Road Tripper of The Week: Thomas Gill (Bonnaroo)
Our second Road Tripper of the week is none other than Thomas Gill for his description of everything Bonnaroo. While some would argue that if you remember anything from Bonnaroo you didn’t get the full experience, we are sure glad that Thomas was able to piece together some of the antics and recount them to us. With the 2009 lineup having been recently released, we thought we would start building the excitement from now until the first show. Thomas’ story takes you through the sights and sounds that you will experience if you decide to make the trek to this years Bonnaroo.
Think you got a story that deserves to be in the running for next week’s Road Tripper of the week? Submit it to us as a “Story” and maybe you can join Thomas in having the ability to rub your friend’s noses in either your own awesomeness or in their completely idiotic behavior that you so generously put on the internet for them. It can be either a fantastic feat similar to our inaugural Road Tripper of the week Shaler Alias , a funny tale of road trips past, or a great description of an awesome place to go. Make sure to include all the totally unnecessary details and any pictures that will help shed light on the antics that ensued. Stories Page
Bonnaroo: Three Days in a Hazy Wormhole
Bonnaroo might as well be on a different planet. Anyone who goes, it seems, agrees that things happen at this place which make it seem like nothing less than a violation of the space-time continuum or whatever that stuff is. I was offered drugs that I still have never heard of before or since, or at least nicknames for them. Just walking around the massive, endless, refugee-camp-like world—one that I have heard reminds people of that scene in a Harry Potter book or movie of camps of eccentric wizarding fans for the Quidditch World Cup—might as well be a psychedelic trip in and of itself, no drugs needed.
Some people there could well be wizards, for all I know.
I remember giant people on stilts, and other naked people running around with them. Of course, any discussion of Bonnaroo has to first establish the fact that nothing for certain can be established about what happens in this farmland in the middle of nowhere for those three days in June. It’s all kinda hazy, literally and figuratively. A friend of mine had a very hard time breathing in the dusty, drug-flavored, smokey air which permeated everything. If you were sober (and I have no reason to believe that anyone was) then you probably had a gas mask on.
Expect the Unexpected, then Multiply it by 4 or 5
The only real advice anyone can give a Bonnaroo virgin is that no advice is absolute. Every experience at Bonnaroo varies according to the smallest details—like where you happen to set up camp, which depends entirely upon when you happen to arrive. One reasonable piece of advice is to arrive as early as you can the Thursday before it starts. We got there at sundown and basically had a mile and a half walk to get to the actual concert area, Centeroo. That’s a lot of walking, and if there is any absolute about Bonnaroo it is HEAT. We literally could not sleep past somewhere around 6:30 AM because the sun got so hot so quickly and we did not have enough shade to effectively escape it. Shade is your friend, and so is water.
But other than that, the whole idea of the place is to have as little inhibitions as possible, so planning too much beyond the bare essentials seems wasteful at best. I’ve never seen people dance like they do at Bonnaroo, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t contagious. The musical acts kept getting better and better for me, and I think it’s saying something that The Police was the only band that didn’t blow me away. If you like good music, you shouldn’t have a problem. There is plenty of it at Bonnaroo.
Bonnaroo is not for the feint-hearted, and certainly it’s the last place anyone who is easily-offended (i.e., a square) should be. Expect the bubble of your typical life to burst upon arrival and to not appear again until you drive back out in your wretchedly dusty car—or, hitching a ride with random strangers, like many people do. And it is the people which really make Bonnaroo a parallel dimension.
Everyone from hippie parents who bring their young children to frat stars to people dressed like cats or wearing Homer Simpson masks to drug addicts to shady drug dealers to free-banana-pancake-giving-out-good-Samaritans. And those are about as broad of stereotypes as I can give this crowd. Bonnaroo defies stereotypes more than any cultural event I have been a part of.
Some Random Musings Regarding the Randomness of the ‘roo
Expect to get dirty. Wallow in it. Three days of over-used porta-potties and sweat and dust and haze. It couldn’t be Bonnaroo without the smells—some good, some not so good and coming from your armpits or the acid-tripping dude next to you.
If you want to do drugs, bring money. The rest just kinda takes care of itself. I’d recommend actually knowing what substance you are buying before you pay, but surprises are fun too. And who am I kidding? Every second is a surprise unfolding before your eyes at Bonnaroo, and I imagine that’s gotta be what a wormhole is like.
Robert Earl Keen
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
King Sunny Adé
Zac Brown Band
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
People Under the Stairs
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Portugal. The Man.
The Low Anthem
The Lovell Sisters
By Thomas Gill