Remember All Their Faces, Remember All Their Voices

For months I’ve been saying that I’ll take the time to write about my experience this summer at Bonnaroo.  Well, today I’m finally going to do just that.

This week’s topic: Bonnaroo.

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This is what we saw as we drove into the campsite area.  It was like a little village.  Personal photo.

Two of my close girlfriends and I went to Seattle last year.  After a wonderful time together, we decided we’d like to try to do another trip in the future.  We started discussing possible options after we returned from Seattle, but many of the places we wanted to go would require some serious funds and planning (like France, for example).  After I got engaged in November, our plans were kind of put on the back burner since I no longer had the kind of extra money required for an elaborate vacation.

We started discussing the possibility of a trip again in the spring, though I was worried I’d let them down … I just really didn’t think I should spend the extra money on a trip when I needed it for wedding related expenses.

At brunch one Sunday morning, I got a wonderful surprise … They offered to pay for my ticket to Bonnaroo as an early wedding gift!  They knew I didn’t feel I could afford to spend the extra $300 on something frivolous, but they also really wanted the three of us to enjoy another trip together.  So I obviously agreed!

A couple of months later, we made the (12+ hour!) drive to Tennessee for the music festival.  Once we arrived, we set up our campsite and prepared ourselves to enjoy a long weekend of music, food, and drinking.

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This was our home for several days.  Please note the Porta-Potties in the background … You know, our only bathroom for several days.  Personal photo.

The great thing about a music festival like Bonnaroo is that there are tons of amazing artists to see.  The bad thing about a music festival like Bonnaroo is that the schedules are so packed (and conflicting!), that it’s impossible to see every band you want to.  We took in as many as we could, but we definitely missed some that we really wanted to see.

Here’s a list of the bands we did manage to catch (if only for a few moments in some cases):

  • Bjork
  • Portugal. The Man
  • alt-J
  • Local Natives
  • Passion Pit
  • Of Monsters and Men
  • Purity Ring
  • The Lumineers
  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • The National
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Cat Power
  • Wu-Tang Clan
  • Walk the Moon
  • Empire of the Sun
  • Calexico
  • Haim
  • Twenty One Pilots
  • Sea Wolf
  • Maps & Atlases

There may have been more … I can’t even remember for sure!  These were the ones that immediately came to mind, though.  There were just so many shows in such a short amount of time that they all sort of blurred together by the end.

Although it was miserably hot most days, although we had to use disgusting Porta-Potties, although none of us showered for 5 long days, and although everything cost a small fortune, it was a great trip.  I’m so glad I was able to experience something like this, especially while I’m still young enough to fully enjoy and appreciate it.  My friends are amazing for buying my ticket so I didn’t have to miss out!  

If you’re as passionate about music as I am, I highly recommend making a trip to a music festival at least once in your life (whether it be Bonnaroo or something else).  I would definitely consider attending another at some point.  Even though I know these festivals are scheduled in such a way that it’s impossible to catch every act, it’s definitely worth it if you can at least see a considerable number of bands and artists you wanted to.  As is obvious from my list above, we were able to make it to quite a few shows (if only for a few songs).  In the end, I’d say it was totally worth the trip!

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Please excuse my sad excuse for photography here … At least you can kind of get the idea.  Personal photo.

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