June 14th, 2012
Last weekend was Bonnaroo, a four-day music festival in Manchester, TN. My boyfriend and I woke up early on Thursday and drove for seven and a half hours (ran into an hour and a half of traffic on the way down) and arrived at what could easily be termed the hippie Mecca of the eastern United States.
I had been previously the summer after my freshman year of college with the guy I was dating at the time and a friend of mine. We had a ton of fun and met up with a bunch of his friends while there. It was basically a constant party with very little sleep.
It turns out, however, that five years makes a huge difference. When I was 19 and still in college, it was no big deal to stay up until 3 am and then wake up again at 8 am (because when the sun comes up you get up) continuously for four days in a row. Now, at the age of 24, my body just cannot handle that crap anymore. The four days wore me out.
This is not to say that I didn’t have a great time, because I did. I saw Dispatch in concert, who coincidentally played their “final” concert in the midwest during Bonnaroo 2007. At the time I was super bummed to be missing that. But there was retribution! They have since gotten back together and will be releasing a new album on August 21. (Click this link Circles Around The Sun to pre-order it now!) Rest assured, there will be a review! And in case you were wondering, they were incredible in concert.
We also saw Ben Folds Five (also back together), City and Colour (soooo good!), Childish Gambino (with Donald Glover from Community), Needtobreathe, Two Door Cinema Club, Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more. It was well worth the $250.
The piece de resistance was, of course, Radiohead. They are always amazing in concert, and this time was no different. They played a great combination of classics (including Karma Police) as well as new songs from their most recent album The King of Limbs, which is a marvelous album, and you should totally check it out.
It is amazing how much money you can save by not drinking alcohol. I spent only $100 on food for the four days, which is more impressive if you consider that the prices for everything were akin to those at a football game or an amusement park (read: 1.5 times what they should be). And it was nice not to have to worry about dehydration. It was also nice to remember the whole weekend.
The downside to being sober at a hippie fest is that you have to deal with the thousands of people around you who are the opposite of sober in nearly every way you can be intoxicated. I don’t think I have been around that much marijuana in my life. It was intense. My boyfriend started his new job today and has to be drug tested. He was concerned that the secondhand smoke might be enough to make him fail the test, that’s how much pot there was. It was ridiculous.
What was more annoying, however, were the angry drunks. The camp site next to ours had one guy (who said he was 22 and from Chicago — he was loud, so I got most of his life story) who was so wasted on Thursday that he was falling into our tent and hitting my boyfriend’s car with his football. Once we got that straightened out, however, we didn’t have any issues.
Yes the food was expensive, but it was also incredible. They had fried cauliflower covered in vegan aioli at one of the food stands (Gypsy Queen Cuisine). It was to die for and naturally gluten-free! I need to figure out the recipe for vegan aioli.
They also were able to make their tabbouleh gluten-free using quinoa in place of the bulgur. The hummus plate they were willing to replace the pita with more carrots and the falafel wrap they were willing to do without the wrap! It was delicious and totally worth the money ($10 for the whole lot).
They also had some good smoothies, grilled corn, sweet potato fries that were to die for (I love sweet potato fries), and even a delicious tofu scramble for breakfast. I was very pleasantly surprised.
If we ever go back to Bonnaroo (and if I do it will be because the bands are amazing like they were this year), my boyfriend and I are renting and RV. I am too old to sleep on the hard ground with nothing but a sleeping bag and a tarp between me and uneven, hard dirt. And having a shower and a bathroom that isn’t a porta-john would be great too. We showered with water bottles because we were too cheap to pay $7 to shower.
Overall, a great experience, but not something I’m looking to repeat anytime soon without the proper equipment.
I’ll leave you with this: