This past weekend, I ventured to Manchester, TN with a friend for Bonnaroo 2012--my first Bonnaroo. I received all sorts of solicited and unsolicited advice from previous Bonnaroovians prior to my departure. But some things you just have to learn for yourself upon arriving on the farm.
Here's what I learned at Bonnaroo:
- If you don't wear layers of clothing at night, it is certain to be cold (cold enough to make you leave before Radiohead finishes their set, and you woefully buy hot chocolate listening to "Karma Police" followed by "House of Cards" in the distance.) If you come prepared with a jacket and layers for the following night, you will be too warm and end up carrying far too much baggage to be comfortable for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- Drink water. I was told that by Bonnaroovian coaches, but I mean you really need to drink water. When you see a water station, fill up, even if you just filled up.
- Shade is a gift; treasure it. When you find, weasel your way into it--no matter how many others are there, too. I can tell I am growing up when I opted to wear a hat everyday instead of frying my aging face.
- You can't do it all and sometimes sleep is the best option. I missed two shows I really wanted to see--Alabama Shakes and The Word--because I was desperately tired and couldn't make to midnight shows. I just had to surrender to the fact that I can't do it all, and I value a few hours sleep. Many Bonnaroovians surely differ with me on this one being that I heard them cheering until 6 a.m. to Umphrey's McGee. On Sunday, the 6:00 p.m. time slot was stacked with shows I wanted to see--The Shins, The Civil Wars, Young the Giant--but I chose to post up at the main stage all day to save precious dancing room for Phish. I ended up resting my eyes while listening the amazingly talented Bon Iver. Pretty descent consolation show.
- Rumors spread rapidly on the farm. We kept hearing that the Van Halen cover band playing at 2 a.m. on Friday night was actually going to be Phish, so we checked it out. It was in fact a Van Halen cover band. Supposedly there was going to be a nude flash mob to "Barbara Ann" during The Beach Boy's set. That also did not happen.
- Check out something you really have no interest in seeing. While waiting to chase the 2 a.m. Phish rumor, I checked out Skrillex with a couple I met from Raleigh, NC. Never was electronic DJ music on my list of things to do at the 'Roo, but I am so glad that I saw/heard it. What a show?! The stage set and graphics were impressive to say the least and the costumes worn by the audience were more than memorable.
- Play with children. They bring a whole extra element of playful bliss to dancing and jamming to music...and collecting glow sticks during Phish.
- Ya' just never know who digs Bonnaroo. I learned this yesterday at my doctor's office. I've been going to the same doc since I was 18 and low and behold this was her fourth Bonnaroo. I was shocked! I asked, "Do you go with your sons?" She said, "No. It's not their thing." Huh?! So now I know a lot more about my doctor. Oh, and her son was once the 8th ranked yo-yoer in the world.
- Lastly, but far from least: GARY CLARK, JR. IS AMAZING!!!
|Gary Clark, Jr. at Sonic Stage|
|Deb and Me at What Stage|
|My buddy Taylor and a yahoo behind us at The Beach Boys|
|Glow Stick Wars at Phish|