7th annual Bonnaroo
70 miles from Nashville
70,000+ people (not quite sold out at 80K)
Dig it. I had a great time at Bonnaroo.
But in comparison to other festivals, it felt surprisingly less hippied out, which was disappointing. I didn’t feel like I was going to randomly get hugged by someone overwhelmed with love for his/her fellow man in line at the Port-a-John. Everyone seemed pretty self contained, going about the business of seeing great bands but not really engaging with each other like I’d hoped. Maybe it’s the sort of drugs that are in vogue? I’m not sure.
In good news, with all those people standing crushed together, trampling the Tennessee earth as they herded from stage to stage, I never saw a single act of violence, or even aggression. Hell, I never even heard a malicious comment (except those directed at the excruciatingly tardy Kanye West). All in all, a most excellent display of humanity. Bravo. Even the Highway Patrolmen who pulled us over for whipping a U-turn on the interstate let us go with little more than an admonishment : )
My friends and I asked many people what “Bonnaroo” means. The only answer besides “dunno” was “have a good time!” I think this was just a gut reaction, but it is actually accurate: “The word Bonnaroo, popularized by New Orleans R&B giant Dr. John with his 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo, is a Cajun slang word meaning “a really good time.” The name was chosen for its literal meaning, and also to honor the rich Louisiana music tradition that inspired the organizers’ desire to provide many styles of quality live music for appreciative fans. The word Bonnaroo is actually a creole-French construction taken from “bon” (french for “good”) and “rue” (French for “street”).” Thanks, wiki.
I’m going to be rolling out posts about bands I saw at Bonnaroo, but here is a scattering of thoughts that aren’t strong enough to stand on their own.
Matt from You Ain’t No Picasso is the only music blogger I read (shocking, since I read a bunch) who was there. He took some killer photos of My Morning Jacket‘s epic set, and his review of his fellow Kentuckians is better than I could do from my location way back from the stage, under a tree to escape the worst of the rain.
Yes, Kanye was inexcusably late. Yes, he was so late the sun started rising about 15 minutes into the show. Yes, the “light show” we were promised did not deliver. Yes, there was booing. But the booing subsided after the fans who continued to wait realized they were making a choice to stay and thus needed to either leave or shut the hell up. It was a refreshing bit of groupthink that changed the crowd from something that made me think “Great shades of Altamont” to “Wow, these people have mellowed out.” Or maybe we just became stupefied with sleepiness and lost the energy needed to be pissed.
The New York Times’ Bonnaroo blog sucked. Dude stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. He had an epiphany of festival-going when he got out of the media corral and onto the lawn with the hoi polloi. Wecome to the fold, eh. The posts were short, lame, and showed a lack of research. It’s really too bad. Example.
More to come.