Where I Have Been Map

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Bonnaroo Experience

We pulled the car into our camp spot and I peered out the window through the hundreds of tents, trees, and cars lining my view - trying to get a grasp on what Bonnaroo was about to be like. As I hopped out of the car I had to jump aside quickly as I realized I had walked right in front of a moving golf cart. There was no angry honking, however. Instead as the cart cruised by, the man sitting in the back with long black hair and aviator sunglasses smiled and gave me the peace sign. At that moment I knew I was going to like it here just fine. 

Our campsite

How did I get to go to Bonnaroo? Well my friend Linda works for a news station in Knoxville that was covering the event, and I got to be her plus one! 

Sam shooting some interviews for News Channel 6
This was incredible for so many reasons. The first reason was of course the free ticket, the second reason was the amazing company of my friend and her reporter Sam, and the third reason was the fact that our press pass tickets allowed us so many amazing benefits. Not only was our camp site right next to the main Bonnaroo grounds and stages, but the press pass also allowed us into the press tent area. In this area they had free water, plugs for your phones, and a tent where band members would come to be interviewed.  The press interviews were open to all who had a pass, so it was during one of these interviews that I got to meet the actress Kristin Bell!
Kristin Bell at Press Tent
Kristin was there to promote her new movie, which was being shown in the cinema tent of Bonnaroo. I had never actually met a famous person before, so right before I tapped her on the shoulder to ask for a picture, I realized how badly my hands were shaking! After we took the picture she asked me what my name was. I nervously said “Annie” and then told her that I loved her sloth video. As soon as the words left my lips I instantly felt regret. I had seen a video of her on the Ellen show where she cries after her husband gives her a pet sloth. But why I thought she would know what I was talking about when all I said was “your sloth video” was beyond me. After a brief look of confusion, she thankfully started laughing. Either she realized what I was referring to, or she was just that nice to pretend like she did!      

                But besides all the incredible bands at Bonnaroo, one of the coolest things about the whole festival was the community they built right there in the Manchester farms. One morning while Linda and Sam got up early to do some interviews, I decided to explore the area of “Centeroo” as they call it. The first thing I stumbled upon was a morning yoga session. Hundreds of people were laying in the grass following the yoga instructions of the person on the stage. It was very relaxing just to be able to stretch out on the soft grass.
                Then I walked over to the rows of food stands by the ferris wheel. There was not a Subway or McDonald’s in sight. All of the food stands there were owned by private businesses or families, and there were so many healthy choices to choose from.
                Just a little further down from the food stands was this tent with 5 or 6 gongs forming a circle. People would sit inside the circle and the owners of the tent would start lightly banding on the gongs. Apparently this was a form of meditation and relaxation.
                Since Linda and Sam had a hotel in Murfreesboro, we ended up spending our nights there. We always meant to camp, but by 2 or 3 in the morning a shower and a bed sounded too good to pass up. It ended up being a good thing because the showers in Bonnaroo cost $7 per shower, and the lines are always ridiculously long. By the end of Bonnaroo people even resort to washing off in the fountain in Centeroo.
Washing off the Bonnaroo dirt!

The “people-watching” had to be the most entertaining thing about Bonnaroo. Most were dressed according to the weather… bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops. But every now and then you would catch someone dressed in a crazy get-up. We saw everything from Gumby costumes, to Where’s Waldos, to fairies and dragons. The most entertaining costume we saw was a guy who had falling asleep by a tree wearing a unicorn mask. So many people would stop to pose with him in a picture. I wonder if he even noticed.
The people at Bonnaroo were some of the most interesting and friendly people I have ever met. It was so easy to walk around and make 10 new friends from all over the country, and even some from abroad. One morning I decided to go around and ask random people where they were from and who they were most excited to see play. With the level of friendliness at Bonnaroo, most of the people actually came up to me! I talked to quite a few people who had driven 19 hours or more from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia just to see this music festival. With some of these people suggestions, I discovered some amazing bands I had never heard of before.

Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY

Brooklyn, NY


Bowling Green, KY

Boston, MA

Boston, MA

New Jersey

New York

New York

North Carolina

North Carolina

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