The excellent information below was posted by dvandkq on Antsmarching.org.
Okay – I’ve been going to DMB at the Gorge since 1997 and have camped at four of the many possible places to camp while Gorging on Dave. Hopefully my information will be helpful to many of you planning on joining DMB at the Gorge this Labor Day weekend!
The Gorge Amphitheatre sits on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Columbia River in Central Washington State. It’s in the middle of a desert-like area called the Columbia Basin. Temperatures can range from the mid-80s to well over 100 degrees during the summer. At night it cools off drastically; often down into the high 40s or low 50s. It is often breezy and occasionally windy; stake your tents and tarps down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to camp after a show and enjoyed the spectacle of watching people hunt around in the dark for their tents. This spectacular location is located approximately 150 miles east of Seattle and approximately 130 miles west of Spokane. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Seattle and a two hour drive from Spokane. The amphitheatre is approximately 15 minutes north of Interstate 90. Follow the signs to the amphitheater from I-90.
The reserved seating is in the lower third of the amphitheatre. It has a concrete floor and folding chairs that are sometimes tied together to create seating rows. Often these chairs are not attached to each other so they can be folded up and stacked to the side if you and your neighbors would rather stand and dance during the show. Seats on the side of the reserved section can have poor sightlines and sound quality. Try to avoid seats with low numbers in section A and seats with high numbers in section C. Anything in the middle will have excellent sightlines and sound, with the best sound (naturally) near the sound board. There is sometimes a taper’s section just to the right of the sound board.
Behind the reserved seats is the ring of luxury box seats, which spread out from either side of the sound and light board. Behind the box seats is a walkway, and behind the walkway is an approximately 20 foot cliff that separates the reserved section from the general admission section.
The upper two-thirds of the amphitheatre is the lawn and general admission. The lawn seating is steeply sloped, so sightlines are good. It’s a long way from the top of the bowl to the stage, so bring binoculars if you want to see what’s going on down on the stage from the top of GA. I’ve experienced some instances where the sound system for the upper bowl has failed, resulting in horrible sound quality. As always the light show is best from up high, as is the view of the river, sunset and the surrounding terrain; which as mentioned before is simply spectacular. You can only see unspoiled wilderness and rangeland from the amphitheatre. You are truly in the middle of nowhere, which is part of the draw of the Gorge.
Looking at the stage, to the left of the stage is a concession area and a sea of Porta-Potties, as well as the VIP lounge/bar for those lucky enough to have seats in the luxury boxes. To the right of the stage and about halfway up the bowl is the largest concession area. Behind this concession area is a beer garden and a food court. You cannot see the stage from this area. There is also another small concession area behind the top of the bowl. There are Porta-Potties at all of these locations.
The entrance to the amphitheatre has tight security. You will need to empty your water bottles prior to entering the venue. Contraband can be smuggled in if you’re smart about it, but generally your coolers, booze, high-backedchairs and cameras with detachable lenses will be confiscated at the gate.
Food and beverage options within the venue are expensive and marginal at best. While they’ve worked to improve the variety and quality of the food served inside the venue, it’s still football stadium food for the most part. Dominos personal pizzas. Yakisoba noodle bowls. Chicken fingers. Fries. A few of the alcohol vendors sell microbrews – if you don’t find anything you like at the first stand, keep looking. You’ll need a “ID verified” bracelet to consume alcohol within the venue, even if you’re 70 years old. Bring your photo ID.