Monday, June 19, 2006

From the Road: Bonnaroo

Egotistically expressed by Killer


Hello faithful blogees, I am back from Bonnaroo. You might be wondering, "What the hell is a Bonnaroo?" It is a three day music and arts festival held annually in Manchester, Tn. It usually averages about 90,000 attendees. A large portion of which are drugged out, ex-dead head, dread lock wearing hippies, but in today's modern world they go by a new term, "Wookie", or "Wook". Personally I am offended by this term, not because I am concerned with their feelings, but rather, I am a fan of Chewbacca and I don't want his image disrespected in such a manner. I have no pics of Wookies, because I did not think of it at the time. Not everyone is perfect, get off my back!


I attended the afore mentioned concert with two fellow music lovers, who were also probably too old and/or straight laced to attend. The top is Disco Stu and the bottom is Gatewood. (By calling one a "top" and one a "bottom" I hope you don't get the wrong idea) We share a pension for college/indie/alternative rock that brought us to this years line up. It included: Radiohead, Ben Folds, Beck, Elvis Costello, Death Cab for Cutie, Brighteyes, The Magic Numbers, Nicklecreek, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Blues Traveller, My Morning Jacket, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Matisyahu, and many, many more. If you have not heard of many, or any of these bands, you are not truly a musical elitist such as myself, and should probably continue to listen to whatever pop radio is telling you is cool. My choice in music does not make me better than you, but it's close.

We, along with the other 90,000 other festival goers camped out for the event. This is our set up. We had to trek over a mile from our vehicle to set up camp. We brought 5 coolers, 150 bottles of water, 140 cans of beer, 48 cans of soda, 12 bottles of gatorade, 15 bags of ice, 2 bags of chips, 1 bag of beef jerky, 2 tents, 6 folding chairs, the canopy, and about 20 pounds of moist wipes and hand sanitizer. This made for three grueling, sweaty trips to and from the vehicle. Most people probably did not bring this many supplies, but we are extremely prepared. The 20 pounds of moist wipes and hand sanitizer are directly linked to one festival goers intense germ phobia. After three days of camping and rocking out in 98 degree weather, a quick smell check would rule me out as the germ-a-phobe. On a side note, that large, bulbous shadow in the bottom right of the picture is me, so a hot six mile trek is needed.

One of the first notable acts we checked out was Ben Folds. He is the piano player above. Extremely talented and a great showman. We did not realize we could sneak our folding chairs in to the show this, the first, day so we stood around in the blazing sun for a long time waiting for the show to start. It definitely detracted from the enjoyment. We would not make this mistake again.

The second act of the first day we caught was Nicklecreek. If you have never heard of these guys, don't feel bad, most people have not. They are a bluegrass/indie rock band from Southern California. They were, in my not-so-humble, opinion the best show of the weekend. They kicked ass. I now think every band needs a mandolin player and a violin. They did an incredible cover of Britney Spear's "Toxic". We would finish the first day chilling at the tent drinking beer, and resting for the midnight show which was My Morning Jacket. I have no pictures from these guys because I did not remember to bring my camera to the show.
We would begin the second day with The Magic Numbers, an incredible new English band that seemed very amazed by the size of the crowd that showed up to see them play. This day was already off to a better start because we had chairs and could sit down and still see the band for most of the show. About midway through a jackass from Toronto (atleast he was wearing a Toronto Bluejay hat, and I don't think anyone outside Toronto would) decided to stand right in front of me and block my view. Yet another reason to dislike the Canadians. We would leave this show and catch a few songs by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. After that I spent a long time in the Micro Brewery tent they had on site. After a few hours of drinking good beer and making fun of the wookies lounging around in the shade we ventured out to see Beck and stake out a good spot to wait for the headliner.

The headliner performance was provided by Radiohead. I think just about all 90,000 people showed up for this show. If you notice, from our spot you can barely make out Thom Yorke, but atleast they had the jumbo screens to show him. We were so far back because we decided to stay seated for the majority of this show, so for a large portion of the show all I saw was the assess of the people in front of me and a very zealous wookie selling drugs to the mish mash of people in attendance. It was a touching moment as he made no discrimination in his entrepreneurial endeavors. He sold to frat boys, soccer moms, rednecks, and his fellow wookies alike. Everytime someone would walk by he would say, "nugs, I got nugs", or "doses, I got doses." Nugs, I believe, is pot, and doses is acid. At one point he approached us to ask if we had a "glass one" he could use. I assumed he was asking for a pipe of some sort and honestly felt bad to not be able to accommodate him. I thought we had planned pretty well, but I guess we did not think of all occasions. Next time I will be more prepared. We also shared in a new first for all three of us. We got to witness a fairly unassuming group of people in front of us get down on all fours, one by one, and snort cocaine off of someone's drivers license they had placed on the ground. Then they spent the next hour or so dancing around in front of us maniacally and waving glow sticks, which was also a point of contention among us that pointed out our lack of preparation, since we were the only people to not have brought glow sticks.
We left the next morning after convincing a drugged up couple to let us unstake their tent and move it aside, since they had set up camp behind our vehicle. There was actually many bands performing on Sunday, but after weighing our desire to see them perform against our urge to not spend another night of trying to sleep while drunk and/or drugged up frat boys or rednecks shot off fireworks, then being awakened at 5 am by a group of drunk and/or drugged up wookies, or maybe soccer moms having a "drum circle". It is getting harder and harder for an ever aging, musical elitist, beer geek to have a good time getting drunk, making fun of everyone else, and getting 8 solid hours of sleep. But, I guess if everyone was just like me I probably would not love me so much.

2 comments:

gatey said...

Holy Crap! Just found out that it was indeed the Streets with Ben Folds. Wow....nice call.

Mick C said...

140 tinnies of beer, 3 men, 2 days. Twenty three point three (recurring) cans of beer per man per day. Respect to you.