Crash into me: VW camps out at The Gorge

Drew with VW

Last Friday I flew into Seattle, hopped into a shiny new 2012 Reflex Silver Passat 2.5 SE and trekked 150 miles east to Quincy, WA. After a beautiful drive through a quiet stretch of Washington State, I pulled into The Gorge campgrounds. In the three days that followed, the area was filled with thousands of diehard Dave Matthews Band fans. I’m proud to count myself as one of them.

So how, exactly, did I get the opportunity to attend the biggest DMB event of the year? Lucky for me, and a handful of VW fans who won an all-inclusive DMB weekend sweepstakes, Volkswagen of America was the official sponsor of this year’s 2012 summer tour. Beyond their similar fan base and eco-conscious values, the unspoken benefit of the partnership was that the V-dub owners got more than just a show, they had a personalized adventure. And for fans, The Gorge was the ultimate stop of the tour.

Volkswagen brought its Think Blue trailer and took over a large area in the Dave Matthews Band Eco Village where representatives gave away shirts, ear buds and all other kinds of green and music-related schwag. Both displays featured some of the latest eco-conscious vehicles, including the Jetta Hybrid, Beetle TDI Clean Diesel, Passat TDI and e-Golf. While this was all great and precisely what I expected, it was just the tip of the iceberg.

About a half mile from the concert, VW built “Area 41” right in the middle of the public campsite. There, in the hours before and after Dave Matthews Band performed, campers were able to hang out in hammocks, play volleyball, enjoy snacks, make smoothies, watch movies at night, and even catch surprise guest performances.

Each day, I announced special performances via Twitter (@VW), which included mini concerts from Silent Comedy, Tim Reynolds, and Allen Stone, and a QA session with Dave Matthews Band drummer Carter Beauford Sunday afternoon. Within minutes, people rushed to the Area 41 entrance. The enthusiasm level was crazy!

Back at the amphitheater Dave Matthews Band brought down the house every night with a different set list. And as you’ll see from the picture below, the stage backs up to the beautiful canyon – a perfect setting for a sunset music festival.

If you haven’t been to The Gorge, I highly recommend a road trip at least once. I caught up with a handful of owners who drove from across the country to experience it. Not one of them regretted making the journey.

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