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Four days gone by too fast

Bonnaroo is over and as I unpacked my bags, swept out the tent and caught up on my sleep I can only think about how incredible my time in Tennessee was.

Before I even start to attempt to convey my time there I have to thank Triple M for sending me there and for setting me up with guest passes. To have those extra perks that come with guest passes made Bonnaroo that much more special. What special perks? Well, there was the camping area that’s not even on the map and is filled with lots of shade and free showers. Plus, a guest hospitality tent set up with a big screen live streaming the headliners; special entrances into Centeroo, Which Stage and What Stage; bleachers at the What Stage; and a back entry so we didn’t have to wait in a long line of cars waiting to enter the camping area.

I did get to see my top four acts and was not disappointed. I had a great spot for Jake Bugg’s set, where the only time he spoke was to say ‘thank you.’ Otherwise, he just performed and I swear he looked a bit unsure of how to react to all the attention from the crowd. He didn’t need to make his hour about anything other than his music.

Jack White was mesmerizing, bringing music from the White Stripes through his solo work on Lazaretto to the audience. I used the bleacher seating to my advantage and didn’t leave until the last final notes of his encore. I think he ended up going two and a half hours and kept saying if we wanted him to keep going, he’d keep playing.

Avett Brothers were as great as I expected them to be. I did spend a bit of their slot making my way through the crowd of who-knows-how-many-thousands of people to find some friends but it was hard to not dance along with everyone else as I wove around the sea of swaying bodies.

But, the best performance I saw at Bonnaroo goes to Sir Elton John who was joined on stage by Ben Folds for one song and had Two Cellos perform with him. When I saw Two Cellos on stage I’m pretty sure I squealed just a bit. Things just fit together too well, from the visuals on the screen to the fact he didn’t spend much time talking to the audience to the Buzz Lightyear balloon launch during Rocket Man.  The only downside was that when Elton’s two hours were up, he didn’t play any encores. So after his performance, the few fireworks that were lit seemed awful lackluster.

Since Bonnaroo is filled with so much, I missed out on a lot of great music due to checking out other acts. I heard Arctic Monkeys put on a great show and that a group of people almost took out the Miller Stage after climbing on top of it. But, each day I saw four full sets from different bands that I’d never seen perform before or had even heard prior to the festival. Suggestions had me checking out St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Valerie June and the Glitch Mob.

What made Bonnaroo special was more than just the great music – it was the people I met. First, there were the camp neighbors. We had a couple who worked with a video production company that was interviewing artists (I offered to help with the Damon Albarn interview), the couple with Crazy Mountain Brewing Company who freely gave out six pack samplers, the pair who were also recipients of radio station contest, and the guys from California whose roommate worked with the company that produces the festival. They all had suggestions on what band to see and understood the pain of there never being any toilet paper in the port-a-potties. And those were just the people next to us. Others I saw in guest camping included musicians and the guys responsible for the Terminator and Point Break movie events. I can say there is nothing quite like walking past The Unlikely Candidates on your way to the shower.

Then there were the staff I saw every day as I walked to Centeroo. The security staff worked 12-hour shifts so there was plenty to time to chat. One kid who stood out was posted at the main venue entrance. He was super excited to report seeing Skrillex walking around backstage a few hours before his set. After standing in the sun for 12 hours and occasionally having to deal with angry people I would probably have wanted to call it a day. This kid instead headed to the main stage to watch shows before getting a couple hours of sleep. He and I exchanged a lot of high-fives, the unofficial greeting of Bonnaroo.

I also had the chance to spend time with some friends and get to know them a bit better.

I could probably go on about all the conversations I had with friendly strangers I encountered, but I won’t. The word friendly though barely covers what I encountered at Bonnaroo. Maybe it was something in the water, but people seemed to be a bit nicer to each other at the festival; they looked out for each other. If someone was sleeping under a tree, you merely walked around them and let them be. You could always start a conversation with anyone by asking what performance they enjoyed the most, who they were most looking forward to seeing, what their opinion of Kanye was, or if they could hear Skrillex’s performance from their campsite.

So as I adjust back to regular life where you don’t randomly high-five strangers or run into musicians hanging out near the artist hospitality area I can only think that this won’t be my last Bonnaroo. Because I too hope to one day where a shirt with #Bonnagrannies  printed on the front.


 


Tags :  
Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : CaliforniaTennessee
People : Ben FoldsElton JohnJack WhiteJake BuggValerie June


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06/18/2014 2:45PM
Four days gone by too fast
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