smaller artists such as Lion Babe whose neo soul vibes and lion-like hair kept everyone mesmerized, most noticeably with her song, “Treat Me Like Fire”. As the day wore on and the winds picked up,there were fewer shorts and more jeans. The strong winds, a well known side effect of the beautiful venue, were enough to keep people from pulling out the typical summertime festival wear and by the time A$AP Rocky showed up (a good half an hour late) people were bundled up in sweatshirts. While A$AP struggled through the second half of his set he was able to perform his most popular songs such as “L$D” and “F**kin Problems” well enough to get the crowd going crazy. Disclosure’s performance which featured surprise artists such as Lion Babe on vocals and their own mastery of bass, percussion and vocals on some of the tracks created a memorable performance that included songs from their new album Caracal and the classics from Settle.

Day 2

On the second day, energy was high as the reality of the beautiful scenery set in and the excitement of coming events were realized. The festival had booths where attendees could try out an instrument, or learn about animal cruelty and the benefits of going vegan. Major Lazer was the most notable performance of the 2nd day, and undoubtedly the most anticipated. Dancers, confetti, and entrancing lights punctuated and emphasized the energy of the songs; needless to say it was a large crowd pleaser. The dancers rhythmically busting out seductive moves on the large stage was enough to make anyone aware of their own awkward dancing, specifically my inability to move my hips (oops). It was the kind of performance that made you both physically and mentally exhausted afterwards. Closing out the night with Rudimental and their entourage of musicians was a refreshing change from Major Lazer. The night came to a close with Rudimental dancing on stage to an Earth Wind And Fire song while the crowd jammed out and danced just as hard as they had at Major Lazer.

Day 3

Sunday at the Gorge unfortunately brought on intense gusts of wind, causing Sasquatch to cancel several of the acts at the main stage. Leon Bridge’s entire set was cancelled, but that didn’t stop him from performing. On the big grassy hill with no Mic or stage, Leon Bridges, performed for the people through word of mouth. My friends and I left Mac DeMarco in the dust (whose performance of ‘Ode to Viceroy’ was everything I could ever imagine) and rushed our way to the hill. With only his melodic voice and the help of a percussionist Leon Bridges blew the crowd away, those who could hear of course. Simply being close enough to see Leon Bridges  was enough, but the thirty to forty people who were huddled around him were able to experience a uniquely personal and intimately honest performance. Alabama Shakes played later that night after the rogue winds had settled, belting out the sweet and sometimes sorrowful blues, painting a vivid picture of love and heartbreak. The band kept it simple and honest, showing constant love to the crowd and ending without theatrics.

Day 4

Because Sasquatch takes place on Memorial Day weekend the extra day of music sets it apart from most other three day festivals getting just the right amount of music in before being ready to return home. Sitting on the big hill on the hottest day of the festival and enjoying one of the most necessary food purchases once inside the venue: a popsicle (wild strawberry and watermelon mint), I spent the afternoon absorbing  BORNS original songs and covers, Son Little and later Wet who played at Chupacabra with the fading rays of sunlight perfectly accentuating sultry tunes. Sufjan Stevens of the psychedelic indie variety was the weirdest performance I have ever witnessed and one that cannot accurately be described but must be experienced first-hand as I am not even sure how to describe it–angel wings were involved. Florence and the Machine connected with the crowd by asking everyone to put their phones away for one of the songs to which the crowd complied, forced to relinquish posting grainy images and videos to their Snapchat story. Florence danced, twirled, and commanded the stage and crowd to which the words fairy queen would accurately describe her on stage persona. Jamie XX closed out the last night of Sasquatch with live mixing and strong transitions and although it was cold the festival goers danced until the end of his set, and the sound wave coming from general was an indication that the partying had yet to cease even though the music had.

Overall Sasquatch 2016 was incredible as always, and if you’re looking for a music festival that delivers a good mix of genres from Electronic to Psychedelic Indie Pop and a variety of both well-known and under the radar artists. If the wide variety of music isn’t enough incentive to attend then the location should be. For the avid festival goer Sasquatch is a must and for those who have yet to attend a festival, Sasquatch is a great place to start.