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Caffe Vita (Somehow) Survived the 2014 Sasquatch Music Festival

| May 30, 2014

The Caffe Vita team. From L-R: (Shawn Jennings, Nick Dimengo, Ross Beamish, Erin Bednarz, Wendy, Max McLoughlin, Pearl Nelson).

We’d be lying if we said there weren’t some serious perks about working at Caffe Vita.

Sure, getting free coffee every morning, working at a prime location in the heart of Capitol Hill and having people ask us about the lifestyle that Vita has is great and all, but it’s even better when we get a chance to share that with thousands of strangers who quickly become our best friends for a few days.

And, for any of those who saw us or visited the Vita tent at Sasquatch! Music Festival last weekend, you know we did just that.

Since we like to be one with the people, seven Vita employees from different departments packed up two vans, bought over $800 worth of food, set up three pop-up tents and handed out hundreds of cups of cold brew and Georgetown Brewing Company’s beer for those in the general admission camping area.

What happened next? As you’d probably imagine, absolute madness—which is why we’re letting you relive it all right here.


The Vita tent and campsite prior to the madness.

After making the three-hour trip from Seattle to The Gorge Amphitheater, we did our best to claim as much space as possible in order to have the most bitchin’ spot for fans to visit.

Thankfully, event security didn’t notice us throwing some serious elbows to fight for the little extra feet to make sure we could accommodate those stopping by over the course of the weekend.

Setting things up, our Vita camp got right to the cold brew and Georgetown beer, playing various games of cornhole against other campers and blasting music to get the attention of those around us.


A classic photobomb from Vita’s Ross Beamish on some Caffe Vita fans.

Of course, it didn’t take long for people to notice where the party was going to be all weekend, as the crew instantly met our neighbors, handing out a few hats and stickers as a thank you for letting us do our thing—so major props to Tyler and Shaun for their kindness.

The first night consisted of a fairly low-key, hang session which included some tunes and team building amongst us Vita folks. Let’s face it, music festivals are marathons and not sprints, so we were just pacing ourselves for the main event.


From L-R: (Vita’s Erin Bednarz and Ross Beamish cooking breakfast, the finished product and Wendy chowing on the grub).

Waking up Friday morning, Vita training supervisor Ross Beamish made our team and visitors to the tent breakfast, blasting music to get their attention and instantly seeing one cold brew keg disappear in less than an hour.

Quickly realizing we had to pace ourselves with the generosity of cold brew, we decided that pulling a 9-12 schedule for coffee was the way to go, but still focused on hanging out and getting to know people as they stopped by the tent, handing out stickers and snapping a few stranger selfies with them in order to make them famous—all for a Vita hat.

When it came time to head into the festival, the Vita crew found themselves at the main, Sasquatch stage, rocking out to Crystal Fighters as they brought the energy to the crowd.

It was still early in the event—with some people not even arriving at that point—and the place was completely flooded with fans dancing and singing the lyrics. If we thought differently before that point, we all knew it was going to be a good weekend after that.


From L-R: (De La Soul’s Pos, Monk Wordsmith of The Physics and De La Soul’s tour manager showing their love for Caffe Vita).

As we split from one another, a few of us stayed to watch old school hip-hop clan, De La Soul, on the main stage, even getting the chance to sneak backstage to meet the band—who proudly showed-off how much they like us, too—while a few others went to see Night Beats on the smaller Narwahl stage.

Over the course of the day, Vita was well-represented at Cage the Elephant, Chance the Rapper, Phantogram, Raz Simone, Yelle and, of course, Outkast.

To say that the duo of Andre 3000 and Big Boi put on one of the most memorable performances of the festival would be an understatement.

Blending some of their classic songs together with a few of their own solo hits, the two showed everyone why they headlined the first night—because they know how to fucking perform.

The night concluded with 20-30 people marching back to the Vita tent for the first of many afterparties, where guests took photos with Vita, drank beer and rocked out with, well, you know.


A group of festivalgoers enjoy cold brew and shade in the Vita tent.

Running on just a few hours of sleep, Vita quickly found out that guests really wanted some coffee, with a few even stopping by the tent before the 9a start time for serving.

With all of us fighting some grogginess, we served up coffee and engaged with those who stopped by for the few hours before realizing we needed to, again, save some coffee for the remaining days.


