I knew there was a reason today why I did not want to walk my dogs.
It was not too hot out, the sun was shining, and I was not tired…so why did I not want to take the little monsters on their daily walk? There was something I was supposed to do this morning that I forgot all about.
Back in April I wrote a little blog about the Virgin Fest possibly being cancelled. Having been to every single V-Fest since 2006 I was a little bummed that it might not go on this year. For weeks I could not find any news about if the festival would be cancelled or relocated. With the threat of Pimlico Horse Race Track going bankrupt it was not clear if the festival would go on in 2009. Finally just last week it was announced that the festival would go on this year with one big change…it would be free.
Free? A free festival?
Although the festival does have some changes such as going back to one day instead of two as well as being relocated to the other side of Balitimore at the Merriweather Post Pavilion the festival is indeed 100% free.
Limited to only 30,000 tickets previous Virgin Festival goers had gotten emails offering first dibbs on grabbing a free ticket. Today the remaining tickets were offered to the public by going to TicketMaster and requesting up to two. The only fee that would come from TicketMaster was if the person requesting the ticket wanted the ticket shipped to their residence for $5.00. That might be the lowest fee in the history of TicketMaster.
Still I am mindless and forgot. I knew that this road trip to Baltimore would be without Matt as he is festivaled the hell out, possibly for life. I am sure I could have suckered someone into going with me to the event on a Sunday for a free concert.
I have always enjoyed my time at the Pimlico Race Track while attending the Virgin Festivals so I am sure this event will be just as fun even if it no longer is held in the middle of a horse track.
With a smaller venue I am sure there will only be one large stage as compared to the two that were set up on the North and South ends of the track. I am also thinking there will be less shade tents so I know Matt will not want to be at that festival at all.
I’ll still try to find a way in to the Virgin Mobile (Free) Fest. Honestly there are not a lot of bands I really want to see there but Weezer and Public Enemy alone are worth the drive out.
Anyone out there get lucky and score some tickets?
Editors Note – Sorry for the delay, Bonnaroo took a lot out of me and after the long drive home I went to see Rancid/Rise Against at the Tower City Amphitheater with very little sleep.
The final day of Bonnaroo came and went faster than any of the other days and before I knew it I was headed for the first real meal in four days thanks to the Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro, TN. The Southern Belle served catfish was an absolute delight and the three of us relaxed and talked about the whole weekend and unexpected events.
More on that in a moment. First I should note that I was able to review the final day for BlogCritics.Org:
I kept my reviews on BlogCritics pretty simple mostly focusing on the music aspect and seem to be getting some interesting comments stating I am a “newb” and so on. I did not want to go into detail about Bonnaroo on those reviews because the read would be way too long. It was a music review, not a Bonnaroo journal. After reading them I think I could have done better but what I was trying to do was review each day nightly and sometimes I was up till 5am while doing so. It is what it is…
Thankfully I have this site to blabber on about everything else…read on in a moment for a Bonnaroo wrap-up.
The final day at Bonnaroo was short and quick mostly because I had to cart an ill fated Matt from one hotel to another. The poor kid woke up feeling like hell and asked me how I felt about staying another night at the hotel. I was honest with him and told him I preferred not to backtrack so I found a hotel in Murfreesboro, a city about a half hour North of Manchester. We all drove to the new hotel and dropped Matt and our stuff off. It was bittersweet to see the room number was 420.
By the time we dropped sickly off and got back to Bonnaroo it was going on 2pm. Luckily day four doesn’t get hopping until about that time.
To sum up day 4 at Bonnaroo I will say it was the perfect way to end the four day festival. I saw a great performance by Jessica Lee Mayfield, a Kent, OH artist. I saw Andrew Bird for a quick moment before heading over to see Merle Haggard take the stage. I can not even tell you how awesome it was to be in the crowd as the legendary country artist played.
Coheed & Cambira threw on a killer performance full of interesting covers and a 10+ minute drum solo during their closing song “The Final Cut”. I sang at the top of my lungs throughout all of their songs and enjoyed every minute of it. I am thrilled that they were on the Bonnaroo bill.
Coheed & Cambria Setlist @ Bonnaroo:
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood & Burial)
Apollo I: The Writing Writer
No World For Tomorrow
Gravemakers & Gunslingers
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith cover) / Under The Milky Way (The Church cover)
A Favor House Atlantic
Blood Red Summer
Red Rain (Peter Gabriel cover)
The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut
The last show of the festival for Adam and I would be the amazing performance by Coheed & Cambira. I opted to skip out on Phish and yes I am kicking myself for missing it as I heard it was an amazing close to the festival with Bruce Springsteen joining the jam rockers on stage for a couple of songs.
