For the past several years, Washington’s Sasquatch Music Festival has been searching for its identity. When I visited the gorgeous event held at one of the most beautiful venues in the world, The Gorge, in 2011, I saw headliners Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse, Wilco, and Death Cab For Cutie entertain enthusiastic fans that were more than happy to extend the Memorial Day weekend event to four days. Soon, Sasquatch attempted to expand to two separate festivals and that’s when the wheels seemed to come off. The second event wound up being canceled, and recent years have seen reports of waning ticket sales along with Frank Ocean canceling last year’s appearance and attempted youth-appealing headliner bookings like Twenty One Pilots and Major Lazer.
Now, with the release of its 2018 lineup, Sasquatch appears to be back. Looking over the lineup, the event has returned to the aesthetic on which it was established, lead by top-line artists like Bon Iver, The National, Modest Mouse, and David Byrne. Indie rock is in high demand here, with the likes of Grizzly Bear, Explosions In The Sky, Spoon, Wolf Parade, Japandroids, and TV On The Radio also figuring in. The fest could do better at booking female artists near the top, with Neko Case representing the highest billed, but once you get to the middle of the lineup, there are a wealth of women featured, including Julien Baker, Tune-Yards, Jlin, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Slowdive, Big Thief, Japanese Breakfast, Margo Price, Noname, and Lizzo. And, if you aren’t that into indie rock, artists like Tyler, The Creator, Vince Staples, Thundercat, What So Not, Anderson .Paak and Snakehips provide a change of pace.
It’s an impressive turn from a festival that needed to reestablish itself as a festival heavyweight and certainly provides intrigue in a year that has lacked just that. This year’s Sasquatch takes place May 25th – 27th, with tickets available at their website.