I don’t typically like crowds. To be a little more precise…I hate them. They’re unpredictable, they smell, they talk too much, and they make me do this constant hand-to-ass movement because I’m always making sure my wallet is in place.
But when my best friend, Ian, said that going to the Sasquatch Festival for three days of chock full of beer, camping, and rock music was not just a good idea but, as he put it, "a moral imperative," I agreed. That means I’ll be spending the Memorial Day holiday with 20,000 (give or take a few thousand) of my stinkiest, sweatiest friends. The ladyfriend used to work concession at the Gorge during the summers, so she knows all about the place. Meanwhile, this is my first trip to the Gorge which, with its beautiful cliff-side vistas, I’m told is one of the most beautiful venues in the country.
Hopefully, I will not end up like the guy below, the now infamous "naked wizard" who was tazed by police at this year’s Coachella Festival (don’t worry, the naughty bits are blurred out):
Suffice to say, I’m stoked. And I’m even more stoked for the total glut of great music…much of it generated from our local legion of bands. The Decemberists are the obvious big-hitter with a headlining spot set for Saturday. But there are plenty of other Portland rockers set to put on a show: M. Ward, Blind Pilot, Viva Voce, The Builders and The Butchers, Point Juncture, WA, Blitzen Trapper, Horse Feathers…and probably a few I’m forgetting.
Since I’ll be there roaming from stage to stage, and since the ladyfriend has a pretty sweet camera, and since there’s very little else to do besides drink and blow out my ear drums (a perfect weekend, if you ask me) I’ll be compiling a full report of the Sasquatch madness for this here website. Look for it next week (time TBD). Maybe in the meantime we can come up with some sort of smell-o-vision where you can actually catch a whiff of the fragrant clouds of beer and body odor that will be filling my nostrils.
Wish me luck.
Now, on to the weekend:
Driving four hours and camping for three days in the Gorge to hear music isn’t an option for everybody. But the good thing is that in the days leading up to Sasquatch, many of the bands playing there are making a pit stop in Portland. Tonight is one of those nights as both the Avett Brothers and Mos Def take the stage for a little pre-fest warmup. The Avett Brothers are a hoot-and-holler punk-bluegrass combo from North Carolina that will certainly leave the crowd sweaty in their wake. Mos Def is a suave, sophisticated Grammy-nominated rapper (and Golden Globe nominated actor) whose concerts are far more entertaining (and enlightening) than his latest film, "TK." [Avett Brothers: 9 p.m./Crystal Ballroom/$20. Mos Def: 8 p.m./Roseland/$30]
Multnomah County Fair
Not all fairs have to be massive odes to disfigured carnies and cow manure. At this downhome festival, a petting zoo, extreme air dogs, roller skating, and even a Guitar Hero competition are all part of the experience. But what’s kept families coming back for 100 years is the prospect of a thrill-ride rush, followed by a head-splitting order of homemade ice cream. [Noon, Oaks Park, $15]
With a big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" already in the works, the time seems right to brush up on your knowledge of Middle Earth with this presentation by Northwest Children’s Theater. In this entry in the fantastical cannon, mild-mannered hobbit Bilbo Baggins finds himself in the company of adventurous dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf in this epic precursor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tag along as Bilbo discovers courage he never knew he had—not to mention a rather marvelous ring. [2 p.m./Northwest Children’s Theater/$16-20]