Bonnaroo – 2013 Lineup TBA
It’s somewhere in between Thursday and Sunday (who really knows, right?), the light bulb sun is flickering, and sweat is covering your face as if God just wrung out his beach towel from the clouds. You’re not sure if that hum in the horizon is electric guitars on a d
Deep in the crevices of middle Tennessee’s endless highways and old Civil War fields is the ripe town of Manchester – better known as the home of Bonnaroo, the country’s greatest annual music festival. Drawing small crowds from Anchorage to Annapolis to Antioch (Nashville), Bonnaroo is the only place that nomads call home. Arriving in planes, cars, paddleboats, who knows, the news is out and the hippies have responded. It’s a four day adventure filled with grass-stained backs, canvas tents, beer coolers, and under the radar bands. Binoculars are a novelty, koozie cups a necessity.
Why go to Bonnaroo, you inquire?
It’s 200-something dollars (plus travel costs), no one sleeps, and showers are a childhood memory. You have to ask off work, find friends for company, and eat hot dogs like the Israelites ate manna – endlessly. It’s not worth it. It’s Guantanamo Bay all over again, you say. Let me remind you of a few reasons:
The Music is Unbelievable
I don’t care if you’d rather drink tar than listen to hardcore music, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails will make you believe in martyrdom. And I’ve only listed the headlining bands. Should I even dare mention Explosions in the Sky, Andrew Bird, Gillian Welch, Justice, Jurassic Five, and Jenny Lewis? Bonnaroo is more than music, more than a festival. It’s a cathartic deconstruction of socially construed labels. No longer will you mock and point at the “emo kids” because you’ve just smelled the whiskey under Conor Oberst’s breath. You’ll throw a gold chain around your neck and bow to hip-hop because you’ve just seen The Roots’ drummer, Questlove, redefine rhythm. I’m talking about Jeff Tweedy’s back hair, Jim James’ third tattoo, Wayne Coyne’s UFO space bubble. Sure, you can spare a few dollars for this.
The festival is every year in June, and every year a hundred and one bands congregate to make one person happy: you. It’s sensory overload. No one can really afford to go every summer, and that’s okay. But take out five bucks a week that you would typically spend on cigarettes or coffee, and throw it in the Bonnaroo kettlepot. You may find yourself far away and hungry, but Thom Yorke will make you believe in starvation. Don’t just take my word for it. Grab your moccasins and a tattered shawl, then perfume yourself in patchouli. It’s time to hit the road and join the hippies, and music is only the first reason why.
By Phillip Shaefer