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Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger



Day 4: The Final Day of Bonnaroo

Today was another busy day at Bonnaroo. We started the day off by seeing Shakey Graves. I missed his show in Madison earlier this year so he was a must see on my list. Loved him!



Right as he ended, a press conference with Ed Helms, Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck, and Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION. 



Up next was a mad dash to see Twenty One Pilots. And by mad dash, I really mean a dash. They put on THE best show, so don't mind all the screen shots. They had the crowd hold up the drummer and the drum kit, the lead singer ran off stage and up to where all the cameras film the stage, they jumped off of everything! In fact, the show started 20 minutes late because the artists were signing paperwork at the last minute promising that they wouldnt climb anything or else they wouldnt be welcomed back to Bonnaroo! 

   

Shortly after Twenty One Pilots, we headed to the Media Compound to do some social media posting but got pulled back in to Centeroo by AWOLNATION. We were just in time to catch "Sail." 


Next up was claiming a good spot for Florence and the Machine, but while we we waited, we were entertained by some Spoon.



Florence was next! She came out so serious but warmed up and was flying around the stage and the pit. You could tell she was having a blast which made us have a blast. That girl can SING. 



With barely any down time, it was time for Betty Who playing on the Who stage, ironically. I bet they planned that on purpose! 



Finally, it was time for the man himself, Billy Joel! 



Overall, I had a fantastic time at Bonnaroo 2015 and want to plan to go again next year! Thanks for following my blogging! Be sure to check Facebook and Twitter for more posts, videos and pictures!
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Day 3: Saturday

Saturday was a very busy day! So many Triple M bands to see! So many concerts were back to back, so we did a lot of walking back and forth from the stages to the media compound. If you're ever in need of getting more steps in during the day, definitely head to Bonnaroo :)

We started off the day seeing Priory. I only knew one song of theirs "The Weekend," but that didn't matter. They were very energetic and even did some crowd surfing!
  

Up next was another press conference with Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Rhiannon Giddens, Denis Leary, Liz Gilles, Reggie Watts and Shakey Graves!


After that, we headed back to Centeroo to catch part of Catfish and the Bottlemen. We got there just as they started to play "Kathleen."

  

Finally we had some down time, so we went to cool off. Have I mentioned that its been 90 and sunny pretty much every day we've been here? Talk about HOT. We headed to the water area and then to the ferris wheel just for a chance to sit in some shade. It was cool to see how far the general admission camping goes on. I heard the area was big, but had no idea how big until getting on the ferris wheel. 

    

Up next was Bleachers! I had the chance to see them play at the Majestic earlier this year, and could NOT pass up the opportunity to see them again. They put on a fantastic show! Jack was running all over the place, tossing his guitar high in the air and catching it multiple times, the guitarist would play with the guitar behind his back, up high on ladder, standing on speakers. It was nuts!

   

After Bleachers, we had a nice break for dinner and some resting in shade before hitting up X Ambassadors. They played on a smaller side stage, but I can just see them coming back next year for a bigger stage. They worked the crowd very well! Their keyboard player was rocking harder than any artist we've seen...and here's the catch. He's blind. Talk about powerful!



After X Ambassadors, we hustled over to see Childish Gambino playing nearby. So many people were there to see him though that I couldn't really get a clear picture. He was well worth all the hype. Wandering around all day, we kept hearing people speculate on what his show would be like or even if he would show up (apparently he has just not shown up to shows before), but he did show and it was awesome. He closed with my favorite hit "3005" which I can upload once back home with better internet.

After Childish Gambino, we had one more show to hit: Mumford and Sons. We tried to get to the VIP seating area, but by the time we got there, they were already at capacity so we worked our way into the general admission standing crowd. Man, can these guys sing. They sounded spot on...just like the album...but live...and better. You could feel the passion in every single song. They even brought out Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) to play some banjo on a few songs! Check it out on Triple M's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/1055triplemradio/videos/vb.127127436536/10152784515396537/?type=2&theater

Can't wait to see what today brings! I'm hoping to see Shakey Graves, Twenty One Pilots, Knox Hamilton, Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, Betty Who, and Billy Joel!
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Day 2: Friday - Variety, the Spice of Life

Day 2 is upon us! Despite being up fairly late and not sleeping super well (first time camping...I'll get used to it I'm sure), I was hoping to sleep in just a little bit, but my body had other plans. It woke me up at 5:45am for the hell of it. I waited til a reasonable time (6:30am is reasonable, right) before waking my sister so we could wander The Farm and see what's going on. And what's there to do that early, you may ask? Well, not a whole lot. 

