Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Emmaus, PA
First chance for me to post in a while since the whole Bonnaroo experience. I really don't know where to start or how to put it into a good order, other than chronologically, lol. It was four of the best days of my life. I didn't take many pictures at all, honestly, but I've got memories and stories I'll take with me the rest of my life. I decided before we even left that I'd be back next year, and every year that I can from now on. It really is one of those places. I didn't do any crazy drugs (and I didn't even drink a drop of alcohol... too hot), I just smoked, and it was almost an experience that would be like a "trip" the whole time. I've found myself in quite the reflective since leaving. Too much awesome, amazing things happened during the 5 days I was there, so here it goes...
My friend and I left Wednesday Morning at 2 a.m. headed for Tennessee, and made great time, got down to Bonnaroo at about 2:00 and waited in some guys backyard with about 500 other people. Started talking to a group of guys from Georgia, who ended up being in the same camp as us, about 3 cars away. This was one of the first of many strange coincidences of this weekend that almost made me wonder if things truly weren't pre-ordained to be that way. We were one of the first 2,000-3,000 people there, which was ******* awesome, because we got in and got our camping spot right away. We didn't get much space to work with, but before even knowing our neighbors names, two girls from New Jersey, we made nice and decided to join up our space and make a huge "super-tent" which was our tent, theirs, and an EZ-Up tent that they brought, all covered in a tarp that kept our whole area completely in the shade, which was crucial. By the time we had everything set up, we found out about our other neighbors, where they were from and their names, most of which I never even really knew, and forget by now, but still. Everyone around us was nice and was real excited for everything to start. Wednesday night was mostly just sitting at camp and relaxing, talking to our neighbors, we couldn't leave our pod, which had James Bond themed camps, we were in Camp Q. But we met another one of our neighbors, two brothers from Pittsburgh, and a group of three girls from Georgia, who, along with the girls from Jersey, we spent most of the time hanging out with while we were at camp.
Thursday was the first day of music, but it didn't really start until 4:00 pm, so we spent the morning exploring Centeroo, which is where all the stages/tents and venues are, then we came back and napped for a little bit hung out, and left for Centeroo and saw the Dirty Guv'nas as our first show. Was really a great way to start out the show for me, it was a southern rock type of band that could really jam, I'd recommend looking into them if you like that type of music. Then we went and saw a little bit of the Lonely Forest, who has a drummer that looks like a white version of Hurley from Lost, but holy **** does this guy have chops. Hell of a drummer, not my type of music per se, but there were a lot of people that were real into them. After that we went to go see Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. for a little while but left because they were kinda low key and we couldn't get close enough to where the people that were there were into it.
Then we saw a band called Moon Taxi. I don't know what genre they would be, or if its even fair to put them in a genre, but they were probably my biggest surprise (in terms of Bands) at Roo. It was one of my favorite shows. The tent (and by tent, I mean tent as big as a city block, all the tents are that huge) they played in was completely out of control, the music was great, had everybody moving, and the show they put on was great. They were honestly one of my favorite shows in all of the weekend, and I had never heard of them until we went to go see them. Then we sat down and watched Kendrick Lamar from a distance... Let me say... if he is the next big thing in rap like people have been telling me, rap is going to continue to spiral further into complete and utter **** status. We had a great time making fun of him solely because every other word he said was either **** or *****. Seriously this guy is trash, and no different from any other no name rapper I've ever heard. No emotion behind his words other than trying to sound angry and badass. Luckily after that we had the Alabama Shakes to look forward to, and they were one of my absolute favorite shows. Brittney Howard has a voice like nothing I've ever heard, her range is incredible and sounds better live than on a recording. The rest of the band is developing real well too, slight switches to their songs made it even more enjoyable to me, and parts where they'd break into a little jam, make me think that this band is really going to truly show how good it is by the time it puts out its next album.
