Bonnaroo Blog: The drive

Some of you die-hard IDTheory readers may remember me as the “Guy With The Biggest Car”, or as the least-prolific blogger on “The Token Republicans”. Anyway, I’m about to leave for Bonnaroo, and I’ll be posting dispatches, photos, and other fun stuff here, for those of you with the good sense to stay indoors and not brave 90-degree heat and wicked thunderstorms, like the one that greeted early arrivals to Manchester, TN. Rumors have circulated that lightning struck the main stage, and there should be a wave of nasty weather every day during the weekend.

The hardest part about Bonnaroo might be getting in — despite the best efforts of Tennessee law enforcement, I-24 backs up for hours on this Thursday with tens of thousands of cars, RVs, and VW Minibuses trying to clear security and set up camp. Thursday is billed as an official Bonnaroo day now, as compared to my last trip there 4 years ago, but there’s still little on the bill tonight — some bands that haven’t caught commercial success playing the 3 smaller “tent” stages, and the opening sets of the comedy shows, who will also play tomorrow.

As a guide for what to expect from this blogging, you might want to know the following:

  • I haven’t seen Phish before. I like a couple of their songs (Waste and Bathtub Gin come to mind), but my extent with their live performance is Trey playing with other people. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised with what I see/hear, but I wouldn’t be shocked if their Friday late-night set leaves me cold and bruised with glow sticks.
  • This will be the third time I’ve seen the Boss this year: I was at the Super Bowl and attended their Atlanta show. I enjoy most of Springsteen’s work, and am excited to see what he does with a stadium-sized crowd for 3 hours.
  • I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails at Pemberton Festival last year and in Orlando. The festival set was much tighter and benefitted from trimming the Ghosts instrumentals Trent et. al. played as a headliner.
  • I saw Snoop Dogg play a short set as part of the Linkin Park traveling show a few years back. I was thoroughly unimpressed. I’ll still go see him Sunday, though.
  • I’m excited about seeing MGMT, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ilo and the Coral Reefer All-Stars (with special guest Jimmy Buffett), Ani DiFranco, Public Enemy, Paul Oakenfold, Erkyah Badu, and the Beastie Boys for the first time.

There’s more to the festival than the music — I’ll also be exploring the comedy. Every set features high-wattage stars, including Janeane Garofalo, Robert Smigel, Jimmy Fallon, and Michael Ian Black & Michael Showalter, to skim the surface. But more than just a summary of what played and who sounded good, I’m trying to report on the experience. More to come.

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