   

I'd say we say maybe 5-7 other people (who were not employees/volunteers) wandering around. Not many people experience The Farm empty, so I snapped a few shots to show you guys. We parked our butts on a picnic table after doing a few laps around, and decided to just enjoy the weather.

We decided since we needed to kill time before anything opened or music started, we'd join the Yoga-Roo session. It was a perfect way to start the day!


After that, we still had a few hours to kill before any of the entertainment tents opened up, so we scavenged for free swag! We came back with a couple bandanas, stickers, and...a free pair of rainboots! All you had to do to win was toss one rain boot into a taped-off area and you win! 



FINALLY, it was time for some music. While Triple M may be more rock, indie and alternative, Bonnaroo seems to be known for bringing together a wide variety of musical genres to one festival, and we definitely took advantage of that. We saw a country (Kacey Musgraves), rap (Kendrick Lamar), and EDM (Deadmau5). Don't worry though, Saturday should be filled to the brim with Triple M artists!

   

Besides the shows at night, we hung out quite a bit in the Media Compound where only those VIPs like Backstage Bloggers have access to. Three pretty cool things happened throughout the day.

1. While waiting for a show, we saw Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant. I couldn't grab a picture with him because he kept bouncing from interview to interview, but still cool nonetheless (Did any of you see them at the sold out show at the Orpheum the other week??).



2. We got to see Ben Folds (in a panel with other for a press conference) discuss his new upcoming album that will be released on September 11th. He mentioned that he's excited for his fans to go on this "new journey" with him. Can't wait to see what that could mean!



3. Last bit of awesome for the day? Meeting and interviewing X Ambassadors! I had a few questions prepared for the 2 minute interview. I was pretty nervous but think I did well for my first go at interviewing a band! I promise I'll get that up in a post, but I can't do audio editing as my sister is sleeping right next to me as I blog away at 2:30am.  Stay tuned for it though!



Talk to you all tomorrow! Can't wait!
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Day 1: Thursday

Hey all! It's your Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger Kellie here! I finally have some down time to write about my experiences. 

My sister and I left for Bonnaroo at about 5:30am on Thrusday morning with quite a full car. Both the back seat and the trunk were packed to the brim. It's my first time camping, so I'm sure it won't all be needed, but hey, better safe than sorry right? We hit some pretty bad traffic during Chicago rush hour (we left from Milwaukee), took some time in Louisville for lunch, and then hit rush hour again in Nashville, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.
 


We got to the camp site around 7:30pm and then took awhile to pitch the tent, organize the campsite, and eat some dinner before heading into Bonnaroo! We wandered around for a bit, getting the lay of the land, which I felt was slightly overwhelming to do in the dark, but my sister kept us on track!

Our first stop was none other than Houndmouth! We caught a few songs, and they sounded great! 



Next on tap was Glass Animals, but the bass was turned up so loud and we were so far back, we decided to just wander, which is when we came across Tove Lo. We both had heard of a song or two by her but figured, rather than continue to walk around aimlessly, we'd give her a shot, and boy am I glad we did! She put on a great show! She's not really Triple M type of music, but definitely worth a listen if you're into pop at all. We took advantage of our Backstage Blogger Access and got ourselves right near the front for taking some cellphone-quality pics. It was great being that close to the action!
 
 

After a long drive, we were pretty pooped so we decided to call it a night earlier than the majority of Bonnoroovians and chilled at our campsite before hitting the hay to gear up for a busy Friday!
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Locations : LouisvilleMilwaukeeNashville




 

And we're back for 2015!

Hey Triple M Fans!

Have you signed up to become the official Triple M Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger yet?  Bonnaroo is coming up June 11 - 14th in Manchester, Tennessee and we could send you there!

Go here and tell us about your favorite concert experience for a chance to be our official Triple M Backstage Blogger at Bonnaroo! Our Backstage Blogger will recieve the Bonnaroo grand prize access of guess passes for all four days with prime camping accommodations (plus access to premium seating and viewing areas at the main stages)!

It's a super cool experience that will get you up close and personal with the Bonnaroo artsits and the entire atmosphere. All we ask of the winner is to treat us with a few blog posts about the lead up to the shows and relay your experience back to use. We'll share it with the entire Triple M community, so we can all pretend we went too! 

