ABGT: The Weekender

I wanted to commemorate the beautiful memories from exactly a year ago when I traveled up to Washington state to attend Above & Beyond: Group Therapy Weekender. I have seen Above & Beyond over ten times now, and they were one of the first electronic groups I was introduced to (There is still nothing quite like Tri-State). According to Spotify, they have consistently been the artist I listened to the most, year after year. The more I listened to their Group Therapy radio shows, the more I wanted to attend one of the live ABGT events.

I had always heard that The Gorge, which is the venue The Weekender was being held at, was like none other. In fact, it has been voted the best outdoor music venue multiple times. Once I got there, I could definitely see it was a well-deserved accolade.

In my opinion, the venue was the most breathtaking during sunset. There was something so ethereal about the way a glow would cast over everything and everyone in sight. I’ve lived in the suburbs my whole life, and while it’s not as bad as the city, you don’t get as many vibrant sunsets like the one at the Gorge. The sun also seemed to set at a slower pace here (maybe because I’m actually able to see more of it at once), allowing the beauty to draw out over an extended period.

If you’re familiar with the #AnjunaFam, you would know that they are one of if not the friendliest bunch of fans to be around. Everyone I had encountered over the two days was respectful and friendly. I never once got shoved, even when I was on the asphalt near the stage, and people made sure there was enough space for others around them. The only odd experience was when one strung-out kid wobbled his way into our area, slamming into several people before he finally fell over backward lol.

It also made me happy to see so many rainbow flags and gay pride totems. Whoever brought that rainbow fan in the pics above, thanks for making the picture even more bomb! I only wish I took more pictures, but I always forget to.

Live music gets me so caught up in the moment it just feels wrong to pull out my phone and look at the view through the screen instead of what’s right in front of me.

If you’re traveling up from out of state, I recommend getting in the night before so you can get settled in a bit before the event the next day. I flew into Seattle after work on a Friday evening and hung around the bars until my partner flew in. We got up early the following day to pick up our rental car and drove to a nearby grocery store to grab some necessities before heading out to the Gorge.

The drive from Seattle to the Gorge took a little over two hours. It was a relatively chill drive; we didn’t hit any significant traffic on the way up. Since we were both from out of state and needed to leave early on the following Monday, we opted for the hotel/shuttle package instead of camping at the Gorge. It worked well for our needs, but I think next time we definitely want to try out camping if we have extra time.

Some of my favorite moments:

  • During A&B’s set, as we walked back from the port-o’s, I heard the beginning of my favorite song: No One On Earth. I didn’t expect them to drop it since I had never heard them play it at any of the previous shows I’d been to. The song was special in that I introduced it to my partner about half a year earlier when I went to visit him for the first time. We were laughing over the way it was announced in WYM149, and it basically became a running joke for us.
  • 2019 was the year I was bumping i_o nonstop and forcing everyone around me to listen to him. I had been waiting for MONTHS for him to release his remix of Alchemy, which he finally did two months before The Weekender. I can’t describe how epic it was of a moment when A&B played his remix, hearing the minimal pounding drum kick reverberate around us during the drop.
  • When we ran into the nicest people we had spent the first night dancing with the very next day at an açai bowl stand! That moment when you both recognize each other at the same time before running over for a hug is the best feeling.
  • Lying on the grass at the end of the first night at the top of the venue and watching all the rainbow lights bounce around us as Ilan Bluestone played
  • Chilling out to the yoga set at the beginning of day 2. Nothing gets the day started better than downward dogs and sun salutations.

Anyways, 10/10 festival. I can’t wait to go back again one day.

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