This account of Sasquatch is told through the lens of Vancouver entertainment photographer Joshua Peter Grafstein. This wasn’t my first time going to a music festival, I’ve seen hunders of concerts and have photographed Sasquatch before. I knew I was in for a wild weekend. Here are some of my favorite photos and highlights from this past weekend.
After a 6 hour drive from Vancouver my roommates and I made it to the Gorge without any issue, but missed the first handful of performances. By the time we arrived a few bands had already played and I wasn’t too familiar with some of the artists playing in the afternoon. Phosphorescence was just about to start on the Bigfoot stage so I figured I’d get started by photographing them.
Having never really listened to them before, I really went into seeing their performance with an open mind, and wasn’t disappointed. Unfortunately, I was only about to stay for the first 20 minutes of their set, before I had to head out to see the next band. This happened a lot during the festival, always tough having to leave a halfway through a bands set to catch the 1st 3 songs of another band.
Next Up FOALS at the main stage. Another band I didn’t know much about. My roommates raved about them on the drive down and they certainly lived up to the hype. Those dudes know how to rock! After watching a Foals play a few songs I went to the dance tent to check out TOURIST before heading back to the BigFoot stage to see PHANTOGRAM.
unfortunately Phantogram had the bad luck of getting stuck with a bad sound guy, who really botched the mix and made them sound terrible. There was way too much bass and It was VERY difficult to hear any of the vocals.
I popped back into the dance tent to check out CLASSIX for a few minutes. I’ve seen these guys a few times in Vancouver and had to work my way through a ton of sweaty kids to get this photo, totally worth it.
Shortly Classix started so I hustled over to the main stage to catch Foster the People, the last time they were at Sasqyatch they were on a side stage and had just release Pumped Up Kicks, figured I’d get a few shots… Gotta say, totally over that band.
There was a joke going around my campsite that the lead singer sings like he’s on a roller coaster “weee-oooo-weeee” with his arms out all the time. Thought that joke was more entertaining than their set, maybe their music just isn’t for me…
I was happy to leave the main stage so I could check out post rock legends MOGWAI. This instrumental band didn’t disappoint their fans. I noticed that the crowd was comprised of mostly adults., it was quite obvious that their music isn’t for the ADD generation.
Shortly after Mogwai started there was quite a lot of bass coming from the dance tent so I went over to check out YELLE. And even though her music is in a language I don’t understand, I had such a good time watching her perform. She had such a great vibe and so much energy. I couldn’t stay long because I had to get a good spot for OUTKAST at the main stage.
Closing out the night was DIE ANTWORD on the Big Footstage. This was probably the weirdest way to end the night. Most of the crowd didn’t know their music, or what these south african’s are all about. I think the general consensus was “I don’t get it?”, combined with a bad mix, this wasn’t their greatest performance.
Day 2 started with a couple of smaller bands I have heard about or have been told to check out.
The went and saw a few songs from City and Colour, another band which I just don’t really listen to, I’m not in their demo, but I respect Dallas Green and the music he makes.
I stopped by the dance tent to see everyone’s favourite Grandma’s Boy Nick Swardson. It was really great seeing him live, he was just as funny as I had hoped he’d be, making all sorts of jokes about all the drugs going around the festival camp group (a common theme for the comedians at the festival).
I’ve met Ryan Hemsworth a few times in Vancouver and really dig his music so I went to check out his set at the dance tent. Definitely enjoyed hearing his tunes but one thing was very clear, everyone dancing here at 5 in the afternoon is on drugs.
I look around and what do I see… casual drug use… so I got outta there… had to get a good spot for MIA.
I love her! I’ve been a fan for a while, and had never seen her until now, and wasn’t disappointed. She definitely blew me away. Definitely my favorite performance of Day 2.
I (regret) made my way over to the Big Foot stage to check out Tyler, The Creator. What an Asshole! I’ve never been into Odd Future or any of the artists affiliated with that clique, but I figured I’d get a few photos. After the 1st 3 songs he told the photographers he hoped we all got hit by a bus, then went back to rapping about smacking bitches. Can’t say I’m into his music, or the general vibe he puts out.
Closing out the night was CUT/COPY, I truly forgot how much I love this band. I saw cut copy way back when at Richards on Richards, but hadn’t heard their new record and their old stuff hadn’t really been in my rotation for a while. Man and man oh man, I can’t believe I forgot about how awesome they are live. One of the only bands who’s set I actually stayed and watched from start to finish, even if that meant dancing with my camera bag.
Day 3 started with my checking out a few bands I had heard good things about but had never really taken the time to listen to, what better way than to hear a band for the first time live. I checked out TuNe-yArDs and Cold War Kids on the main stage and Vancouver’s own Pink Moutaintops on the Yeti stage.
I then headed over to the dance tent to check out two comedian’s I’ve seen on comedy central, Hannibal Burress on Broad City and Dmitri Martain on his show Important Things with Dmitri Martin. Both comedians were great! And Dmitri Brought his guitar!
Next up were 2 female acts that I’ve heard a lot about from my female friends. BANKS and HAIM. Banks was on first in the dance tent, she made a point of restricting photographers access to the photo pit, so that mad things difficult. Her hair was covering her face most of the time, so it wasn’t easy to get a good shot of her. I can’t say her music was all that memorable to me, I remember thinking, I can see why the girls in my life like this, but meh… not my cup of tea, HAIM on the otherhand. I totally fell in love with these girls.
From the second I got to the main stage I could feel the rock and roll energy. I had heard that these girls were sisters raised in a nice Jewish family, and seriously can’t believe how hard they rocked. They definitely won me over within the first few minutes. I’ve been listening to their album on repeat since I’ve gotten back. You can’t deny that’s one amazing Bass Face?!
I was on a Rock and Roll high, and up next was the band that I had really came to see Queens of the Stone Age. I’ve seen them a handful of times and Josh Hommes didn’t disappoint. He had the whole crowd chanting “Nicotine Valium Vikedin Marijuana Ecstasy and Alcohol”
After a rocking out with QOTSA I made my way over to the dance tent to check out the one electronic artist that I was really excited to see Gesaffelstein. I know he’s pretty reclusive when it comes to doing interviews and taking photos, and was extremely surprised to be the only photographer in the photo pit for the start of his set. Guess everyone was waiting for Major Lazer to go on.
I’ve seen Major Lazer a bunch of times, I knew exactly what to expect, one crazy finish to the festival. Diplo is easily the coolest white guy in my book and he definitely brought the heat. Starting the set with a Game of Throwns opening ML got the crowd fired up early. They got everyone to drop low, take their shirts off and blew everyone away with fire works as their single “Get Free” rang out through the entire festival.
What an incredible way to end the festival. Until next time… Thanks for the memories.
More photos of each artist can be seen on Joshua’s website @ JPGphotography.ca