Ahh, the sweet smell of patchouli in the morning.
The delightful combination of mid-June middle-of-a-field in Tennessee sweat emoting from desperately-in-need-of-a-shower bodies, a thin layer of dirt covering their every extremity. The smell of festival goers extracurricular activities heavy in the air, with a dash of greasy festival foods and the hint of summer storms brewing, occasionally dusting raindrops on the sun kissed shoulders of attendees. And as the soundtrack to it all, endless live music of every shape, size and genre.
June 13th through 16th you will find me shacking up in a tent with my soon-to-be Denver partner in crime and some other pals amidst 85,000 of our closest friends.
I especially hope we meet her. She looks like a very good time.
I had the privilege of attending Bonnaroo from 2007-2009, working alongside my mom and an unforgettable group of people on the video production side of things at the festival. My college summers were better than most.
Best memories? Crouching sidestage to watch Regina Spektor bang out a remarkable performance on her piano, seeing Kings of Leon before I liked Kings of Leon, protecting my camera girl with all the bodily force I could muster as M.I.A. encouraged the crowd to rush the stage, mesmerized maybe 20 feet from Sting as The Police closed out their reunion tour, Jack Johnson barefoot strumming his guitar with a gin and juice, Bruce Springsteen singing “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” to a packed Saturday night crowd, Ben Harper crooning sweet raspy lullabies on a smoky stage, Vampire Weekend “before they were cool” on a Thursday in ’07 rocking out, the view from a platform on stage into the endless sea of bodies as Phish jam-banded for hours, Sigur Ros decked out in full George Washington style presidential garb playing an eerie set at 1AM, waiting hours for Kanye West to get off his high horse and drink the bottled water provided (though it wasn’t what he requested) then unintentionally watching the sun rise due to his tantrum, an unforgettable Flaming Lips show (duh)…the list goes on and on.
But one performance will always be especially memorable…
My mom loves Elvis Costello.
She’s been a fan of his for years, and he played my final year working Bonnaroo in one of the smaller, more intimate tents.
We worked the show together, and watching my mom be a fan, something I had never experienced, was really really cool.
Jenny Lewis joined Elvis Costello for part of his performance, and as a Rilo Kiley fan, it was a delight to me. My mom and I got to be fans, completely lost in the music, side-by-side. The best.
I always said, “One day I’ll come back here and play, not work,” as we dodged the delirious music-drunk (and drunk-drunk, too) attendees on our golf cart, navigating the grounds back to our camera compound.
Well, this year, at long last, I’m making my triumphant return to Manchester, TN.
I will brave my own body odor, and everyone else’s, for four days of living/breathing/walking/eating/sleeping/dreaming live music.
“They don’t even know what it is to be a fan. Y’know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.”
Paul McCartney, Edward Sharpe, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Lord Huron, Trombone Shorty, Father John Misty, Passion Pit, Pretty Lights, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and many more. We will dance under the stars and frolic in the summer sun.
I will watch Tom Petty, for a long-awaited very first time, close out Bonnaroo as the sun sets on Sunday evening.
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have dreamt that better myself.
This is my year of making things happen.
So in the words of my girl Penny Lane, “It’s all happening.”