A Pilgrimage to the Gorge

By Chrissie Ferguson

Last night I made a pilgrimage to see the Gorge Amphiteatre in George, Washington. Although…this wasn’t your typical pilgrimage to the Gorge. 

I did not have a car packed to the brim with camping equipment. Instead, I had a large glass of cabernet and a remote control to accompany me on this journey. 

With a quick search on Amazon and the click of a button, Enormous: The Gorge Story, entered my family room. And like a phenomenal book or a captivating Netflix series, I was transported to another world. 

Prior to the one-day screening of the film in theaters in July 2021, I had the great opportunity to preview the 60-minute documentary, directed by Nic Davis (4:08 Productions) and produced by Tim Jack (JACKTV). And while I had fallen in love with the film the first time I viewed it on my laptop — while writing a sneak peek of the film for viewers this summer — watching the film on our TV, without any sort of distractions, evoked a myriad of emotions for which I was not prepared. 

First, I had goosebumps. Watching how the Bryan family followed a dream to grow grapes in one of the most unlikely places in America was an inspiring story to follow. A seed was planted with an idea and a hope. It was watered. And against all odds – a vineyard – with the backdrop of a 15,000 year-old gorge – blossomed into a mecca that became a spiritual place for music lovers.

Then, I had tears streaming down my face. The story of Pat Coates and her devotion to the Gorge and the many “Labor Dave” weekends she attended with her late sister was incredibly touching.

Watching the story of Darren Balch – the first house photographer at The Gorge Amphitheater – had me cheering on the sidelines. I am the biggest cheerleader of art in all forms. While I am not a great photographer, I am fascinated by photography. And I am obsessed with live music photos. Balch’s story to pursue his talent by capturing the perfect photo of some of the best bands of the ’90s inspired me to never let go of my own artistic goals.

Next, my heart pounded rapidly as the visuals and sound perfectly captured in this film recreated some of the most epic live music moments – including Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, Green Day, and Jimmy Buffett – just to name a few. The palpable energy of the artists and the crowds easily transported me to a moment in time. If only my body could have followed my mind!

And then the film ended. And I was back in my living room. Despite the restrictions placed upon our world due to COVID, I was ready to dance. I was ready to let the records play. And while I knew that I would not be making it to the Gorge any time soon, this documentary inspired me to add the pilgrimage — the actual journey with the car packed to the brim with camping gear — to my bucket list. 

Check out my recent interview with Nic Davis and Tim Jack on YouTube below. And don’t forget to visit any of the following links below to view Enormous: The Gorge Story from the comfort of YOUR own living room. 

Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Redbox, Spectrum, Vudu