A full review of The Gigantic Bicycle Festival in Snoqualmie Washington
Because of the need for ride preparation and because they were located a bit too far outside of Seattle for us to reach, we were unable to make preride/prefest movies on Friday night, and our coverage of the Gigantic Bicycle Festival started on Saturday morning before the sun came up.
After a few months of half-assed training on my Seattle rusted bike I was about as ready as I could ever be, having just eaten a cheeseburger for breakfast, and about to go on to do the 77 mile bike ride from Seattle’s Magnuson Park to Snoqualmie’s Centennial Fields Park for the Gigantic Bicycle Music Festival. The starting line was a bit tough to find, but once I found it, I was happy to see that the crowd was very laid back and friendly, and filled with sport bikers rather than hipster bikers.
The ride was split up into two sections. 77 mile riders and 100 mile riders, each was meant to follow little spray painted anteaters telling the riders when to turn and when the stops were. In other words the ride was split into sections of people, people who eat cheeseburgers and people who don’t. There were 5 stops for 100 mile riders and 4 stops for 77 mile riders. Each stop was equipped with goodies that mixed together on a regular day may make a person over the age of 12 throw up, but for a long bike ride they were perfect. Gatorade, fruit, bagels, nut butters, granola bars, and chocolate filled tents which signaled that I had somehow survived another 15 to 20 miles of moving my legs up and down while other people moving their legs up and down passed me effortlessly.
The ride was beautiful! Having not left Seattle in quite a while I was beginning to think that buildings and nature were the same things. This ride was full of beautiful views of mountains, lakes, houses, neighborhoods, and fields that weren’t being prepared to be plowed to make way for swanky townhouses that will almost certainly be filled by bougie couples that have more money than they could eat. The ride was so beautiful that I got lost a few times while looking at wildlife and not paying attention to the orange spray painted anteaters guiding me to hope, luckily I always found my way back to the riding crowd.
Despite the beauty, my lazy training schedule and 30lb backpack made this ride very difficult for me. By the time I got to about 60 miles in I had to take a break and decide whether I wanted to keep going or if I wanted to hitchhike to a remote part of Washington, drop out of school, join some sort of antiquing club, and start my life over again. Fortunately a granola bar and some Gatorade got me through my emotional state and I eventually made it to the festival. For finishing the trek, they gave me a super nifty patch and a pass into the music festival.
The Music Festival was as authentic as can be for a bicycle festival. There were tents full of cool bike products and giveaways as well as healthy on-the-go bike food. This was the place that all hipster bikers would like to say that they fit into but most surely wouldn’t, leading them to much sadness and discomfort.
The music festival was one big stage where the bands played for an hour at a time with an hour in between. The bands included Hey Marseilles, Menomena, Telekinesis, Moondoggies, and many local DJs. These were great choices as most of the crowd consisted of bike enthusiasts rather than music enthusiasts. All the bands were very easy listening to rock and rock crossover bands. The bands were all wonderful, and though I have a strong bias in favor of them, my favorite band was Hey Marseilles. They played a lot of new stuff and the orchestral precision on stage was simply beautiful.
Over the two days at the Music festival we felt that this festival is huge hipster gathering waiting to happen, and sadly the way that the music industry has progressed, hipsters are where festivals make their money. Great music, bicycles, and camping, all things that hipsters love or at least things that hipsters want people to think that they love! With some more connections to the Seattle music entities, some heavier advertisement toward the music community, a venue closer to Seattle, and more volunteers, we think that the Gigantic Bicycle Festival is definitely the Washington Festival to watch. It has aspects that no other festival can offer and already has a crowd that is not the normal festival crowd.
Our critique of this festival is that the ticketing, registration process, and organization was a bit more laid back than we were used to. We had trouble finding any sort of will call. Water in the campgrounds was nonexistent. There were not very large signs telling people when the bands were. The bands were all an hour apart from each other which left for a lot of down time. During the ride, myself and many others got lost due to a lack of mapping and signage. We also felt that many more local bands could have been looked at to play this festival. Though we liked the DJ sets, there were too many DJ sets for us to want to stay by the stage all day, with some help from Seattle music entities I am sure the Gigantic Bicycle Festival could easily have much more success in booking the right bands for futures years.
Overall however, we would definitely recommend this event to anyone who likes music or biking. With a price of $90 for a full pass including the bike ride and jersey and a price of $30 for a pass to get into the whole music festival, with very minimal transportation and camping costs, this was a very good deal and was much less stressful than any other festival we have covered this year. We would like to say a special thanks to Jesse Perrell and the Perrell family for organizing this festival and allowing us to cover it. The Gigantic Bicycle Festival right now is a place to go where other festivals such as Sasquatch and Bumbershoot have quickly become places to see and be seen. Our advice to you is to go to the Gigantic Bicycle Festival before the hipsters get there.
-Marcus Shriver and Megan Castillo / Two Peas in a place that no one has ever seen / KSUB Reporters