Friday was my busiest day, I was up at 8, and we left our camp at 11 am, and wouldn't come back until 4 that night (Saturday morning). This is the day I met Ben Howard, I'm going out of chronological order here because to me, this was the best part of the entire weekend. He is one of my favorite musicians and was doing a signing after one of his shows on one of the small side stages. I was near the front of the line, was told we couldn't take pictures, which kinda bummed me out, I didn't care. As it turns out, the guy who was supervising the tent him and his bass player, India Bourne were at had to deal with someone at the end of the line while I introduced myself, told them they are one of my absolute favorite musicians, told him I had nothing to sign, but I just wanted to thank them for making great music and that I'd see them in Philadelphia in September when they play. He said something about Philly Cheesesteaks and then both of them seemed like they decided at the same time since the guy wasn't there they could get away with a picture. So I have a picture of myself, with Ben Howard and India Bourne. Honestly, I've never seen a bigger smile on my face, I still really don't remember it all honestly, even though it only was about 2 minutes, but I could talk about it on and on and on, so I'll just stop here. But yeah, once that happened, I was under the mindset that the rest of my weekend was just icing on the cake. I met one of my favorite musicians, he was a hell of a nice guy and I got a picture with them. My friend got a picture with them and a signed Every Kingdom album, which in itself is sweet. One of the highlights of my life, I'll have to post that pic on here as soon as I can.
... So Friday...
Friday actually started with me thinking I was going to have to puke before I got into centeroo. I had nachos from one of the vendors the night before and it didn't sit well at all, so me and my friend split up and said we'd find eachother after I got in. Neither of our phones were working, so we apparently watched Electric Guest by ourselves, while being about 20 feet from eachother, without seeing eachother. I figured I'd try to catch Michael Kiwanuka or the Kooks for about 15 minutes because I like them both, and while listening to them, trying to find my friend, we somehow found eachother in time for Ben Howard's big set. He started off with Every Kingdom and then went into Old Pine. I cried. I cried like a ******* baby (this was before I met him, and didn't know for sure If I'd be able to). Seeing that song live probably would've made the weekend for me, because I thought I wouldn't be able to see much more of him because right after Old Pine, my friend and I went to go see Needtobreathe. It took most of their set for me to collect myself from seeing Old Pine, but their set was great too. It would've been one of my favorite shows if it wasn't for one of their band members not dealing with the heat/sun well and having to end about a half hour early.
After Needtobreathe, we sat down in the shade close enough to listen to most of Two Door Cinema Club's set, but left early to go watch Sam Bush and his band. If you like Bluegrass or old timey music, this man is a god. One of my favorite shows of the entire weekend, all the members of his band are incredibly talented, and Sam Bush is just a boss. He is probably the best Mandolin player alive, and one of the best fiddle players. I'm going to be looking for a lot of his music in the next few weeks. We left Sam Bush to go see the Avett Brothers, which was the first band I was seeing at the What Stage, which is the main stage at Roo. I thought their show at Penn State was great, but the 7 songs of their set at Roo I was able to see was mind-blowing. They payed tribute to Doc Watson and had the place rockin'. This was also one of my favorite shows. After that, we ran over to see as much of Trampled by Turtles as we could before meeting Ben Howard. I was bummed I couldn't see more of them, but, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make, and if you can't tell by the paragraph above this one, I'm glad I did it.
After meeting Ben Howard we heard a little bit of Feist, then went to go see Rodrigo y Gabriela. If you aren't familiar with Rodrigo y Gabriela, they are two of the best guitarists in the world. And I got to see them after seeing and meeting another one of the best guitarists in the world in Ben Howard. They were a hell of a show, and they played with C.U.B.A. supporting them, and the jams they had with the different members of C.U.B.A. were absolutely insane. This show was absolutely great, I was bummed I had to leave them early for Foster the People, but that show was great, they played some of my favorite songs of theirs that aren't on the official Torches album.