Oh well… I am just not a Phish fan and preferred to get on my way. Adam and I drove back to Murfreesboro and were looking for somewhere to grab a real meal when suddenly Matt texted Adam asking us if we had eaten yet, good timing. We picked up Mr. Sniffles and went to Cracker Barrel and pretty much took turns summing up the weekend.
It was a good time had by all.
Bonnaroo Wrap-Up Pissed Off Edition:
If I has to sum up the weekend with five words it would be: “Bro toss me the frisbee”
The three of us had a blast driving from Ohio, pit-stopping in Nashville, and of course kicking it at Bonnaroo. Granted Matt only made it to two of the four days, the three of us have enough musical memories to last a lifetime.
Let’s discuss some shall we?
First there is the good folk at Thirty Tigers who invited us to stop at their office and hang out for a moment. I can not even tell you how nice Katie and John are. We even met the owner later on Thursday, sadly I can not remember his name. Anyways, if you are a folk/country/rock music lover do youself a favor and check out their site and sample some of the bands on their label and thank me later.
Our hotel was in Kimball, TN. I thought it was not going to be terribly far away but I was a little off on distance. The room was booked as it was the cheapest in the area as the surrounding communities tent to hike up their prices of the nightly rates for those who refuse to camp. Extra money or not I am glad we got a hotel because there is no way this guy could camp at Bonnaroo. No showers, no AC, no way.
Let us not forget about Matt who wanted to skip out the first day of Bonnaroo to just relax at the hotel. I was ok with his decision. During breakfast I joked that the B-52’s were playing in Chattanooga, TN and I almost regret that…haha. Matt was dead serious when he asked me to drive him to Chattanooga and leave him there for the day so he could see the B-52’s play on the river. I was not exactly happy to drive out of my way but he does love that band and I know he had a blast there so I am glad I could help a friend out. Spite my little disagreement with a local officer we were able to pick up Matt up late night and get the hell out of there and back to the hotel for some sleep. He wrote a little blog about his solo experience.
Seeing Those Darlins live made my day. Kelley Darlin giving me a hug after their set was even better. Too bad it was pouring rain, thunder storming, and there were announcements of Tornado watches in the area. Those Darlins had to bail to save their equipment and Adam and I had to save our Matt.
Friday while stuck in a traffic jam on a side road the three of us were quick to see a colossal sized lady selling fruit in once of the random vendors set up on the side of the road. She sat there stuffed in a lawn chair ever so un-ladylike with her chubby legs wide open for the world to see. Poking fun at her with closed car windows did not pay off though…karma is a bitch.
Not even five minutes later we were subject to a random car search courtesy of the local drug task force. As the officer explained how and what they would be doing I am pretty sure that at least 50 pounds of marijuana drove past us. For being a random car search they sure picked the wrong car. We had nothing. Still determined to find a single speck of weed they tore through my CDs looking to see if I hid weed in the CD cases. I honestly wanted to kick all of them in the asses for being so dumb.
Freedom of choice was a good thing too. With such a wide span of performaces Matt did his own thing over the weekend and Adam and I cruised the grounds checking out as many sets as we could. We managed to come across some bands we had never even heard of including Justin Townes Earl (Steve Earl’s son) as well as talk to folk from all over.
I was joking about all the hippies raiding the grounds but to be honest there were music fans of all types filling up the farm. There were indie kids, country kids, punk rockers, douche bags, and even older folk all there to listen to music and for some to get as hammered as possible, slam down drugs, and make failed attempts at picking up members of the opposite sex.
Say what you want about me, I am not one who does drugs. I had my fling with them when I was younger and left it at that. I am not going to judge anyone either for doing them but I was getting a little annoyed at all the wide pupiled, acid dropping, ‘shroom eating, nitrous oxide huffing, ragers bumping into me, asking me where they could score stuff, and even at one time falling on me. That my friends is another reason why I did not camp there, it’s not my style. Sadly one person never made it home from Bonnaroo. It was reported that the Bonnaroo cleanup crew found a 20 year old male deceased in a tent. I am thinking drugs played a part in his death and that my friends is why I do not EFF with that crap.
The entire experience was amazing if not better than when I attended in 2006. Where else could one go to and see that many bands with some major label artists? At no moment the entire weekend was I miserable. I was happy to be a part of the festival and am already planning on next year’s.
