(Welcome to Planet Roo)
(The giant mushroom fountain. You can actually see this using Google Earth.)
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being sitting in a small beige room with nothing (not even a chair) and 10 being getting to 6 Flags with all your friends and they let you in for free and no one else is there and everything in side is free and there’s beer.) I give Bonnaroo a 7. It was a lot of fun. It was REALLY tiring, but a ton of fun (I think one of the biggest things was just being around all the people our age; it was a nice change).
(Thursday morning around 6:30am)
We left here about midnight on Wednesday and got to Manchester around 2am-ish (we had to turn around and get the tickets a few miles down the road). And while getting there at that time in the morning really beat the rush (it took us 30 min TOPS to get through the lines and security) it also puts you way in the back of Bonnaroo. I mean, it makes sense to fill up the back first, but we thought we were going to have such an awesome spot; turns out we were literally 1 mile from Centeroo (the area with all the music and whatnot). I know this because I took my pedometer with me. I lost it on Sunday, but with a little estimation, we walked 20 miles this weekend. Seriously. (gotta hand it to my Chacos always taking good care of my feet.) Then, on the 2nd night I stepped on a rogue tent stake and cut the inside of my foot good. So my right calf is a bit sore from walking on the outside of foot most of the weekend.
(The ferris wheel at night)
Anywho, when we arrived, they moved us into lines like cattle, we parked, and then everyone started jumping out of their cars and throwing up tents to claim space. It was like we got off the bus to a war or something. I guess they all knew that if they didn’t claim space fast they would lose it to the next row of cars coming in (and they would’ve). By the time we finished setting up all tents and canopies, the sun was on its way up. We sat up till sunrise (6:30am) and then laid down to sleep… till 8:30am… when the heat arrived. All of the sudden it was 90° in the tent. Being 8:30 in the morning and having just had my night’s sleep cut short considerably, it seemed like a good time for beer. So we had beer. The rest of the day we just tried to stay in the shade and rest up till things got going that night. This wasn’t entirely boring because at any moment someone could walk by selling some crazy drug that we’d never heard of. I say “we” as in, me, jesse, and wes. Our other campmates were fairly well acquainted with most substances.
(The bobbleheads amidst a sea of people)
In fact, and I never would have expected this beforehand, but it seemed to me that people NOT using drugs (specifically cannabis) were more the exception than the rule. I was a bit amazed actually. By the end of the weekend, I just assumed that everyone I came to encounter smoked weed. Does that seem weird to anyone? That in a crowd of 80,000 people, probably (what seemed like) 75%-80% (and possibly up) smoked? I’m not sure. Anyway, the whole concept of drugs being “illegal” was kind of thrown out the window. It was like this during this small moment in time, everything was legal. If you got it into Bonnaroo, it was legal. People walked through the tent city selling drugs, they were off the main path in the trees selling drugs, they were selling brownies on the minor streets. It was amazing. However, I’m rather proud to say that Jess and I are still drug free.
One of the craziest things to me was that the only difference between 3:00 pm and 3:00 am was that at 3:00 in the morning it was dark. it was unbelieveable the amount of people out all through the night. i imagine hundreds of people just slept in Centeroo several nights.
(2:30 am at The Other Tent)
(this was underwear guy. in his defense, it was an extremely hot day.)
The rest of weekend we spent hydrating, walking around to concerts, snacking, drinking (but not as much as I’d hoped for; it was just too freakin’ hot), wading through crowds of people, listening to sweet music, and hydrating more. I probably would’ve played tons of guitar had our neighbors not touted their reggae CD collection the ENTIRE time. Also, it was rather difficult to make it to every band you wanted to see. You just had to choose one and go for it. There were just too many people to move through and to much distance to cover to make it to everything. Plus you only have so much energy for day of walking 90° weather (on very little sleep). However, here are the bands (I think) we saw (not necessarily their entirety, but at least some of):
Death Cab for Cutie
(we wanted to make it to Common/Blackalicious/Lyrics Born, but we fell asleep)
(Radiohead performs at What Stage)
The Magic Numbers
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Amadou & Mariam
Balkan Beat Box
(Radiohead up close. Check out those VIP seats!)
Mike Doughty (twice) (he rocked that much)
Be Your Own PET
Like I said, there are so many more I would’ve just loved to have seen had I had the time or energy. By Sunday, I think we were both running on fumes. We just wanted to sit somewhere and listen to music and fall asleep.
Reading over this I may have made it sound like we didn’t have an incredible time, but I in no way meant that. It really was an awesome weekend. It was really exhausting, but worth every second.
Also, if you’re looking for a hardy camera that you can drop 2 stories (into the grass) (off the bleachers) (after Radiohead), I highly recommend the Olympus c-765. It took it like a champ.