UPDATE: The festival finally sold out (4/5/12).
I've been waiting to post the Quadros series assuming the next newsworthy event would be Sasquatch selling out, but inexplicably it hasn't? How can Coachella sell out 130,000 weekend passes in two hours, yet Sasquatch can't sell 25,000 weekend passes in two weeks? Granted Coachella is a much bigger destination, and the second largest U.S. metro is 130 miles away, and it appeals more to the beautiful people who only care about seeing the headliners, a handful of buzz bands, and dancing to the same beat by the hottest knob twisters while ingesting popular science experiments, but aside from that, the Coachella lineup isn't THAT much better? The headliners and rarities at Coachella are a big deal, but Sasquatch has done well for itself this year comparatively speaking. So why isn't Sasquatch sold out?
I'm pretty good at predicting what makes sense for Sasquatch (business wise), which is why I get paid the big bucks here. Blogging is very lucrative you know, the reason I write two of them. However, I was incorrect when I guessed the festival would sell out the first day general passes went on sale. I need to regain my credibility, which is why I'll share with you the most logical reason the festival has yet to sell out. [drum roll] The festival capacity has been increased this year.
How would Sasquatch increase the capacity of a venue with strict land constraints? A popular suggestion over the last couple years has been to put a stage in the campground. If they kicked out the hundreds of campground attendees who don't have a festival pass, and replaced their wasted space with an official stage, what paying customer would be against the idea? With re-entry in the cards this year, it would allow the festival attendees to freely move between the main stages and the campground stage. Plus, there is already a confirmed fifth stage, the NW Hip-hop showcase otherwise known as the "Maine Stage." The Maine problems with this theory:
1. Why would a Fire Marshall increase the capacity of the main festival grounds because of a tiny stage in the campground no one will attend during the evening hours?
2. Having wristband holders freely wander between the campground and the main grounds will required increased security checkpoints, or increased campground security protecting the borders (and a big fence).
3. Who wants to walk 30+ minutes between stages?
As previously mentioned, land is at a premium, so it's difficult to convince the Fire Marshall to expand the capacity without expanding the area of the festival grounds, so let's explore the largest piece of land in the vacinity. The parking lot of course. That place is gigantic, and it's a short walk from the Wookie stage. They are practically giving away this large area to those who want to park (I've heard non-VIP parking is free). Who parks instead of camping at Sasquatch anyway? It shouldn't be allowed!
I like dreaming big, so I think a gigantic dance tent in the parking lot near the security entrance of yesteryear could increase the capacity of the grounds by 6,000 or more. Then they could move the Yeti stage to where the dance tent has been, throw the Maine stage in the food court where the Yeti was, and all would flow perfectly. They could still use the remaining area of the parking lot for VIPs, and sponsor shuttles to the nearest towns for those who used to park for free. Even if purchasing property for expansion in the immediate area isn't an option, there must be property in the surrounding areas available to divert excess campers and parked cars? After all, light sleepers, people in their forties, and pregnant women freely shuttle to the festival from the Wildhorse campground.
Eliminating the parking lot all together would free up enough land for two additional stages, and increase the festival capacity to nearly 45,000, which would give the festival more money to land the really big headliners and continue to sell out. Sasquatch could then compete with the giant festivals of the world, and make it the U.S. festival destination of choice.
I'm done dreaming big for now. Nothing this large can be in the works yet, but I refuse to believe there aren't at least a couple thousand extra passes available this year. They found a way to expand the capacity, even if the parking lot theory isn't the solution. They can easily make the dance tent much bigger, and squeeze the Maine Stage in unused space to increase the number of weekend passes without increasing the acres of land use. Maybe the solution is sending the Fire Marshall and guests on a month long all expenses paid vacation in exchange for a favorable number (wink wink)? Maybe I think this is a good idea because I know the Fire Marshall, and maybe I want a free vacation, but I'm not admitting to the former.
In other news, the Quadros series will begin shortly. For those new to this blog, I listen to a lot of music and go to a lot of live shows, so I have a lot to say about each of the bands on the lineup. Hopefully I be able to knock out ten or more Quadros before the festival starts, so stick around. Until then, if you have questions, comments, or other crazy theories, post them below.