So do you think you've got what it takes to be our Backstage Blogger? Sign up today!
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Bonnaroo In My Rear View

Had a great time! Thanks Triple M! I'll post a few parting thoughts later today or tomorrow.
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Macklemore Takes The Stage

Nuff said.
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Here To Help

One small detail I like about Bonnaroo ... the security people's shirts say "Safety" and “Here to help". They seem well-trained and they do the things security folk do ... but I like the emphasis on safety and that they're doing these things to help. I think it changes the dynamic a bit.
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Reflections On Jack Johnson At Bonnaroo

The Jack Johnson show last night was terrific. He'd been coming just to hang out with other musicians, maybe do a late night jam with friends in ALO. Very low-pro, as Jack said. That changed when Mumford had their medical emergency and Bonnaroo asked if he would headline.
While he's been recording new material with his band, they haven't performed in over a year and haven't been practicing the hits. He was quoted in an article as saying that there were only two festivals he would be willing to risk being unprepared in order to help out - a bay festival in California and Bonnaroo. Our as he sang in the song about his weekend that he wrote Saturday morning ... "What the hell, it's Bonnaroo."
I think in the story of the improbable headliner, I may have found some of the unique spirit of Bonnaroo. A community of musicians that really care for each other. And a crowd - many of whom surely traveled specifically to see Mumford - that warmly welcomed an artist that put together an intimate set for a roomful of 80,000 friends.

Note: The photo is of Jack Johnson at Bonnaroon 2008

 
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People : Jack Johnson




 

I Mean, The Music Is Nice...

Still no mag. This is as close as my phone zoom can get. The dancers are sparkly. Bjork has a dress that looks like duct work from a dryer vent. The hat face thing looks like a cross between bubble wrap and pinhead from Hellraiser. Which could all be really COOL. Just hard to say when we can't SEE it.
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On The Rail At Bonnaroo

We waited at the main gate for over a half hour. A dozen safety full were poised to open the fences. Three on horseback provided back up. When they opened them up, it was a speed walk at first. Upon seeing that another, distant gate had opened, all bets were off... everyone started running.
Bear in mind that most festival-goers are college age. With the natural athleticism of youth. I'm not and have not. As I jogged-ran-wheezed, Eli would look back and slow up for me. I may have pulled something. Ugh.
Anyway, we made out all right. We weren't in the first 100 or so for the mosh pit. We needed that status to be on the rail that's right next to the stage ... and we didn't want to be in the mosh pit if we didn't have a rail to hold onto. So, we drifted over to the second rail. A bit too the left and back, but still excellent.
All this was NOT for the 12:30 show. They're playing now and I still don't know the name. We're here on the rail hours early for Macklemore. (If you happen to not be familiar, YouTube "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love." Now. I'll wait.)
That'll be the last show of the weekend for us. The trailer is cleaned, stowed and attached to the van. Electric rewired and all lights are operational. When Macklemore finishes, we go straight to the van and ... Hit. The. Road.
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Bjork Is A Little Boring Tonight At Bonnaroo

The blog title says it all. We're nearly an hour in and they've yet to fire up a camera to put her on the big screen. Unless you're in the first 100 feet, you can't see her cool costuming or her dancers/backup singers. Meh.
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Nas at the What Stage at Bonnaroo

Not sure if this is postable, but it's a more than 360 panorama.

Click here for the full image.

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People : Nas




 

Another Form Of Camping At Bonnaroo

Here's the theory. We'll camp here all day and see Gov't Mule, Nas, Björk and Jack Johnson. Not sure we'll have the stamina, but it's worth a shot. We're seated in comfy bleachers courtesy of Triple M, and food is close by. I suspect that most of the assembled thousands don't know that Jack Johnson is a last second sub for Mumford and Sons. Their bass player just had surgery for a brain bleed in the last day or so and they had to cancel. We only heard through materials in the Guest tent.
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Meditations On McCartney

No pic to share with this post. I've just been thinking about the McCartney show last night. My expectations were admittedly low. My focus for years has been discovering new music, not dwelling in the past. And while the Beatles stand apart as the most influential band in rock history (and arguably the greatest), it was just ONE of the Beatles. And he's, like, a thousand years old.
But as the nearly three hour show progressed, I started to connect and reconnect. Yes, it felt like suffering when he said "here's a new one" or played a cover. (That's NOT why we're here!) And I rolled my eyes at the Wings tunes. In the end, nostalgia tackled me, sat on my back and made me say uncle. I really enjoyed singing along to great songs I know by heart. (La la how their life goes on!) And that was Paul Freaking McCartney up there on stage! Right there! He told stories I hadn't heard before ... He wrote Blackbird in hopes of comforting and inspiring the students desegregating schools in Little Rock. (All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive.) Maybe y'all knew that. Was news to me.
That sort of intimacy in a crowd of 80,000 was impressive. I forgave him a late misstep - an over the top Live and Let Die complete with pyrotechnics and fireworks - when he promptly answered with a sincere Hey Jude. I gave in to the sentiment, and it was a highlight of the festival so far.
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So Un-Bonnaroo

In the picture, you'll see a fraction of the tent city that surrounds us. It's really quite amazing. It goes on for as far as the eye can see. It's pretty cool to be in the center of it, knowing that it wasn't here 2 days ago and knowing it will not be here 2 days from now.

