If the Sasquatch! and Austin City Limits music festivals were to strap on gloves, I'm not sure we'd here the ding of second round bell. In fairness, the former has changed mightily since the House of Blues take over years back. ACL, on the other hand, enjoys the rich sponsorship of a weekly music program swimming in history. That said, the differences are many.
Transportation: At the Gorge, it's nonexistent. In Austin, complimentary buses—of school and city varieties—run ‘round the festival clock, shuttling fans from city to venue (nearby Zilker Park).
Prices: $11 gets you a pint of Heineken at the Gorge's “Beer Garden.” $11 at Zilker Park gets you a 24-ounce Lone Star brew (local albeit macro) and a brisket sandwich from the Salt Lick's BBQ stand.
Layout: At least six stages at ACL in a fairly small area leads to some noise conflicts but the intimate quarters make traveling between sets quick and easy. The Gorge is spaced nicely, but bottlenecks frequently.
Punctuality: Timing is not of the essence at Sasquatch. ACL's bands start and stop with such clockwork it's frightening. What you see on the schedule is exactly what you'll get.
Hygiene: ACL is framed by Honey Buckets and water fountains, saving bladders and throats from the torture that is sure to set in at the Gorge.
The Chair People: Alright Gorge, you win. ACL draws the sitters, perhaps especially this year due to a bill that included the graying John Fogerty and Robert Plant. Sasquatch's natural landscape segregates this crowd nicely, freeing up the pit for those it should be freed up for: the standing and eager.
Portland's a food town now and I hope that it will follow Austin's galloping lead in the food and venue department. Texan model citizens like Stubb's, the Jackalope and Threadgill's blend in equal parts good music with good food. The Doug Fir, many of the McMenamins, Crow Bar and the Wonder are a few striding examples, but there ought to be more.