Tuesday, June 16
The Bonnaroo Effect
I am not a festival girl. I don't like hippie scenes. I like to sleep in a bed. Even the word Bonnaroo bugs me a little. These are just a few of the reasons I would not be a likely bonnarooer. The Beastie Boys and a promise of bathrooms & showers in VIP camping made me a wary attendee. I had the best possible guide, my friend Scott, who is a Bonnaroo veteran. He told me scary stories about camping on the other side of the wall and even took me for a stroll down to the shakedown. We camped in style (he had all the gear, I made us some tasty treats) and we had the nicest neighbors. The weather held out and he gently reminded me to pace myself. Uh, yeah. Approximately 2 hours after we arrived the YYY's played; Then a little TVOTR and then my beloved Beastie Boys, who did not disappoint. I danced my ass off and smiled until my face hurt. I went to go explore on my own and take a little rest during the Phish show, because, well ...I don't like Phish. Then Public Enemy pretty much blew my mind by playing the entire It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back album and then kept it going for another hour. How can you pace yourself? I was so excited at 3am I thought that I wouldn't be able to sleep.
On Saturday we slept in and hung around camp until 3 and headed up to the main stage to see Rodrigo Y Gabriela, who are brilliant, intense and beautiful. Scott introduced me to them about a week ago, and knowing his love of jam bands, I was afraid. But R & G are probably two of the most amazing musicians I have heard in a long time. I headed off on my own to hear Jenny Lewis. Jenny was great and a girl at the show passed out from heat exhaustion and layed on my bamboo mat for awhile. I was standing under my umbrella, wearing 70 sunscreen and drinking plenty of water. We met up with some friends and listened to Wilco, then the Mars Volta rocked our faces off before we headed back to camp to rest up and eat dinner before Bruce. My head was really hurting (I forgot decongestant) and I had not paced myself. I was exhausted. I was at the tired and pitiful 6-year old stage with a full-on tantrum in effect and poor Scott didn't know what to do with me. Bless his heart. Apparently, what I needed was to sleep for 11 hours straight. Right through Bruce, the insanely loud NIN set and 4 hours of moe. I did have some very interesting nearly-awake dreams.
Sunday morning I felt like a new woman, with just a little regret over missing NIN. Here's the thing though, you just can't see everybody you want: You get tired; You have to choose between three great shows; And sometimes, you just like where you are at that moment and you don't want to move. For example, I had every intention of enjoying Band of Horses and Andrew Bird on Sunday. But instead I saw Erikah Badu, because I wanted to shake my ass and my hoop. And then, we listened to Snoop Dogg while we took down the tent and had a "bring you leftovers" cookout with our camping neighbors (which turned out to be the best meal of the weekend). There was only one thing going on Sunday evening, Phish. Now, I don't hate Phish. I just don't get it. But, I really wanted to participate and enjoy. While watching the crowd, I can't help but think of Dave Chappelle's White People Can't Dance bit. It's OK that I am giggling to myself because most of the people around me are very, very high. It was close quarters where we were and I wanted to go play with my glow hoop on the edges of the crowd and I also still needed to get my brother a t-shirt, so I headed across the field to Centeroo. I discovered that Phish is very fun to hoop to. I normally hoop to booty-shaking music, but I could do lots of flowy, smooth hooping to Phish. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the shirt store they were packing up. My brother was dog-sitting for me and I said I would bring him a YYY's shirt. Crap. I looked around at the vendors that were still open with a weary heart; my brother was not into any of this hippie-hemp-tie-dye-schwag. Then I found Mexican Chocolate, or as I saw it, manna from heaven. I got him a beautiful Death Cab poster and one of their signature shirts. On my way back to camp to keep the poster safe from dirty hippies, I thought I would stop at the VIP schwag booth and beg for an extra t-shirt for my brother. No begging needed: door open, boxes of extra shirts, knocking and yelling, nobody home. Little brother got an official VIP shirt. Then I found Scott in the crowd and made it until the end of the show (did I mention that Phish shows are very, very long?).
I may have been a wary attendee in the beginning but by day two I was yelling Bonnaroo-hoo with everybody else and I might even consider going again next year. Sometimes I surprise myself.