And oh yeah I met Donald Glover there while in the crowd, though some of you might know him better as a rapper by the name of Childish Gambino. Yeah, I met Childish Gambino and it was barely a blip in the radar of my day. I saw his yellow wristband and knew he was a performer (both as a comedian and rapper) and he looked over and I was just kinda like "wait a minute". I waited for a pause in the music and asked him if he was Donald Glover, he said "**** yeah I am" and I asked him if he wanted to participate in some recreational activities. So my friend and I smoked a bowl with Donald Glover during Foster the people playing Warrant. Even without that little bit of fun, Foster the people was one of my favorite shows of the weekend as well.
Then we went straight from Foster the People to Radiohead, but couldn't really get close at all, and the music was kind of quiet, so I didn't really get a full Radiohead experience, but it was awesome nonetheless. Even as far away from the stage as we were, there were still people jamming out and geeking out where we were. We left Radiohead at midnight to go see The Word which is a superband of John Medeski, Robert Randolph, and the North Mississippi All-Stars, and that was one a great show as well. After that we were real ******* tired, my friend wasn't sure how much of Umphries McGee we'd be able to see until he wanted to head back, which was surprising to me because they are one of his favorite bands (and mine too, after seeing their show). They jam the **** out and play a hell of a show, we had a few chicks who would occasionally come over and dance with us and everyone around us really who were wearing body paint as shirts, and it wasn't cold under this tent, so a lot of "shirt" got sweated off not even half way through their show. They played about two songs and my friend found the energy to stay for the whole show and ended up playing until about 4:30 and ******* killed it. It was one of my favorite shows of the weekend as well. Overall Friday was crazy, and going to bed that night was crazy I felt like I'd already seen enough, and that it could've been spread out over the rest of the weekend and I'd have been ok. Looking back on it, I'd have to say Friday was probably one of the best days of my life.
Saturday was our relaxed day, we only saw four bands all day and stayed back at our camp most of the daytime and hung out with our different neighbors. We saw The Temper Trap on the Main Stage and they played a lot of new music which was nice, because after their latest single, I, and a lot of people weren't really sure what type of album it will be. Let me just say, if you are a fan of the Temper Trap, their new album is going to be fantastic. I might just buy it. The Roots came on at 7:30 and put on a hell of a show, one of my favorite of the weekend. I danced to them as much as any of the bands there, ?uestlove is a ******* boss, and the rest of that band is so talented, I really had a good time at that show. That is what hip-hop/rap should be IMO, those guys have some serious talent. We stuck at the Main stage and got real good spots for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we were about 60 feet from the stage, and holy **** did they put on a show. I was worried about Anthony Kiedis's voice, but he was spot on that night, and Flea and Chad Smith put on a show I'll never forget. They played some of their hits and some new stuff, but the jams that they'd break into were unreal. Their show is probably in the top 3 of all of the shows of the weekend for me. We stuck around to see what the Superjam would be, found out what it was, listened to a song, and then went to see Spectrum Road for a little bit. It was a great show, no one was there though, everyone was at the superjam, so we go to the third row and listened to some of the most talented musicians in the world play for about an hour. We were going to stick around and at least watch a little bit of Skrillex, but both of us figured **** Skrillex, I'd rather get sleep.
Sunday you could tell was the last day of Roo, it rained all night the night before, rain got in our tent and I slept in a puddle that night. I still somehow managed to get 8 hours of sleep somehow, but we woke up, tore down our campsite with our neighbors so we would be ready to leave whenever we wanted later in the day. We said bye to our neighbors in case we wouldn't see them again, and went to go see the music. We started the day with Gary Clark Jr. I was thinking about seeing Delta Spirit, but I figured I'd rather get close to see him than see 20 minutes of Delta Spirit. Well I was in the second row for Gary Clark Jr, and I'm glad we were, because he put on another one of my favorite shows, I'd also say he was top 3 for me of the weekend... Oh yeah, I forgot to say, I saw him walking around Centeroo on Saturday, It must've been around the time of his show at one of the side stages, but I didn't meet him or anything, he was walking around and I was too far away, and I think I was heading to the Roots at the time. After that we sat and watched some of Grouplove, who sounded real good. They were just too packed for us to want to shove our way to get close, so we sat there for a while, then walked past the Beach Boys on our way to go see the Antlers.
