Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 23, 2010

Bonnaroo

Cleaning out my parents’ attic, a few weeks earlier I had stumbled across a pile of laminates from music festivals I had worked.  Warp tour, Jayhawk music fest, Waukarusa, the list went on. I had been to my share of festivals.  Bonnaroo put them all to shame. 

“100,000 people?!  That’s a city!” V exclaimed on the ride over to the fest.  Its sheer size boggled the mind.  Apparently tickets went on sale before the lineup was even released!  However Bonnaroo did not disappoint in that respect; the list of performing artists was nothing to sneeze at.  As sure as I’d been that my festival days had come and gone a decade earlier, I was happy to be going.  Spending a weekend with V and K, two of my favorite people, seeing great bands, and doubtlessly having amazing experiences would be a blast.  Pointedly ignoring the rather negative reviews I’d heard from K and other kids from my hometown who’d gone or performed previous years, I was looking forward to it.

In general I would have to agree with K, I’m not generally a festival person either.  I would much rather go see a band I love in a small dark venue filled with the aroma of stale beer and clouds of cigarette smoke.  If you gave me a choice or if it were just a bunch of bands and comedians performing I’d just as well leave the crowded dirty festivals to someone else.   As it was, I was going to see friends.  Bonnaroo would be my last festival, and what a way to stop going to festivals.

K and the Lawrence kids had been right.  It was hot, overcrowded, the sun beat down on you relentlessly, where there wasn’t dust you were calf-deep in mud, but it was pretty incredible.  Performance is a symbiotic relationship and a crowd can really make or break a show and the drugged-out festival-goers made for a fantastic audience.  The bands fed on the energy of the monstrous crowd and gave this energy back to the crowd ten-fold making every single performance I saw, from Stevie Wonder to the National, outstanding.  The comedians were electric; every performance had every audience member in stitches.  They were so well-received that by the second day festival-goers had to pick up tickets to get into the comedy tent and the line of ticket-holders stretched out endlessly.

As marvelous as the entertainment was, I have to say my favorite part about the weekend was getting to spend time with V and the other comedians, getting to meet some awesome people, and one-on-one time.    Though I put on a good front, truth be told I’m more comfortable in small groups or just hanging out with a friend. There’s a time and a place for everything, but I always feel like I’m more myself and end up getting into more interesting conversations in intimate settings.  Though I must say, rides to and from the hotel with a bunch of comedians was one of the most hysterical things I’ve seen in recent memory.

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