Now that I’m (for the most part) recovered from the weekend, I guess I should write a little something about it!
In comparison to last year, the festival wasn’t very well organized in terms of camping and layout. I understand that capacity doubled from last year, but it was very obvious they did not have the space for it. Last year, all the regular campgrounds were together, so it made it very easy to meet up with friends if you didn’t arrive together. This year there were 4 separate campsites in addition to the VIP one. We were originally supposed to camp in “diamond”, where a lot of our other friends were camping, but they “upgraded” us to “triangle” because they said it was the only campground with grass. (The festival organizers forgot to lay the sod in time at the other campgrounds… eek.) So yes, we were camping on grass rather than gravel, so that was a plus, but it was a 30-minute walk to the festival grounds, and 20 minute shuttle ride from where we parked. It wouldn’t be too bad if we never wanted to go back to camp throughout the day to drink or eat, but in order to do that, it takes roughly 2 hours out of your day and you end up missing shows!
I get grouchy at festivals. I always get my hopes up that I’ll be hanging out with everyone I went with and that I’ll be able to find all the people I want to see and that we’ll all just have a jolly ol’ time together. That is never the case and I’ve been to enough festivals to know that it is almost impossible to travel in a group, find who you’re looking for and see every show you want to see. I believe that if every person wants to stick together, they will. But if one or more people are hurrying ahead or dawdling behind – it’s not gonna happen. Anyway, it is what it is and I shouldn’t let it make me grumpy. I know full well what’s going to happen so I should really just go into it with a more la-de-da type of attitude and see people when I see people. The only other thing that sucked was that it was almost impossible to get drunk and stay drunk! The long walk from camp to the festival, the long beer garden lines and expensive drinks make it very difficult to get into party mode. Even for me. I didn’t even really manage to get drunk or party really at all until Sunday! It was nice, however, to actually remember the shows.
The lineup was absolutely fantastic. Overwhelmingly so. The only thing that sucks about such an awesome lineup, for a person with as eclectic taste as me, is that there is always major overlap across genres and you wind up having to choose between bands you love. First off, I had to choose between July Talk and the Zolas, two bands I like a lot. I chose July Talk because I have been obsessed with their new album, and I’ve seen The Zolas before. July Talk was insanely good. They were the first show I saw and also one of my favorites of the whole weekend. The sexual chemistry between the 2 singers on stage is captivating. It’s impossible to look away and you can just feel their connection oozing through their body language and stage presence. And, as if they felt the need to impress me even more, they invited 2 people from the crowd on stage to play giant Jenga! Amazing. This band is going places. Keep an eye out for them. For real.
And then I had to choose between Walk Off the Earth and The Head and the Heart, which was a tough call. We ended up going to The Head and the Heart, which was a lovely mellow afternoon jam. I had every intention of going to see Lykke Li after that, but after such a mellow show I needed a bit of a pick me up, so we stuck around for Serena Ryder instead. That woman puts on a great show! She loves being on stage and you can tell. I’m happy with my decision although I really do love Lykke Li! After that, the rest of Friday was a mad dash. I could not miss Nas playing Illimatic, but I also did not want to miss Foster the People so we stayed for about ¾ of Nas’ set, sprinted to Foster the People, stayed for a few of their songs and then sprinted back to Bruno Mars. We didn’t see a full set by any of them, and it was very hard to leave Nas, but at least we caught some of each. All 3 were amazing shows with something completely different to offer. Bruno Mars puts on such an entertaining show, and who doesn’t love signing along to those cutesy pop-ballads?
On Saturday we rushed to the festival to try and make the Oceanographers set, but we did not. Like I said, it’s impossible to coordinate a group to get anywhere on time. Ended up stopping by James Vincent, catching some of Black Joe Lewis and Tokyo Police Club before we went back to camp to attempt to get drunk. It worked for the walk back but you know, the thing with alcohol, is that in order to stay drunk you need to keep drinking it. We wanted so badly to make it back for the first half of Broken Bells before we had to dart to the Roots, but of course we didn’t make it and that was super disappointing. I love Broken Bells. That being said, I caught the entire Roots show, which made everything else slip away. That band is incredible. I think I have to say it was my favorite show of the whole festival, if not my whole life! Hip hop with a live band like that really gets me off. They played some hilarious covers, Fancy, Sweet Child of Mine and a few other nauseatingly popular pop songs. A lot of people didn’t like that part of the show but I loved it! I think it just shows how versatile they really are as a band. Anyway, bottom line, THE ROOTS were hands down one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in my life! And that says a lot. Then off we went to catch the rest of Arcade Fire, which we watched from the beer gardens while sucking back some whiskey gingers in a vain attempt to get drunk again. It didn’t work but the show was great and we made some random friends which is always fun. Then we hobbled the half hour walk back to camp and pretty much just went to bed. Seriously, who am I?
Here’s a rad vid of The Roots’ set by Sonic FM.
Sunday was the best day. We spent the early afternoon at Browning Lake, which was a much-needed break. Had a little picnic, went for a swim, Shae came and met up with us and afterwards, I was happy and refreshed. We went back to camp with full intentions to make it to the festival for Danny Brown and/or Shad, but failed miserably and ended up getting drunk instead and stumbling to the festival just in time for Atmosphere. I think y’all know how much I love Slug so it’s unnecessary for me to go on and on about it. But it was everything I hoped it would be and more! I love that man more than it’s healthy to love someone you’ve never met. With old friends, new friends, my sexy man at my side and the gorgeous Squamish mountains in the background, I’d say it was my favorite Atmosphere show to date. I was blissful. After that we had plans to meet some other friends at a designated meeting place, so we waited around and it never happened so I got grouchy, watched some of the Arctic Monkeys which cheered me up a little, met up with some more friends and prepared ourselves for Em. And then… it happened. I felt like I could die happy after that show. No amount of words can express how it felt to see Slim Shady live, finally, but if you’re a die-hard fan who has never seen him perform – you know what I mean. And then for the first time all weekend, I went to the DJ stage to watch John Digweed and called it a night! Good times had by all. See ya next year, Squamish Fest!