Thursday, June 17, 2010

Confessions of a Bonnaroo'er

Anyone that's ever been to Bonnaroo will tell you with extreme passion and relentless enthusiasm that it was, without a doubt, the most quintessential moment of their musical existance. What they will view and reveal as trivial dispensable moments are when they woke up in their tent nearly suffocating, the time they passed out in a field near the Troo Music Lounge, the sweaty guy at Phoenix who could potentially be charged for sexual harrassment, and the way their feet felt on Sunday night around 11:30.

So, as a first-time Bonnaroo goer, I will give you the highlights and lowlights of the weekend.

Highlight #1: Mumford & Sons. After having passed my funnel cake off to drunkass Jake Wolf who had his name tattooed on his fingers and didn't really know he was in Tennessee, I stood in a packed crowd of folk fans about ten feet from the stage. Whether it was dehydration or genuine admiration, I had goosebumps for much of their set. Particularly when they pulled up Old Crow Medicine Show, Dave Rawlings, and Gillian Welch to join them for a rousing and geographically poignant, "Wagon Wheel." There are no good videos of that (where you can actually hear and see the performance), but this is a beautiful video of "White Blank Page:"

Lowlight #1: The traffic that caused me to miss both Frontier Ruckus and Local Natives.

Highlight #2: Kevin Devine. This ginger headed singer songwriter has failed to disappoint me for about three years now, but seeing him in the scorching heat with a full band, electric guitar, and devoted sweaty hippies took his performance effect to a new level. His articulately crafted lyrics are already mesmerizing, but he has the ability to intertwine current events and political howlings when least expected--KD performing "Cotton Crush" to a PACKED tent at 3:00 p.m. in the middle of the f-ing hottttttt afternoon.

Lowlight #2: The fear I felt on Saturday morning when I started to fall back asleep and thought I might pass out in my sleep and die because it was easily 103 degrees inside the nylon heat cave.

Highlight #3: Dawes. Always a highlight. Always. This is actually a video someone grabbed from Bowery Ballroom, but this is a new song and it's clever as hell.

Lowlight #3: Walking back to camp on Saturday night. Enough said.

Highlight #4: Angus and Julia Stone. Simply Beautiful. A short clip of "Mango Tree" from the cafe tent they performed in while Weezer attempted to be heard all the way in f-ing Nashville.

So, as I've discovered from my first Bonnaroo trip, it's a love hate relationship. Mostly love, because if you care about music enough to go in the first place, it's pretty much unbeatable. But, the hate part does come in when you sober up around 4 pm and only have 4 dollars cash left, or when your calves start to reject your body because you've walked more in three days then you have in three months. Still, just like most people would say, I'd go back in a second. I would curse the organizers for overlapping The Avett Brothers with Mumford & Sons, but I will return again for the opportunity to be amongst so much talent and passion and humidity.


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