But that's not the point of this post. Look above the roofs of the tents. Partly cloudy, pleasant summer blue. The weather - relatively speaking - had been gorgeous. I mean, it's still a summer festival. It's in the 80's and you need to hydrate. But there's been a constant light breeze and no sign of mini heat strokes. The legendary relentless sun? No shade? Not as bad as advertised. It's been nice. And not very Bonnaroovian.
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Exhibit A

This is how close we were able to get for Wu Tang Clan. Exhibit A of How White Am I: Not sure who's in Wu Tang Clan.
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True to form at Bonnaroo

Consistent with our pattern of unusual vantage points, here's how we started the McCartney concert. An access road behind and to the right of the stage. Hard to get any kind of vantage point at these big festivals, but once again ... or Triple M passes are what got us this close. Thanks guys!
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Feeling like home at Bonnaroo

We're only two days in, but our little patch of land is feeling like home. Some guys cut through, and (in my head) I'm like "Dude. This is my yard." (Not very Bonnaroovian.) Instead I nodded and said "Hey." He did the same.
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Escape The Bonnaroo Insanity

I think sometimes these festivals underestimate the popularity of some acts. The crowd for Of Monsters and Men stretched in all directions until - at the edge of the mass - music from other stages overwhelmed theirs. We've found refuge in the alley to the Guest tent. Can't see the band, but can hear well enough. Once again saved by special Triple M status!
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Taking Refuge At Bonnaroo

Decided to beat the heat a bit in the Guest tent. Also lucked into one of two or three extension cords in the place, so I'm drawing a strong current to recharge the phone. (The solar charger has had mixed results for my battery, but scores 100% for "That's really cool" comments from passersby.)
 
I'm still trying to put my finger on the vibe of this festival. We've exchanged several pleasantries with our RV neighbors. They're nice. The hippie/jam-band heritage of Bonnaroo is evident in the maze of vendor tents (complete with the tie-dye clothing hut and the puzzle box guy ("You keep your WEED in it!")). There's also a healthy presence of do-good causes ... I could have signed a petition to end hunger in Africa or taken a picture to support music in schools ... but Lolla has that too. The demo skews a bit younger. Maybe more college kids are willing to camp out and can't afford the downtown Chicago hotels for Lolla ... I'll keep noodling on it, but I will say this: Many, many staff, volunteers and fellow-festival-goers have gone out of their way to wish us a good festival and ask us how we're enjoying everything. In that way, I think people here really are living the Bonnaroovian tenet of Positivity. So I've got that going for me.
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Locations : Chicago




 

Steaks At Bonnaroo

We grilled our own steaks for lunch today. The camp out set up at Bonnaroo can be a major advantage over Lolla.
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Bonnaroo Has Apples

One of Eli's favorite parts of Lolla is the sponsored tents. Here, we take in the Apples to Apples tent.
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The Bonnaroo Guest Area

The guest area - for radio station winners like us - features comfy seating, discount food, and a nearby artist tent (for potential celeb sightings). We'll also get access to special viewing areas for the concerts. Triple M is treating us RIGHT!
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Best Seats In The House

Once again, we have the best seats in the house, thanks to Triple M. We have our day mapped out. Reptar, lunch, get Daniel Tosh tix, Of Monsters and Men, Tosh, Wu Tang, McCartney. Wish us luck!
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Forever and ever and ever at Bonnaroo

This fest goes on forever. Unlike Lolla, it's so spread out it doesn't feel crowded. I think with four days, we might discover all the nooks and crannies.
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Look What We Found At Bonnaroo

After ten hours of driving through storms and interstate stop n go traffic, we called it a night and hit a Super 8 around 2:00 a.m. (Like Frodo in the mountains over Moria, nature had beaten us. Unlike the Nine Walkers, we tried again in the morning and made it to our goal by noon.)
We got the camper set up with ease, exchanged pleasantries with our new neighbors, and set of to explore the festival.
First stop was an accidental discovery of free shirts courtesy of adult swim. Swag is always welcome. :).
Also checked out one of the food areas in these sprawling grounds. Smoked chicken and Mac n cheese burrito. So far, the food is the equal of lollapalooza.
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Bonnaroo Bound!