All the ladies and their hula hoops were fun to watch. There is something so hypnotizing about a beautiful Bonnaroo lady and her hula hoop. I chatted with a girl before the Beastie Boys performance who was telling me how she made hula hoops and sold them at festivals. That might explain why there was an abundance of hula hoops on the farm. Novel idea if you ask me… In fact I just discovered that I sold my Bonnaroo ticket to a great girl who actually makes and sells hula hoops. Check out her site for more info!
Being a part of 80,000 people is so surreal. You look around and all you see are people who came to the farm the very same reason you did. The only way to really experience Bonnaroo is to be there. I am sure the experience is even more intense when you camp too but again, that is just not me.
The plethora of genres of music kept me going all weekend. Surprisingly I found myself only watching the entire sets of very few artists and instead cutting sets short so that I could see someone else perform.
The weekend was a great success. We made it to and from without any causalities. I did not want to punch anyone in the face, shocking… I am actually considering doing it again next year. I know Matt will be sitting that one out but I am pretty sure Adam is all about coming with.
Now if only I had a hint of what the Bonnaroo 2010 line-up will be??? I am sure it is going to be awesome.
Matt, Adam, and I all slept in a little longer than we wanted to. Needless to say I missed some artists I wanted to see like the Heartless Bastards and Allen Toussaint. I guess when you stay up till almost 5am sleeping in is expected.
We actually made it to the day lot without getting searched or even stuck in a traffic jam. It was nice for once to actually get there not pissed off.
One of the highlights of my weekend was sharing the stage with the sorrowful folk singer William Elliot Whitmore. During his set he decided to invite the fans to come a little closer and join him on stage. I took the opportunity and actually snuck into the back end of the tent where I got to watch the backside of William Elliot Whitmore and also all the fans who were glued to him.
One thing I like about William Elliot Whitmore is how personal he is. In between the songs he would run around and shake hands and give out hi-fives. He’s a friendly fellow who, with his guitar and banjo, is a one man show telling tales of what he sees from his eyes. His voice is haunting yet so appealing. His set was one of my favorites of the weekend.
Adam and I walked around a lot again on Saturday and the ever so smart Matt purchased a folding chair at Wal Mart in the morning and took it into Centeroo. He did his thing, we did ours, and later we would meet back up with him before the Boss took stage.
Throughout the day I was entertained by some artists I knew and others who I had not had the pleasure of hearing before. One of the new bands to my ears was grassroots heavy The Del McCoury Band. I really got a kick out of their material but had to cut it short so I could see Ms. Jenny Lewis.
While trying to see Jenny Lewis I managed to make way into a sectioned off side stage area where others were already viewing her set. As I was looking for the best place to see Jenny Lewis I noticed a certain someone checking out her set. Elvis Costello. Pretty damn cool.
After Jenny Lewis played we checked out Wilco, a band I really need to see live in their entirity. Every time Wilco plays a festival I seem to skip their set to see someone else. I enjoyed the couple songs I heard them play but really wanted to see Elvis Costello play.
Elvis Costello once again just blew my mind during his set. I saw Elvis Costello perform at the 2006 Bonnaroo so I knew what I was in for. I was pleasantly thrilled to see both Allen Toussaint as well as Jenny Lewis both join Elvis Costello on stage separately during the set. I was kind of figuring it would happen since both artists have worked with Elvis Costello but still when it happens live in front of you, you can not help but get excited.
Seeing how this was my first Bruce Springsteen experience Matt was quick to tell me what to expect. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band were everything I thought they were going to be. Where as I am not a huge fan of The Boss, I have enough appreciation for him and his band to watch the entire set and thanks to the live performance am looking to listen to look last the hit songs and dig deep into his catalog. Matt had taken off get a closer look and later told me he made it about fifteen rows back from the main stage. Good for him. I don’t think I could have done it myself.
Nine Inch Nails was awesome as I expected. I was pissed because I felt NIN deserved the What Stage, the main stage of the event. Instead they played the Which Stage which to me was not big enough for NIN. Playing through a mix of songs they shocked me most by busting out “Burn”. That song alone won me over for their set list. Sadly this performance by NIN is slated to be their last US performance for who knows how long… Glad I was there to witness it.
NIN sounded awesome as usual and as soon as MGMT and Moe took their respectful stages some of the douchbaggery cleared out. That made things much better for us as I am pretty sure the three of us were the only folk who were not retarded on substances.
Once NIN finished up and we got back to our hotel it was almost 4am. I stayed up till 6am writing the above review and managed to get a couple hours of shut eye.
Today is of course the last day of the event. We plan on getting there in time to check out Dillenger Escape Plan as well as come other artists. Once Coheed & Cambria finish their set we are done with the ‘Roo. I have absolutely so desire to see Phish close the festival with their hippie material.
