Each year, thousands of young people make the trek to a remote area in central Washington for Sasquatch!, a music festival set in a stunning natural amphitheater—a 20,000-person concert venue called The Gorge owned by LiveNation, a major concert production company. Throughout the summer season, The Gorge hosts some of today’s biggest names in music, including Coldplay, the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, and more.
However, for two weekends it’s the venue for much more, as dozens of musical performers and comedians take to five stages for hours all day and deep into the night, with thousands of avid music fans filling The Gorge amphitheater. Its adjacent campgrounds on the majestic bluffs overlooking the Columbia River are their home-away-from-home party scene for a three- or four-day stretch.
Sasquatch! was started in 2002 by Adam Zacks, a concert producer from the Pacific Northwest who, seeing an untapped local music market, created a major regional festival along the lines of blockbuster musical events around the U.S.—Coachella, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits, among them. Zacks was on target. Even in its first year, Sasquatch! passes sold out fast. Today, with word-of-mouth and social media blasts, tickets are snapped up in less than two hours on sale day.
Sasquatch!, named for the big, hairy ape-like mythical creature that some believe lives in Pacific Northwest forests, has boomed in popularity in part because of its unique location. The Gorge is set above the Columbia River, about 10 miles northeast of the small town of Quincy. Concertgoers have spectacular views of the vast river canyon and Columbia River, the backdrops for the music artists that perform on the huge main stage.
It’s now the largest music festival in the Pacific Northwest.
Sasquatch! has an eclectic mix of genres including hip-hop, electronic dance music, alternative and indie rock bands who performs on the five stages: Sasquatch! Main Stage, Bigfoot Stage, Banana Shack, Yeti Stage and Maine Stage. Several comedians and comedy acts typically also are scheduled, performing in between the musical groups.
It’s a caravan-like experience for the thousands who flock to The Gorge, tying up traffic on the local interstate for miles. Make no mistake: Sasquatch! is a commitment. Concertgoers carefully prepare days and even weeks in advance for the three- or four-day experience. There are no day tickets: only the full three-day passes are available.