The winds were treacherous all day, resulting in a 600-acre wildfire just outside festival grounds and a panicked shuffle to reschedule and relocate bands to other stages. While Allen Stone, Frightened Rabbit, and Tacocat found other stage accommodations, Leon Bridges was stranded on the schedule. Left without a stage or a time slot to squeeze into, a determined Bridges headed up to the sprawling green hill of the main stage to play some songs on an acoustic guitar.
What transpired was the kind of special festival moment that just doesn’t happen anymore in today’s tightly-controlled climate. A few dozen hill dwellers rapidly became a few hundred as fans swarmed in to listen, all sitting down and hushing each other into silence for the magic unfolding. And magical it was, as Leon delivered a handful of soulful tracks, including a few new ones, as the sun dropped behind the majestic mountain backdrop behind him.
Bridges and his lady friend smiled their approval as those who knew the words hummed or sang softly along. To many, including what had swelled to thousands on the Sasquatch stage hill, Bridges was nearly inaudible. But the energy was electrifying, both fans and artist understanding the rarity of spontaneity in a venue tightly controlled on all levels by Live Nation’s grip on activities and scheduling.
To future festival organizers – this formula needs to have space to exist, for special moments to transpire outside the scheduled grid of expectation. Please do more to encourage this behavior.
Far and away the best moments from the four-day festival in the eastern Washington wildlands.