Friday, June 19, 2009

The Bonnaroo Tales, Vol. I: Runnin' On Empty

Yea it's taken me a while to talk some Bonnaroo. It's taken me a while to talk some anything. Well...tough. Sorry, that's all I have to say about it. Oh, that, and you're gonna wait a little longer as I recap the festival day by day. You like it.

It's often said that life isn't a sprint--it's a marathon. For this guy, the past 3 weeks or so have been some sort of delirious mash-up of the entire race. There's been a lot of talk among my circle recently of racing and running and living lots of life in a short while, and I feel like that's what I've been doing since I last posted, lo those many moons ago.

In the last two weeks I saw Phish in New York and New Jersey, drove to freaking Canada and back (a return trip that took 12 hours door-to-door and a Baseball Roadshow that deserves its own post entirely), and ran my Yankee Stadium record to 4-0 on the year so far -- all while looking for a 3 bedroom apartment in Manhattan. All this immediately followed a week that had completely rocked my world. I found myself reuniting with slews of old friends, and even a couple of exes. I have crammed what feels like a lifetime's worth of chaos, stress, action, confusion -- and yes, fun -- into a relatively short amount of time. There are many tales yet to be written, but the big one - or at least the story that best encompasses all of what I've been feeling these last few weeks - is Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo is a literal and figurative time warp. As you make your way to the festival – at least if you’re truly road trippin' it – the miles and hours pile up and the journey feels interminable. Though we arrived in Manchester around 7:30 Thursday evening and made it inside after only a short wait (leaving us exactly enough daylight to set up camp and avoid a torrential downpour -- 'Roo Success #1!), some unfortunate souls are made to wait upwards of 5 hours to physically enter the festival grounds from the highway. The whole experience can feel like a never-ending odyssey. But once you reach your destination, the opposite effect occurs. Time seems to simply melt from one music-filled moment to the next. By the time the festival hits full stride, you’re not quite sure where one day starts and the next ends, and the places you’ve come from and intend to be going to at festival’s end feel like distant planets from a bygone time. On top of this dreamlike state of consciousness brought on by the long journey, oppressive Tennessee heat, sprawling music schedule stretching from noon until 4am daily, and never-ending stream of wild and crazy people, the state of Tennessee spans two time zones. Apparently there’s a sign that indicates when you’ve crossed over into Central Time, but no one in our car got that memo, which made for a confusing start to the trip when we had to figure out what time to go see Passion Pit on Thursday night. So it goes. If the whole festival experience has a time warp element to it, this confusion was probably the most appropriate way to start. Passion Pit were jumping at This Tent, we danced around, unnecessarily circumnavigated the entire campground in pouring rain on the way back to our spot, dried off and went to bed. It was the best night's sleep I'd had in nearly a month.

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