Bonnaroo totally worth the long drive
I went to Bonnaroo last week. It didn’t disappoint.
That’s such an amazing music festival. Everything about it is amazing, from the sheer numbers of people that show up, to the camp-type setting that everyone enthusiastically participates in, to the widespread availability of weed, to the collection of A-list recording artists that perform.
It blows me away every time I go.
I decided to drive to Manchester this year instead of flying into Knoxville and renting a car. I’ve had troubles getting a rental in years past because everyone else is doing the same thing and the rentals are in short supply.
So I made the 14-hour drive. I got there early but the line into the farm was still several miles long, the cars and trucks all bumper to bumper. But I was listening to podcasts and audiobooks so I was ok.
Got into the farm and found my space and got my site all set up. I actually brought a tent this year and a camp stove and a cooler and a little canopy. In years past, it has been really hot, and I have wished I had a canopy for some shade.
So this year I came all prepared and got all set up. And then I went to check in because I had signed up to work as a volunteer. It wasn’t so much that I wanted the $300 credit; it was more that I wanted to be a part of the operations of the event. I wanted that feeling like I was part of it and not just an observer or a participant.
When you sign up as a volunteer, you have to work a total of 24 hours. The event organizers decide how that will be split up; you don’t get a say. You can put down the group or artist that you most want to see, and they will do their best to not schedule you to work during that concert, but they don’t guarantee anything.
I really wanted to see Bon Iver, so I had put them down as my first choice. When I checked in and picked up my volunteer assignment, I was very happy to see that I didn’t have to work during the Bon Iver concert. I had been assigned to work a twelve hour shift on Thursday and then a six hour shift on Saturday and Sunday.
So I got that all done and then I just walked around to get the lay of the land. Saw where all of the stages were and the food trucks and the merchandise tents and the various official spots.
The festival began the next day with everyone officially arriving and then the first concerts that evening. The rest of the week was an energetic, hot, musical, sweaty, rhythmic, euphoric jumble of experiences.
I loved the Bon Iver concert and most of the other concerts I went to also. Did my volunteering stint successfully. Slept a little bit. Smoked a little pot. Drank a few too many craft beers. Hung out with bunches of great people.