Tag Archives: Bonnaroo

This is How we Roo It

Once you get past the sweltering heat, mouthfuls of dust, grime covering your body, and lack of sleep, Bonnaroo really is loads of fun. And this year was no exception.  Jax and I loaded up our camping gear and headed out Thursday after work for our favorite farm in Manchester.

We set up shop with the quickness, then beelined it to Centeroo to get our bearings and mingle with friends. We wandered around for a bit but made the wise and responsible decision to call it a night fairly early, knowing it would be one of the few times during the weekend that we’d have a shot at more than a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Good call, because morning came quickly. You can’t really sleep past 7:30am, given that the beating sun converts your tent into a slow cooker around that hour. Even so, we were refreshed and ready for the music! And that is the last time you’ll see the word fresh in reference to anything Bonnaroo, believe you me.

We started the day off with some show hopping – Sharon Van Etten to Jessica Lea Mayfield to Ben Sollee. Next up, The Decemberists, whose latest album I’ve really been digging. They played some of my favorites, and then we darted off to catch the second half of Ray LaMontagne.

The late night shows on Friday were My Morning Jacket and Arcade Fire, both enjoyable but not receiving my full attention. We then attempted to give Lil Wayne the benefit of the doubt, but discovered early into the show that it wasn’t our scene and called it a night. In my experience, with the exception of Jay-Z’s stellar performance at Bonnaroo last year, live rap shows just don’t cut it.

We kicked off our Saturday morning with an hour trek to a friend’s campsite, then into the festival for Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, who were lively and energetic as always. Old Crow Medicine Show came next, followed by a food and friend break.

And then, oh and then, it was time for my most anticipated show of the weekend, Mumford & Sons. Their set was perfect, and their encore of Amazing Grace was even more so. Follow that up with The Black Keys, Buffalo Springfield, Eminem, String Cheese Incident, and a brief stint at the Silent Disco, and you have a full evening of good music. Top all that off with a high-energy 2:30am Girl Talk dance party, and you’ve got yourself one pretty incredible day.

And very little sleep. We slept for a few hours, realized that our feet/knees/lower back/shoulders ached from the strain of the weekend, and admitted that perhaps we are not as young as we once were.

And then we headed out for our third and final day. It began with the bluegrass awesomeness that is Railroad Earth. From there, we baked in the heat to G. Love & Special Sauce, which we cut short to get a good spot for Ryan Bingham. This turned out to be a brilliant idea, as we were near the front under a shaded tent, and he was pretty incredible.

We took a break to pack up the car, came back for one last hoorah with Iron & Wine and Cold War Kids, and begrudgingly left before Explosions in the Sky and Widespread Panic. Although we really didn’t want to miss either act, we both really had to work Monday morning and decided, again, to make the wise and responsible decision of getting home to Memphis in time for decent sleep.


The Bonnaroo that Almost Wasn’t

Remember when I told you that this year I had opted for a different festival instead of Bonnaroo? Well, I somehow ended up at Bonnaroo anyway. I had mentally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going, but my friends are amazing and continued pulling string after string until I ended up in Manchester with a VIP wristband, parking pass, and air-conditioned living quarters, all at zero cost to me. I’m a lucky girl.

These arrangements did not fully materialize until late Friday night, so I set my alarm for early Saturday morning to make the four-hour trek. Although it was unfortunate that I missed some of the early Bonnaroo acts, my late departure did give me the chance to see Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears at the Shell in Memphis, so I wasn’t too disappointed.


Unfortunately, my favorite companion couldn’t accompany me on this trip, as he was staying back to represent us at a wedding. Despite his desire to be there with me, he was so supportive of my good fortune, packing up snacks and camping gear for my travels. Such a sweetheart. Saturday morning I awoke early, SHOWERED (can you imagine being clean on the third day of Bonnaroo?!), then headed due east solo. Upon my arrival, Minda and I immediately made our way to Centeroo in search of good music. Our day was jam-packed with fun, and here are the highlights:

The Avett Brothers: This is a band several of my friends are crazy about, and I am told I would love, but I’ve just never taken the time to get to know them. In hindsight, I have no idea why. Even though I couldn’t sing along, the show was awesome. The heat was sweltering, and at the most opportune time, in sync with an especially heavy music moment, a light rain began to fall, and the whole scene was just surreal. I loved the music, the lyrics, and the feelings behind it all. So much so, that I ordered two of their CDs once back, and I anxiously await their arrival.

Weezer: For this show, we were coaxed up to the front by some friends, where we ended up jumping, singing, and dancing to every song. Weezer played an amazing set, full of all the favorites you would expect – Buddy Holly, Island in the Sun, The Sweater Song, Say It Ain’t So, Beverly Hills, Perfect Situation. The show was much more fun than I expected, and we left thrilled that we had opted for it over The Dead Weather (tough decision).

Jay-Z: I was skeptical going into this, but man oh man, did Jay-Z bring down the house, or what?! He was punctual, gracious, talented, thankful, and just plain awesome (basically, everything Kanye wasn’t). He performed hit after hit, was working with incredible visuals and background displays, and just all around put on a great show. We were lucky enough to be in the first few rows for this show, and it was every bit worth it.

Silent Disco: The Silent Disco is one of my new favorite attractions at Bonnaroo. Upon entering the tent, each person is given a pair of headphones, makes their way to the dance floor, and has their own personal dance party. Everybody is being streamed the same music, but it’s only audible through the headset. Remove your headphones, and the tent is silent, which makes for hilarious entertainment and fun.

Sunday morning I meandered around the grounds before meeting up with my ladies at Ingrid Michaelson, another name I had never heard but to which I am so glad to have been introduced. She was cute and funny and had a great voice. But the show I was most excited for was my beloved Lucero. They aren’t exactly an afternoon performance kind of group, and it certainly wasn’t their best, but I had a blast singing and dancing along. And I know Ben appreciated my support. I stuck around for a couple more  shows – Regina Spector and Space Capone – and a slice of ridiculously oversized pizza before prying myself away and back to the car. The journey home was quick enough, thanks to my book on tape, and my homecoming shower was glorious.