Two days in Nashville to get over the jetlag (Thank you Natalie for introducing me to Melatonin), check out the scene (thank you Shara for introducing me to Jonah and Jonah for introducing us to Gold Rush) and then in no time at all we were all packed up again ready to head to Manchester TN for the Bonnaroo festival.
Four days in a field in the middle of nowhere and 3 nights in a tent may not fill all of you out there with feelings of envy, in fact the idea of using a portal loo for that time period may remind some of you of bog duty in a field somewhere in Wales. However when you consider that during those 4 days you get to party your ass off, meet some really cool people and dance oh lord dance to everything from Latino funk to hard rock, you may get where I am coming from… ok maybe not.
Anyway, Our Bonnaroo experience began really the night before. We heard about a small pre-Bonnaroo party going on in Nashville and quickly signed ourselves up for the free gig, grabbed our local friend Jonah (The best thing in Nashville!) and headed over to check it out. The line-up was not exactly headlining acts, but as we watched the lead singer of Lez Zepplin (the lesbian cover band of Led Zepplin) our feet began itching for Bonnaroo and some food… wow we were hungry! Jonah asked where we would like to go and he did not hesitate when we said, “Somewhere not on the tourist trail.” Gold Rush.
Gold Rush is the kind of bar every town should have. A bar with a bartender called Patrick who knows everyone by name and drink, no waitresses, no non-sense just good old bar with good ole Southern style food. I highly recommend the Nachos (Shara a picture was taken in your honour. I hope to get it uploaded soon).
After we fed on decent food we headed back to the Comfort Inn motel that we had called home for 2 days and fell into a deep sleep.
Early in the morning, I have no idea what time it was, we received a call from Matt, our ride to Bonnaroo. Actually to call Matt our ride is really is selling him short… Matt our friend, our brother, our Captain arrived with two friends early in the morning, quickly showered and ate and stuffed we squished ourselves in the back of his Audi and headed towards Manchester.
The ride in theory should not have taken too long, but we were prepared to add a couple of hours on our journey to get into the Bonnaroo campground. We were actually told it could take up to 8 hours, but there was no way we were going to queue for that long! Initially we seemed to arrive a the exit and were so excited that there was no queue, however our excitement was short lived as we saw a State Trooper blocking off the road. We were further disheartened when we realised that we were being redirected 20 miles to turn around and come back from the East. Then as we came off the Interstate to turn around we saw that the entire right lane was one giant queue for Bonnaroo. There was no way we were waiting in that line! After a few softly English spoken words with Trooper Taylor (I think I remember his name correctly) we were informed that we could just overtake the entire queue and carry on, “Yeah hunny I don’t know what them people are doin’. You go on there suga… You go ahead and do whatever you want.” So never being one to go against a Trooper that is exactly what we did.
I think that after 10 miles of overtaking traffic headed in our direction, we began to feel somewhat guilty and then very nervous about what would happen when we finally got back into the line, so once we found a big enough gap between two camper vans we decided it was a good a time as any to rejoin the queue. Plus we all needed to pee so it was a good time to find a bush along the freeway.
Now, I don’t want to go too much into detail here as I still have a lot of Bonnaroo to get through and we are not even there in the story, but let me just say that getting out to pee, finding some nice people from New York to talk to along the way and thinking that the traffic is moving slow so you will be able to catch up with your car quickly is stupid. Lets just say we were stupid and as a result spent the next 2 miles running after the car, only to almost catch up with it before it sped off again… Now I know I have been training for a Marathon, but 2 miles in flip-flops is not fun!
Okay, so we arrive in Bonnaroo and a re secretly hugging ourselves for our traffic surfing as we ended up camping next to a group of guys who had got in the queue around 7.30am while we joined the line closer to 10.30am. And we could not have got a better spot; close, but not within smelling distance of the toilets, 3 minutes from Centaroo (where all the action happens) and 1 minute from the showers (used only once in the end… they were not as luxurious as we had anticipated them being).
Now whoever said we would be the only Jews in Manchester TN, clearly had never been to Bonnaroo before! They are everywhere! In fact there were few people we met who weren’t Jewish. The two groups of boys who camped near us were Jewish, the friendly dealer from Kentucky who was just around the corner from us had a “Get Chai” t-shirt and proudly announced that he was the only member of his family not to live in Israel!
We settled in, made ourselves at home and got down and dirty at a few shows. I was initially surprised to see such a diverse crowd of people there. People of all ages, with and without children. At one show I saw a guy with his teenage son enjoying a gig together… I was blown away!
I would have to say overall we got the most out of our Bonnaroo experience. We saw a hell of a lot of music, but did not wear ourselves out too much in the process. And thank the lord we had the good sense to sleep through Kanye West! On behalf of all of us who attended Bonnaroo 2008, “Fuck Kanye West!” The guy made a whole hoo ha about changing his performance to 2.45am so everyone could go see his light show with naked astronauts and then the guy didn’t even get on until 4.30am… AFTER SUN RISE! What an arrogant ass! As Chris Rock said, “No-one has a bigger ego than Kanye West!” Chris you are the man!
So 4 days later we came back to Nashville to recharge batteries and are soon to be heading to the Great Smokies and becoming one with nature. Bonnaroo was a blast and I was so sad to say goodbye. Many fond memories I will carry always. And who knows… maybe one day I’ll go back with my kids and tell them how I partied Bonnaroo 2008.