Watershed rocks the Gorge
Sun, sweat, guitar riffs and the smell of barbecue filled the air as roughly 25,000 people gathered at the Gorge Amphitheatre west of George for the eighth edition of the Watershed Music Festival.
Those in attendance, also known as “shedders,” were treated to a star-studded lineup of country music stars, including Chris Young, Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Zac Brown Band, Kane Brown, Jason Aldean and others, from Friday to Sunday, Aug. 2-4.
Conditions were clear at the outdoor venue, with daytime highs averaging 90 degrees and evening lows around 61. Shedders in the general admission pit below the stage cooled with bags of ice provided by event staff. Water and other beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, snacks and a large selection of dinner options were available for purchase all around the festival grounds.
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Besides the performers, which were the main attraction of the festival, shedders could shop festival merchandise, play lawn games or in a free arcade, line dance or ride various carnival rides, including a Ferris wheel.
Will Thomas, a manager at Boeing in Everett, Washington, was attending his fourth Watershed, the first without his wife accompanying him. Thomas was most looking forward to Jason Aldean’s set on Sunday evening, the final performance of the festival. Other than the music, Thomas’ favorite part of Watershed is the people.
“Everybody is so friendly here, and no matter where you go everyone is always very helpful,” said the 31-year-old.
The festival also featured up-and-coming artists on a separate stage called “Next From Nashville.” Away from the main stage, the venue kept its own schedule and included sets from two Washington natives: Austin Jenckes on Friday evening and Cort Carpenter on Sunday afternoon.
Carpenter attended Kelso High School, on the west side of the state, along the Interstate 5 corridor. Jenckes grew up in Duvall, Washington, a small town northeast of Seattle. Jenckes is also set to play at the Grant County Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, alongside Cody Beebe.
Katie Peterson, a 33-year-old from Bellingham, Washington, was attending her first Watershed festival, although she is no stranger to the majestic views the Gorge Amphitheatre provides. She has been to Sasquatch, an alternative rock festival that was usually held around Memorial Day, and also attended her first concert ever at the Gorge, a Blink-182 show 20 years ago.
Peterson was most excited for Kane Brown’s performance on Sunday evening, but her favorite part of the festival was sharing her experience with friends.
“This is my friend’s first time to the Gorge,” said Peterson. “This is a bucket list music venue, and her coming over the hill and seeing it and me getting to be with her [is my favorite part].”
By Miles King, email@example.com