This has been one hell of a trip so far and I am really looking forward to the final day to this outstanding festival. Time to head to the farm now, but first we need to stop at Tennessee / Alabama Fireworks for some souvenirs that might be illegal in Ohio.
I’ll still hanging in there kids. I will tell you though that I am tired of the patchouli smell that seems to be getting stronger day by day. Seeing dudes in dresses with nappy hair is a novelty for only so long. More on that in a moment.
I stayed up late night to post a hopefully composite music review on Blogcritics.Org:
Mind you I finished writing that around 5am so if it does not make sense my apologies. I think I could have left out my actual travel patterns and all but I wanted to just tell everyone what I saw from my eyes and if that included naming off every stage on the grounds then so be it.
One of the highlights of the day was getting searched by the local Drug Task Force. They said it was a random check and asked me to pull my car over to the side so they could search it. I was threatened if I did not fess up to my weapons and drugs and told if I lied they would throw me in jail.
I laughed the entire time they looked in my car looking for nothing. When they were just about finished one of the elder officers asked to look in my CD cases because, and I quote, “that is where they hide the weed.”
Who in hell would hide weed in a CD case? And why was my car pulled over and searched as at least fifteen stoners drove past me with glazed eyes and smiles that seemed to thank me for letting them in with their eight pound bag of weed without getting caught.
That right there pissed me off. I am drug free and for the time being alcohol free. Why me? Random my ass. I think Tennessee sees Ohio as a drug lord state and thought they hit the big one. Sorry boys, better luck next time.
So after that time delaying stop we made it to the day lot, parked the car, and started our second day.
The second day was actually the first full blown day of the festival with much more folk inside Centeroo. People from all directions were walking to and from checking out everything they possibly could. There was just so much to see and literally not enough time to see it all.
The three of us, yes Matt actually joined us, walked around for a moment and decided on what our plans were for the day. Shockingly Matt wanted a map and shade. He had his own plans for the day and was not too thrilled about many of the afternoon acts and wanted to just hang out. We would not see him until midnight.
I think Matt has something against hardcore hippies. I do too. I have had enough patchouli stink to last me a lifetime. When you are surrounded by a sea of people and that smell seems to get stronger and stronger it just gets plain annoying. I am also tired of hearing “hey bro!” screamed from one stoner to the next.
I have realized that I am getting old. There is no doubt about that. I think I am tired too, this is an angry, grumpy, tired post.
I have nothing against everyone having a good time and popping as many pills as they can fit into the palm of their hands. Let them be free, let them smoke weed, just stay the hell away from me and for the love of god quit asking me if I have have green! I was even asked by some girl “where can I find Molly?” With a confused face I looked at here and asked her what in the hell she was talking about.
She ran away. Ha.
The second day of Bonnaroo not only was the first day of Bonnaroo for Matt but really the start to the festival with more artists playing throughout the day. The rain stayed away and the sun shone making for the perfect festival atmosphere.
One of the surprise acts of the day would have to be the Belleville Outfit. The jazzy cabaret folk act was just the type of band I was looking to discover and made a note to check them out some more once I returned home.
Santigold put on quite the show with their mix of rock and hip hop. Al Green was one of those experiences I am glad I did not pass up. I still can not believe I saw the Rev. Al Green live. I have always been a fan of his older material since I was a kid so seeing him live was pretty damn outstanding.
The Beastie Boys owned the main stage Friday night pushing through a long set full of classic material as well as playing a brand new song with special guest NAS. It was great to see the B-Boys again on the big stage doing their thing. Mix Master Mike also put on quite the show scratching the hell out of vinyl and creating some truly unique sounds.
Justin Townes Earl was another act that I randomly walked up to having no idea what to expect. I was blown away by his indie country mix and complete politeness to all who came to see him. I even went so far as to grabbing one of his Midnight At The Movies LPs after the show.
French act put on one of my favorite sets on Friday with their French indie / electronica / rock display. Having first heard of them on the Lost In Translation soundtrack I did not even realize they were playing Bonnaroo. We all watched the whole set and I know I enjoyed every single song performed.
Public Enemy was another huge highlight of the day. Seeing the twenty-plus year old band take the stage was something I was not sure would ever happen again. They played strong and looked good. The act even busted out their 1988 classic It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back from start to finish. Wow.
I can say that I am ready for today. I got some sleep, ate some delicious Shoney’s and am now ready to tackle day three of the Bonnaroo.
Until then, here are some more photos:
Tonight is going to be a long night mainly because of NIN playing a early morning set from 1am till 3am. That is going to be amazing yet will drain what little energy I will have left in me but I am ok with that.