The Diary of a Bonnaroo Survivor

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Thursday, Day 1

I’ve just finished rolling each v-neck and pair of shorts to strategically pack as many clothing options as possible. By doing this, no one will ever pin me down as the overpacker, even though, after placing my fifth pair of shorts in the suitcase, I have totally accepted the title.

Driving through the night seemed like an excellent idea. We’ll get there just in time to stand in the killer long lines I’ve heard so much about. Somehow, the trip has turned into an extra four hours of traveling, and I keep telling myself that the ten hours of driving is really just nothing to a trucker. Detours and closed exits should be illegal–can we pass that bill?

Fortunately, our group had already attempted a trial run with our tent and canopy building before we left. This way, we can set up camp in minutes and head over to Centeroo without wasting any time at all. Cheers to thinking ahead!

After the bag-check and scanning, everyone slowly leaked into the field and tents. Today is a quiet day, and I’ve only located one band playing thus far. Today is the perfect day to scope out where everything will be located this weekend, aka the port-o-potties and vendors with the best food.

Friday, Day 2

Thursday night was a late one with individual light shows everywhere we walked. Coming back to the tent late at night made me feel like a kid again, and sleeping in the tent without it collapsing was a huge success.

Waking up with the sun’s rays beaming through the tent was not really my choice, but I knew it meant I was one step closer to beginning my morning with Ben Howard, so why not? As I climbed out of the tent, our neighbors gave us a “good morning” wave and told us how they spent their night, handing us some morning boxed wine. They drooled over our press bracelets, but I shrugged and told them they were people too.

Like I had anticipated, Ben Howard made me feel nostalgic before I even saw him on stage. I knew that I would love it so much that I would look back on that very hour of that very day and remember how neat it felt. The concerts at this festival do that to you, I guess. Also, I was drinking out of a coconut so that kind of made me feel exotic.

Five o’clock rolled around and the Avett Brothers’ voice poured out of the speakers. Everyone danced. No, really. We decided to ditch the race to the pit and stand at a distance from the stage behind all of the people. Sometimes music is just as good on a blanket with your best friends, I think.

The evening ended with Radiohead exploding on the stage. Maybe not like, literally, but I thought some source of energy came from the band directly to every individual listening and watching. The light show was stunning, and the music was more energetic than anything else. After it was over, the walk back to the tent involved a lot of “How in the world am I going to get to sleep now?”

Saturday, Day 3

Day two of waking up in the tent was less brutal except due to the aroma of sausage and bacon from four tents over. But I was fine with my half of a pop tart and apple juice as I packed up my drawstring bag for the day. 

Our morning ritual was to decide what to bring so we wouldn’t have to return to our tent. Once a person leaves the Centeroo section, they usually have to stand in the massive line to get back inside. I stocked up on fruit snacks.

The weather was really nice, which means the sun took full advantage of the cloudless sky and my pale skin. I should have stocked up on sunscreen. 

My favorite band, Blind Pilot began doing their sound check and the heat no longer mattered. Everyone belted out the words to the songs they sang, and I felt like I made 2,000 more friends than yesterday. When the artists on the stage are having fun, then I know it’s going to be a good show. 

Our little group separated temporarily, which proved to be a problem when you have very little to no cell phone service. “Meet us at the fountain after the show!” seemed like a good idea except everyone did the same thing. As painful as it seems, sacrificing one show may be more important than losing your friends for the rest of the day.

My favorite night happened on Saturday night. Both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Skrillex played back-to-back which meant the night was going to last forever. The small sample of light shows I had seen nights before had nothing on these two performances. Thousands of people gathered for the rave and glow sticks flying through the air. Although you didn’t have room to move around much, you did have the freedom to jump up and down like everyone else. This night wrapped up with a really strong feeling of community.

Freshman > Journalism > Marshall

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