Hurple Hoopla

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My 2010 Bonnaroo Adventure - Part 1

Well, I said that I'd write about this, and here it is. You've been warned!

I’ll begin the great Bonnaroo 2010 saga where most stories begin, at the beginning. Duh!

I saw an interesting headline in one of my RSS feeds a couple of months ago. It was from and was simply, “Bonnaroo Needs You: Win 2 Tickets to Music Fest.I followed the link and read the article. The contest winner would get two tickets to the festival, and a Flip Ultra video camera and was supposed to get some footage for the website while attending the festival. To enter all one had to do was leave a comment explaining why you should win. So, I did. To sum up what I wrote, it was, “I was born and raised in that town, and have had broadcasting experience.”

I don’t know how I was chosen, but I was. A few days after the end of the entry period, I received an email from congratulating me. I read it a few times, and, honestly, thought it was some kind of phishing scam sent out to people who left comments for that article at Wired (it did ask for some of my personal info, after all, and there ain’t no way anybody in my household when win something that cool, our luck just doesn’t run that way.) About the 53rd time that I read through the email, I decided that I was being silly and answered. A few days later, I got a phone call from Wired to give me more details.

Okay, fast forward here because there’s no need to bore you all with the details about our games of phone tag or the tickets initially getting shipped to the wrong address (to Wired, not my house) or any of that other stuff. Let’s just say there were not many leprechauns involved and move on.

The drive down from my home in Illinois to my hometown of Manchester, Tennessee was fun, and uneventful. We got the chance to catch up on lots of good Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures, and had a few really great sing-alongs. (okay, anyone who reads this and knows either me, or my wife, will know that last part of that last sentence is not true… not even likely.) At one point, travelling down I-24, somewhere in Kentucky, we passed a big, old, bus painted in bright swirly psychedelic colors, with “BONNAROO” painted in big purple letters down the side. It was pulled over on the side of the road, surrounded by 4 or 5 police cars, and the officers could be seen in the bus through the windows, searching. There was also an officer standing at the open rear door, talking to a guy, who was not a policeman, inside the bus. Not sure if those guys made it to the festival, or wound up in the tank for the weekend, but, geez, maybe they should have just painted “DRUGS ONBOARD” on the side of their bus. Or, taken a route that would’ve bypassed Kentucky.

Now, for the sake of the story, I’ll let you all know that my parents live just across a bridge from the Bonnaroo site. In fact, when the music is pumping, you can hear it at their house, INSIDE their house. Here's a photo that gives you an idea:

We arrived at their house on Wednesday night, around 8:00 p.m. By that time, the line to get into the Bonnaroo site was already backed up as far as we could see from the bridge near their house.

We knew that we wouldn’t have to get in that snarl of traffic. Our instructions were to enter through the KOA campgrounds on the opposite side of town from the entrance used by the ‘general population.” Cool. So, we slept well, in a bed, and awoke to have a nice breakfast and a hot shower, knowing that we wouldn’t have to be subjected to the fabled 8-hour wait in line to get into Bonnaroo. Sure enough, we stopped off at the Holiday Inn to get our camping passes and “Guest” passes, the wait was about 30 minutes. And, the traffic to get into the Guest Camping Area of Bonnaroo? What traffic? Heh.

I do have one funny story about getting to our camping spot. We went in the back, and followed the directions of Bonnaroo security and traffic facilitators as they waved us into the backstage area, through the Guest Camping Area, through the vendor parking area, and back out onto the highway just outside Manchester. What the? They actually waved us ALL THE WAY THROUGH the grounds and back out! Okie Dokie! That sure made us feel welcome. Ha Ha!

Second time through, though, we got directed where we needed to be and got a campsite. It was a nice one too. It was far enough away from the leaky portable showers that “Lake Guest Camping” didn’t have to concern us all weekend, and we had a shade tree! Well, we did until another group set up their tent right underneath it. Grumble, mutter, gripe. Interesting fact, right after we arrived and started setting up our tent, another little group of three people arrived and set up a shade shelter in the space next to us. After they finished setting that up they got back in their car and left. That was the last we saw of those three people, or their car, for the entire time we were there. I think they were kidnapped by sasquatches (sasquatchi?)

That's a photo of the shelter that was set up next to us. Oh, yeah, that's their tent, too.

We finished setting up, and then went off to explore Centeroo and the Guest areas and see a few of the Thursday bands. We caught The Manchester Orchestra, and, sorry fans of that band, I thought they were pretty bad. I didn’t like the singer’s voice, at all (and I’m a guy that loves Bob Dylan’s voice… go figure) and thought the guitarist was shite. Oh, and the 5 or 6 songs we heard, I thought were kinda sucky, too. We also caught some of the other bands, but, to be honest, nobody else playing that first night seemed to be our thing. So, we went back to our tent, tried out the showers, which were already leaking and causing the area around them to puddle up pretty bad. Then, we went back to our tent and slept.

Here's some images from Centeroo:

I’ll end part one here, and get around to part 2, 3, 4 and 5 later… hopefully. I want to note, before I go, that no hippies were harmed in the typing of this report. Not this one.

If any magazines, newspapers, or websites would like to use any photos that I post as part of this series of posts, please contact me. We'll talk.


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