A festival veteran explains why Sasquatch! is a can't miss (PHOTO GALLERY)

GEORGE, Wash. -- Krysteen Lomonaco has seen her fair share of music festivals.

Ozzfest, Paradiso, Watershed. Bumbershoot and the Freemont Fair. Every weekend for about four months during the summer, Lomonaco is sitting in a chair at a festival as a barrage of diverse tunes can be heard from not-so-far off.

No, Lomonaco isn't some music junky, hell-bent on cramming her summer months with festival corn dogs and an ever-growing case of Tinnitus.

She works at the festivals.

And she loves them -- especially Sasquatch! -- just the same.


Lomonaco is the owner of Mehndi Madness, Inc., a henna studio based in Fremont. For those who don't know, Henna is a plant-based dye used to draw on skin that washes off after a few weeks, almost like a temporary tattoo.

Historically, henna and its darker-stained cousin Jagua have cosmetic and religious origins in the Middle East and South America.   Women adorned their bodies in henna as decoration for ceremonies, or even for everyday outings.

Now, people seek out henna for everything from an outline of a prospective tattoo, to a a fun, unity building activity for corporate retreats.

Many also seek out henna to mark an event they attend, Lomonaco said. An event such as a music festival.

"People who come here every year start to see it as a tradition," Lomonaco said inside her henna tent at the Sasquatch! Music Festival. "It becomes a staple. Like, 'I get henna at Sasquatch! every year.'"

Erecting a tent at nearly every big music festival held in the Northwest for nearly the last ten years gives Lomonaco interesting perspective on the festival scene that few others have. While many people tour festivals across the country, few actually go to such a variety as Lomonaco. From techno to metal, folk to pop, Lomonaco has seen it all. And she has plenty of stories to share.

Looking around the sunburned gaggles of 20-somethings crowding the Gorge Amphitheater walkway, she explains why Sasquatch! might be her favorite.

"People here come for the music," Lomonaco said as she intricately detailed the henna on a customer's leg. "These people are really dedicated."

Lomonaco says it's not uncommon for Sasquatch! attendees to be able to list 10 bands they hope to see in a single day. Flume, Chromeo, Robert Plant; people come because they love music. Not so much because they're looking for the biggest "party" of the year.

"It's not an overly excessive party atmosphere," Lomonaco said. "It's just fun, current music."

It's a stark contrast, Lomonaco said, to the EDM festival Paradiso held later in the summer.

"I did Paradiso just one year," Lomonaco said. "I won't do it again. It was just too much. Everyone's high all the time."

Or Ozzfest.

"I toured Ozzfest for a decade," she said. "It's great and I like the music. But the outfits. At Sasquatch! you see about 3 thong bikinis a day. Not 1,500."

Lomonaco is no prude, though. Some of her favorite memories of Sasquatch! are talking  and working on the young adults, many of them who are, um, enjoying themselves a bit too much.

"I had one girl sit in my chair and eat my lunch right in front of me," Lomonaco said, laughing. "She was trying to be sneaky, but it was obvious. She was getting 'YOLO' in henna on her arm."

As much as she likes Sasquatch's music, Lomonaco hardly gets much time to stand and listen to the acts. People crowd her tent every minute of the day, asking her and another artist, "how much" and "can you draw this?" Henna is increasing in popularity, Lomonaco says. Apart from one year when an article came out reporting the health concerns of "Black Henna" an illegal substance not related to henna at all, festivals are some of the more lucrative events of the year.

But more than the money, she gets a chance to speak with young adults, many of whom wouldn't normally come into her Fremont studio.

"Everyone is enjoying themselves out here," she said. "It's a great time."

For more on Mehndi Madness, Inc. and to schedule an appointment, click here.