Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reflections (and Ramblings) on some more pictures

I am finally well rested, my body has mostly recovered, my sunburn has healed...I haven't gotten over the obsession with my shower, and my air conditioner, I haven't stopped enjoying having a bathroom nearby every time I need to use one, instead of having to walk half a mile. This means that it is time to start reflecting on the amazing experience of Bonnaroo. I think my friends have been a little perplexed my stock reaction has become "It was unreal/unbelievable and I couldn't really use normal words to describe it." This is true. Bonnaroo was more than a music festival, more than a 4 day camping trip with friends, more than a collection of hippies doing drugs...I truly left the grounds on Monday feeling like I had been a part of something amazing. With that, here are some reflections on various topics...

Drugs - one of the main questions people ask me about Bonnaroo was the drugs there. Anyone that has looked into the festival at all has heard about how there are many drugs available at any time of the day or night for whatever price you want to pay...but I was not even prepared for the experience there. Before we had even set up camp, we had been offered drugs. It seems like every time we would sit/stand still for more than 5 minutes, whether we were at the campsite or in Centeroo (the concert area) there would be someone offering us whatever drugs we wanted. All of that said, the interesting part to me (and unbelievable to some) is that no one I was with used any illegal drugs. I could discuss why this is...but the point is that, even without doing drugs. The thing that struck me is that Bonnaroo is such a weird experience and environment, that I don't see why people would need to alter their state of consciousness to enjoy it more?

Festival Organization - I was amazed at how well organized Bonnaroo was. I have only really been to one other major festival, Lollapalooza, but the organization at Lolla could not even hold a candle to the organization at 'Roo. First of all, you have almost 80,000 people camping on one farm, which is a feat in itself. But everything else seemed to be organized enough that it did not cause us undue inconvenience. The parking/traffic situation was organized on the way in for us (I know it was not for everyone). Everyone had enough space to camp. The port-o-potties were cleaned everyday and remained relatively clean the whole time (I'm not joking, it was never a problem.) There were showers you could use during the day without much of a wait. There were water stations located throughout the festival that provided cold, clean water for washing, drinking or whatever else you wanted to use it for. My favorite thing is that the people running the festival went to great lengths to ensure that the ground where people stood to watch the shows was as dry and clean as possible. Before the Bela Fleck show, they cleared everyone out from under the tent we were in to lay down a layer of sawdust and hay to try and dry out the ground. It worked, and I think everyone really appreciated it. The medical staff was always attentive, and when that guy had a bad trip right behind you, the medical staff was always there in seconds to pick him up and take him to their makeshift hospital.

The People - The people at Bonnaroo are one of its greatest assets. I was hoping to meet a lot more people than I did...but this was likely due to the fact that we weren't that outgoing. That being said, I still met and encountered a lot of chill, cool people. When you're camping in heat, rain and mud with 80,000 other people for 4 days, you develop this camaraderie somewhat similar to kids at a summer camp. Everyone helps each other out and makes sure everyone else is having a good time. I noticed on Sunday that I had gone the whole festival without seeing people get pissed about running into each other or someone taking someone elses spot, etc. That stuff happened all the time at Lolla. A bunch of peaceful hippies at a music festival in the middle of nowhere? yep.

Since I've now been writing for much longer than I expected, I realize this is going to take more than one post. So I will end this with one more topic...

Phish - As I've said before, the catalyst that made me buy the ticket and commit to Bonnaroo, was the 2 shows that Phish were to play. When Phish went on Friday night, it was completely surreal. As cheesy as it may sound, I actually did get emotional. I started listening to Phish during high school and they quickly became my favorite band. Seeing them in 2003 from the 6th row at Alpine Valley was by far the best concert experience of my life up that point. When they retired in 2004, I did not realize how much I would miss them. When they stepped on stage at Bonnaroo, all of the waiting and wishing they would return came out of me, and I got to enjoy 3 hours of amazing live music. They ended the weekend with hands down the best set of Bonnaroo. The Tweezer Reprise was my favorite song I saw at Bonnaroo. I can't wait to see them 3 more times this summer.

With that, I will leave you with a link to some great, professional pictures and videos from the festival. This is a little taste of what I experienced.

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