We're prepped and ready to go. I'd like to say that I had the pack list completed weeks ago and that we're launching with the precision of a Swiss watch (or something else precise that's actually relevant today), but ... here we are. A late night grocery run gets us the essentials. A borrowed camper (thanks, Becky!) means we can just toss things in the van and look forward to a tidier living space for the next four days.

Things I'm glad I remembered? Rain gear, bug spray, hat/bandana combo, sunscreen, tools. Things we'll get on the way? Ice, batteries, box o' wine, giant mylar balloon so we can find the camper. Special splurge item I'm geeked out about? Solar-powered phone charger. Oh yeah.
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Birth of a Bonnaroo Blogger

Greetings!

I learned I won the Triple M Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger contest weeks ago, but the big event is really here! My son and I are in the final stages of prep and will start the drive to Manchester, Tennessee tomorrow. We'll be trying to give a sense of what it's like to be at THIS festival as opposed to THAT festival ... and how successful we are in living by the Bonnaroovian Code. (More on that later.)

In the meantime, I thought I'd kick things off by sharing the entry that won the contest - the theme was "Favorite Concert Experience." Talk to you later!

CONTEST ENTRY

My son Eli is a freshman and Madison West, and we see lots of shows at area clubs and festivals. It's our main connection and way to bond. We enjoy the same styles of music (mostly indie and alt) and always make memories - like the time at High Noon when MC Frontalot dramatically pointed from the stage at Eli and said, "You have a really cool dad" before launching into a risque rap about groupies at a sci-fi convention.
 
Our favorite memory is from last summer at Lollapalooza. On day 2, the oppressive heat was finally broken by rain ... in the form of intense thunderstorms (complete with tornado warnings). They evacuated Grant Park, and 100,000 people poured into the streets of Chicago to seek shelter. Eli and I ended up in a Panera Bread on State. We found a corner of the floor and sat down, eating enough (we hoped) for it to be okay for us to wait out the storm.
 
We tracked the storm on our phones and monitored the Twitter rumors swirling around the park opening. We headed back at just the right time, and found ourselves at the front of the line just as they prepared for reentry.
 
The game had changed. Festival-goers that had carefully planned their day had to start fresh. Obsessive fans of that special (to them) band that had camped out on the rail all day had lost their spot. The playing field had been leveled and we had first choice. Eli is slight-of-build, so I normally avoided the rail area that eventually turned into the mosh pit. But we had a chance here to pick a pristine spot on the rail that could avoid the worst of it. The band fun. was in the mix. Their set had been washed out, and they were rescheduled to play immediately upon park opening. Or ... we could wait on the rail for a couple hours for Franz Ferdinand. The opportunity to see Franz Ferdinand up close was too good to pass up, and we jogged to the stage when the gates opened. We were among the first to arrive and secured a spot 30 feet right of center.
 
We killed time watching them drain rainwater from the canopy. Security guys entertained the crowd by diving in to confiscate cannabis.
 
The energy of the festival had changed ...  Between the heat relief, the nervous/scared feeling of the evacuation and the general disruption of how-things-were-supposed-to-go, there was a fun mania in the air. We were READY for the band.
 
When Franz Ferdinand took the stage, they must have caught the vibe. They were happy to be there, a little relieved that the storm caused no real damage, and thankful for the energy we sent to them. It was the only time I've seen them perform, but I'm confident it was their best concert of the year. My son and I watching a great band playing at their best in the heart of Chicago while sunset illuminated departing stormclouds over Lake Michigan ... yeah. Those are the reasons it's my favorite concert experience.
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Have You Signed Up To Head To Bonnaroo?

Hey Triple M fans,

Have you signed up yet to become the official Triple M Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger yet?  Bonnaroo is coming up June 13-16th in Manchester, Tennessee and we could send you there

Go to our Facebook page and tell us about your favorite concert experience for a chance to be our official Triple M Backstage Blogger at Bonnaroo! Our Backstage Blogger will receive the Bonnaroo grand prize access to the Media Compound with camping accommodations!

It's a super cool experience that will get you up close and personal with the Bonnaroo artists and the entire atmosphere.  All we ask of the winner is to treat us with a few blog posts about the lead up to the show and relay your experience back to us.  We'll share it with the entire Triple M commuity.
So, what are you waiting for.  Sign up today!
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Day 1: Thursday
Hey all! It's your Bonnaroo Backstage Blogger Kellie here! I finally have some down time to write about my experiences.  My sister and I left for Bonnaroo at about 5:30am on Thrusday morning with quite a full car. Both the back seat and the...
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