For those not familiar with the concert festival circuit, Bonnaroo starts today in beautiful Manchester, TN. (Likely started last night for most of you crazies that are there. :)) While I have unfortunately/fortunately aged out of most of my festival going ways, I attended Bonnaroo a couple years, ending that run about 2 years ago.
So, in honor of the beginning of Bonnaroo weekend, and my friends that are still out there camping and RV’ing (I’m so proud of you Ryan and Chelsea and the rest of the crew… you kids inspire me!), I’m going to go ahead and re-live one of my favorite festival line-ups I’ve ever been a part of… Bonnaroo 2011.
Back then, I still lived in Cincy, which was typically a ~4 hour drive down to the Farm. (For those curious, Bonnaroo occurs literally on a 700-acre farm in the middle on TN, where they only hold one event per year. Bonnaroo.) Though you’re stuck in traffic for a full night, so don’t get too excited. But, just like a little kid going to Disney World the next day, you get to the Farm around 4am and can’t sleep more than maybe 4 hours before you’re up and running! Meeting the neighbors, showering in the outdoor showers and sinks (don’t forget your bathing suit!) and making a steady breakfast of microwavable breakfast sandwiches (lucky RVers) or beef jerky and fruit cups. Then, around noon, you head into the shows.
Once you get in, there is no other word to describe it than, “festival.” The stages are named “Which Stage,” “That Stage,” & “This Stage” along with a whole assortment of names meant to create confusion in every conversation. You can head to a yoga class taught by some of the top yogis around the globe. You can head into the silent disco where all of the top djs are spinning for what looks like a silent dance party. The food truck section include incredibly memorable meals, and the ferris wheel is there… you’ll have to ask somebody else about that part though. We were always there for the shows.
I always brought a couple of bags of snacks and drinks because I never wanted to leave my favorite stages. Just to name a few of the artists that we saw that year: Arcade Fire, Black Keys, Widespread Panic, Buffalo Springfield, Eminem, My Morning Jacket, Lil Wayne, String Cheese Incident, Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Mumford & Sons, Strokes, Decemberists, Ray Lamontage, Bassnecter (yeah, random), Iron & Wine, Girl Talk (still random), Pretty Lights, Florence and the Machine, STS9, Gogol Bordello (I left early because he yelled a lot, which is what he does), Ratatat, Scissor Sisters, Big Boi, Robyn, Deerhunter, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (I fell in love with her there. memories.), Bela Fleck, Chiddy Bang, Cold War Kids, Walkmen, Neon Trees, Portugal the Man, Sleigh Bells, Amos Lee, Best Coast, Wavves, Band of Skulls, Man Man, Smith Westerns, etc. Unreal.
When I look back at the ‘Roo 2011, my favorite part will always be the crew. Most of us had not been there before, so we were all wide-eyed figuring it out as we went along. I’ll always have a special connection to these folks and, through the marriages, job changes, babies, and cross-country moves, we still talk about it regularly 4 years later.
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What’s something memorable that you have going on this weekend? Do you have any favorite memories you’re thinking through today? Can’t wait to read about them in the comments below!
Create a great life!