The Antlers was another great show They played a mix of songs from Hospice and Burst apart, and finished with Epilogue. The whole show was epic. I can't remember their lead singers name, but he has one of the best voices out there. Him, Brittney Howard of the Alabama Shakes and Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver) voices all blew me away. One of my favorite shows of the weekend. We left The Antlers and went Straight to the Main Stage where Bon Iver was playing and got about 30 feet from the front. Watching that group of musicians play is the definition of watching art. Justin Vernon wasn't kidding with (what was supposed to be) their final song, saying he was going to try to "split the sky", but they played all of my favorite songs except Stacks, IIRC. It was during this show that it kinda sunk in it was all ending, and I realized that there is no way I can miss Bonnaroo next year. This show is probably another one in my top 3 of the weekend, and its one I'll never forget.
Then the schedule got ******, so we tried the Shins for two songs, but we were too far away, they were playing more of their slow stuff, which just wasn't working for us considering we were already bumming about leaving, so we went to go see Fun. Even missing the first few songs of their set, we saw all of their songs we wanted to see. I couldn't believe we left the Shins, but Fun. was exactly what we needed. It was fun... we danced moved and had a blast. You could tell they were shocked at how many people were there to see them. With Bon Iver ending after they start and the Shins/Civil Wars/Young the Giant having the same time slot, they thought they wouldn't have much of a crowd, but it was huge, the most packed I'd seen that tent (ironically it was the That Tent) all weekend. You could tell how thankful Nate Reuss was just in his voice, and then they came out and played a 20 minute encore. One of my favorite shows of the weekend as well, probably top 5. Then we finished with Phish, who had a four hour set until midnight. I'm not a huge Phish fan, neither is my friend, so we stayed until about 9:30 and went back to our camp.
I was interested in seeing which of our neighbors had left yet, because a lot of them were saying they were leaving early,, its kinda a weird bond/friendship you make with your neighbors at Roo, so I was hoping I'd get to at least say bye to most of our neighbors. As we got to our camp, our neighbors from Jersey were pulling out heading for the road, our timing couldn't have been better. Told them goodbye and to all keep in touch, and they drove off. Our other next door neighbors from Iowa were back at their camp which was a group of kids from Iowa, who were all drunk, got to say bye to them and was told by the one guy who was basically their "leader" that we were awesome ******* neighbors (because we helped them out a lot with finding places and good bands to see) saw our back door neighbors from Louisiana, who had two member who were back from getting their stomachs pumped of alcohol at the hospital (lol). Saw our other 3 neighbors from Georgia, got a hugs from all of them, They asked the group from Iowa to take pictures of the 5 of us, said bye, and we were off. And by off, I mean we pulled the car forward and moved 100 feet, haha. The only group of neighbors we didn't see were the brothers from Pittsburgh, and as soon as traffic got moving saw them. Really did seem perfect how we were able to see everyone we wanted to. I really am going to miss that place... but there is always next year, this I am extremely happy about. That and the fact I was able to curb my spending enough I might be able to go to the Firefly festival. It really is almost a magical place, one of the best ways I can describe it is being in a field with 90,000 or so of your favorite strangers surrounded by some of the best music and other forms of art you'll ever find. I'd recommend anyone go if you can afford it, you won't regret it unless you drink too much or take waaaaay too many drugs, lol.
Also, if anyone has questions or wants to talk about what its like if you're considering going, I'll be happy to answer them and talk about it. I feel like its all I've been talking about since I got back anyway, lol
Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess
Rest in Peace, themaninblack