5 Unexpected Moments of Joy from Beyond at the Gorge
The return to festivals in 2021 has been a stuttered start, given the inclement weather and changing health & safety concerns. But above all that, Insomniac continues its clear understanding of not just what makes a festival worth attending but what makes a festival worth experiencing.
After a brief hiatus for the yearly Gorge event by the now-defunct USC Events' Paradiso (We hope someone let the Chainsmokers know?), Insomniac brought their established pop-up fest Beyond Wonderland straight from Alice to central Washington and Festival Insider was there for all of it.
A Lineup that Extends Beyond EDM
The Gorge version of Beyond included much of the usual headliner fare, with the likes of Tiesto, Chainsmokers, Aoki, Malaa, and Rezz taking the top spots and venerated artists like 3LAU, G Jones, and Kayzo holding it down. Beyond also was a platform for some lesser festie stalwarts like Vanic, Regard, Rawtek, Softest Hard, GG Magree, Weird Waifu, and Capozzi.
The crowds showed up even for some of the earliest sets, like Darrius and Rohry, and raged through to the end for Tiesto or Rezz's final beats. And that says something when the average temperature dips to a frightening mid-30s in the middle of the night.
How Can You Not Enjoy the Vista?
There are few venues to hold that special feeling of being completely one-of-a-kind. So unique that attendees will openly gush about them with a giddy excitement even more infectious than the desire to explain every spoiler from their favorite Marvel film or podcast series.
The Gorge is just such a location.
With a mind-numbing rock face stretching miles behind the main stage and venue, it's easy to be nearly anywhere along the expanse and have a reality-breaking moment, with the added bonus of the intense cocktail of wubs echoing from the landscape.
Clean Portos Exist at Festivals?! Such wow
We've all been there. You need just a moment to finally get rid of the endless water you've (smartly) consumed. And as you swing open that porta-potty door, the unforgettable smell rushes past you, nearly embedding itself in your sweat. All possibilities of taking a brief reprieve disintegrate as you fight to keep the dry heaves at bay as you hold your breath (mask or not). You escape as quickly as you can. And as you lock eyes with the next person in line as you hold the door open for them, you hope they know that it really did smell like that when you got there. You see fear in their eyes and sympathize with their immediate future.
But wait! For what must be one of the first times, if not ever, at least in recent memory, every single porto experience by myself and my group of friends (and we're talking about several locations across the GA areas of the festival) left us in happy bewilderment. It was as if they were cleaned after each use. While I'm not going to give them an award or eat off the floor, I will please ask every other festival team to take a page from the Beyond Gorge playbook because it made a world of difference.
Many Rock Faces + Masterful Sound Sculpting = Moar Crisp Music
Over the past three decades, Insomniac has become the standard for visual and sound production in dance music. With the addition of mother nature’s best amphitheater building blocks, canyons, and gorges, that 10 climbs to a shimmery and shiny 11.
A lot of comparisons are made between Red Rocks in Colorado and the Gorge. Both offer a stunning view with above-average production and performances. And many of your favorite artists chose one as their favorite location to perform. The way that sound reverberates across these natural wonders is uncanny.
Every Yultron 808, EPROM dangly chimes and tweets. All the silky keys from LP Giobbis piano house bangers. Each gets that extra Gorge sparkle that can't be duplicated elsewhere.
Yeah, There's the Main Festival, but Holdup There's More?
Don't let the fact that it's two full days on multiple stages in an unbelievable location sway your decision to give the Gorge a try. There's a lot to do in the hour when you're not mending your feet from the slightly lengthy walk to and from the campgrounds or trying to wake up at a decent hour like 11 am so you get at least a FEW hours of sleep.
During the day in the main activation area of the campground, you can get your glitz on at the Glitter Bar or Hair Braiding stations, or take in meditative Yoga. If you are tired of waiting for your friends to get up so you can make the first set of the day, make some new ones while playing some lawn games.
And just when you think the final beat has dropped from the main stage, you can pick the party back up into the wee hours with a selection of additional artists performing at the Silent Disco. The production matches the level of the other stages, albeit on an extremely reduced scale. It's incredible to witness and hear how a stage, some lights, fog, and a pair of super responsive headphones envelopes you in heart-stopping performances late into the night.
Included this year (and hopefully in the future, too!) is the fan-favorite game of Frick Frack Blackjack. It's a typical Blackjack game except standard objects like spatulas, rings, board, or lawn games (yes, lawn games) are the collateral per hand. You must agree to the counter bartered object before the hand begins. Enjoyed by all, it made for that extra fun we all love to see at a festival.