Benjamin Verdoes of the band Iska Dhaaf performs a solo set in the Vita tent during Saturday afternoon.

Having some time to kill, Vita arranged a special, private performance by Benjamin Verdoes of the group Iska Dhaaf, who had played the day prior at the festival.

Bringing his personal sound to the tent, 10-15 fans laid back and let Verdoes serenade them with his lyrics and soft tunes.

With more than a few bands on the slate that Vita wanted to see, we marched into the festival to bands like The Growlers—who, yes, we tried to give a growler to—Violent Femmes, Band of Skulls, The Grizzled Mighty, Panda Bear and M.I.A.


From L-R: (De La Soul’s Maseo holding his Vita coffee, Vita’s Nick Dimengo with The Grizzled Mighty lead singer, Ryan Granger, Blake Anderson of the TV show “Workoholics” seems to like Vita’s sticker and Dimengo with singer Shelby Earl).

Each performance had extraordinary moments, with a few of them standing out more than others as the best of the weekend.

Finishing the night by seeing Tyler, the Creator, Vita—and other campers—were anxious to get back to the tent and blow it out with another afterparty.

No joke, the second we all got back to the tent, sweatshirts were changed into and sleeping bags were pulled over our heads, because we were all beat to shit from the previous two days and nights.

Miraculously, after a smoked salmon dinner by Ross, we thankfully all got a second wind, as more guests stopped by the tent to take part in the best party of the weekend.


A late-night party got a bit out of hand, as this photo of fans wearing Vita bean bags shows.

Cutting up coffee bean bags, Vita made it a priority for everyone who stopped by to slip one on for pictures, creating a pseudo photo booth for fans to pose for in front of our black and white sheet.

Looking around, it looked as if we were all at a Halloween party of people wearing the exact same outfit, drinking beer and talking about some of our favorite performances from the weekend to that point.

Vita’s own Pearl Nelson got on the mic and rapped for fans to dance to, with insanity ensuing until passed 4a—even after security came over and told us to keep it quiet once before.

As difficult as it was to wake up Saturday, the coffee gods were with us Sunday morning, as Vita pushed through the hangovers and lack of sleep to get some caffeine in them from cold brew to serve.


Caffe Vita’s Queen Anne barista, Sean serves the cold brew to a line of people at the Vita tent.

With a line forming as we were organizing things, guests happily talked about the night prior—which ended just a few hours earlier—as well as posing for pictures and hanging out with our crew for a few hours.

After some time to steady ourselves, we made our way to performances by Shelby Earl, Lucius, Cold War Kids, comedian Demetri Martin—which included a personal escort from backstage security after sneaking back—Banks, Rodriguez, Fly Moon Royalty, Kid Cudi, Parquet Courts, Portugal. The Man, Queens of the Stone Age and closing act, Major Lazer—who a few Vita folks were able to meet backstage and hand some coffee to.


The wild women of Lucius pose next to their favorite bag of Vita coffee.

Yes, you read that correctly, as hungover and completely low-functioning as all of us were, we found a way to make it to all of those shows.

With the word out that our fiestas from previous nights were better than a college house party, it went down till the wee hours the last night.

Going from 15 people to 25. Then from 25 to 40. And, finally, 40 to about 50, the Vita tent was overflowed with people who wanted to dance their asses off and send the festival out in good fashion.


A few visitors going wild in front of the Vita sign at the tent.

That all seemed to change when security came the first time…and then the second time…and, finally, the third time, while refusing to ever shut the party down except for a reminder to keep the music down.

With a few Vita fans feeling like family at this point in the weekend, a handful of friends stayed in the tent and hung out until 5:30a, with the sun providing the necessary light to see each other’s faces and keep us awake—which was probably a bad idea.


Caffe Vita—Last. Van. Standing.

A few hours after finally calling it a night, the Vita crew packed things up, gave out a few hugs and high-fives and, somehow, made the trek back to Seattle.

12 hours of sleep in four days, using the front seat of a van as a bed and then getting stuck in a three-hour traffic jam might not sound like a great weekend to some. But those are people who didn’t come to Sasquatch with Vita, because it was fucking killer as we definitely left our mark for all the festival to see and hear.

To see even more craziness from the #VitaSasquatch trip, check out our Tagboard which features TONS of content—and make sure to tag yourself and us if you have some to add.