For those disappointed in the lack of headliners at Sasquatch! 2010, here's a quick story. Big time headliners cost a lot of money. The more tickets you are able to sell because of these headliners, the better chance you have making back the money spent landing them. Sasquatch! has a capacity around 25,000 per day, compared to Bonnaroo (90,000), Lollapalooza (75,000), and Coachella (65,000). It is pretty clear that festivals selling more than twice the amount of tickets have a better chance to recoup that expense. Those disappointed with the headliners, stop reading this post, and instead go here.
Last year the lineup had the strongest lower and middle tiers, with a declining headliner (Ben Harper), an up and coming headliner (King's of Leon), and a bonafide dual headliner (Jane's Addiction/Nine Inch Nails). While the flow of the previous three years was geared toward shuffling everyone to the main stage to see the big draw, there were other options last year, with the Dance Tent and bigger draws late at the Wookie.
This year, they've one upped themselves. The lineup is deeper than last year (is there even a lower tier?), the dance tent is stacked, and the headliners are making music snobs around the nation break their piggy banks and make high spirited calls to their parents just to, "check in." My Morning Jacket, Massive Attack, Ween, and Pavement is an upper tier any festival would be jealous to have, except the larger festivals would go with two of these bands, and two others who have a greater appeal to the masses, someone like Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, or Radiohead.
In going away from the larger headliners, Sasquatch! is settling into their own vibe. With successful tickets sales again this year, you can bet the organizers will use this formula moving forward, and go with bands who would most likely be subheadliners at larger festivals, like Sigur Ros, Wilco, and Portishead. It is a large step towards creating a music festival for fans of music, rather than a music festival for fans of a couple bands.
With that said, how different is the crowd going to be at this year's festival? What percent of last year's crowd have listened to an album by each of this year's top four (maybe 5%)? I'm guessing you'll see a few less high fives, and a few more handshakes, a few less teenagers, and a few more eastcoast folk, a few less PBRs shotgunned at 3am, and a few more microbrews sipped at midnight, a few less shirtless men dancing on cars taking pictures of themselves, and a few more, well, people not doing that.
Sasquatch! may be moving away from the larger headliners they've had in the past, but the festival still has one thing just as spectacular as the headliners the larger festivals showcase. The Gorge itself.