Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bonnaroo: Day 1 and Day 2. A Review.

     As I mentioned earlier, we made an overnight stop at a Days Inn, took a few showers, and then went on our way.  We fueled up at Waffle House and headed down 24.  At some point we were lied to- we were on the lookout for exit 112, but there was no exit 112.  We were also foiled by the Wal-Mart parking lot, the VIP entrance, and basic knowledge of distances.  No matter, we still made it through the line in pretty good time and to what would be our dusty home for the next four days.
      Oh the heat.  I don't know that I've been somewhere that just got so hot so fast.  After being outside for about 30 seconds, I was ornery spitfire sweating balls hot.  And we still had to set up our camp.  This led to the shoddiest camp set-up ever.  Put your tent anywhere, and that's where it stays.
     We were given a map of the whole thing, but the thing about maps is that without any sort of reference point, they aren't very useful.   Here's a piece of paper with pretty colors on it; it represents a 700-acre farm, and you are *somewhere* on it.  Our first guess, which was that we were awesomely close, turned out to be very wrong.  We were very far away. I'm amazed it was the same county. 
     We spent the first few hours there drinking a little bit and staring at the inexplicable map.  We lathered on as much sunscreen as we could and moseyed on down to Centeroo.  The first day is generally used for figuring things out- learning the lay of the land and leaning into how dirty your feet will be for the next four days.  And once your feet are that dirty, you might as well just sit your ass in it too. 

The Lay of the Land
     My theory is that people would never really learn proper names for tents and stages anyway, so the Bonnaroo folks decided to just put up the most generic names they could think of.  The tents and stages were named This Tent, That Tent, The Other Tent, What Stage, and Which Stage.  There were a few other small stages with more specific names- Sonic, Lunar, and Solar I think.  Of course this created an amusing who's on first routine every time you asked someone where an act was playing. 
     "Where is Childish Gambino playing?"
     "This tent."
     "This is a pretzel stand.  Which stage is he playing at?"
      "No, which stage open tomorrow."
     "What opens tomorrow?"
     "Yeah, that too."
     "That's the big stage."
     "I thought that was a tent."

Well, you can see where that could go.  And speaking of Childish Gambino, I was sure to make it over to This Tent for his show.  It's slightly against type for me, but I really enjoyed it.  The crowd was criz-azy, and for a moment, I was a little afraid.  I'm not confident I was actually standing on the ground, I think I was being held up my those around me.  Everyone knew all the words and several chants of "Gambino" broke out.  Donald Glover wore a sleeveless Garth Brooks T-shirt and skinny black shorts.  Normally I wouldn't think that would be a look, but apparently he can pull any look off he wants. 
     After Childish Gambino I huffed it back to the camp ground.  Luckily I have an amazing sense of direction and was able to find it.  I crawled in my tiny tent and my already deflating air mattress and drifted off  to the perpetual sound of port-a-potty doors slamming.  Oh, did I mention we were about  50 feet from a long line of port-a-potties?  We were. 

Day 2
     The slam-slam-slam of the port-a-potty doors woke us up, along with the crippling heat.  There came a point in the morning, and I believe it was approximately 30 seconds after the sun cam up, where lying in the tent was suffocating.  The rain cover created some sort of greenhouse effect I think.  I even had a little tent fan but it did nothing. 
     This meant getting up was simply transitioning from sleeping in a tent, to sleeping sitting up in our chairs outside.  I feigned reading for about 5 minutes.  Eventually we broke out some breakfast items - cereal and bagels; a few hours later, we were ready for the 2 mile hike again.
     For me, day 2 was full of line waiting, comedy, beer, water, sunscreen, heat, sweat, and poor food choices.  So, pretty much any other Friday.   It was so hot.  I just keep thinking about how hot it was.  I  tried to say as hydrated as possible.  I could feel the sun burning through the layers of sunscreen I lathered on. 
     Day 2 was the day I started getting flummoxed- mostly over all the line standing and the pushing.  Also, I don't understand why it's so hard to throw garbage in the trash can instead of on the ground.  I enjoyed the Lewis Black / Kathleen Madigan show a great deal, but the waiting in line bit was a little over the top for me.  I had wanted to go back to the campsite for lunch between that show and the next thing, but there was just no time, and I couldn't handle the walk.  Instead, I moseyed over to the Broo'ers Festival- a tent full of microbrews!  That was my kind of tent.  I recommend the Asheville Brewing Company's Ninja Porter if you're ever in an area that sells it.  Dark, yet still refreshing. 
      I worked my way up to the front of What Stage for the Decemberists show.  Brilliant.  Hearts and Stars.  I love it.  After that, I went over to This Tent for Florence + The Machine.  It was so incredibly packed, I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't actually see the show, so I settled in at a table near the food truck area and listened.  It sounded awesome.  After that, back to the What Stage for the end of My Morning Jacket, a piece of pizza, and a spot for Arcade Fire. 
     The sun went down and so did I.  Wait, word choice.  I headed back to the camp ground.  There was still silent disco to be had, but I doubted my ability to get through it.  It would have to wait for another day.

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