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.
The first day was insane. It was just Adam and I as Matt decided to go to see the B-52’s play in Chattanooga. (To each their own my friends…) Being the nice guy that I am I dropped his ass off down by the river in Chattanooga and then headed to Bonnaroo with Adam for our first day of the four day weekend.
Bonnaroo is just as great as I remember it. Tons of people all sharing the same vibe. Music playing all over the place full of different genres. Vendors selling their crafts as well as food and taking donations for various causes including something called “Mountain Top Removal“.
It was a little scattered on the farm as many people would not be arriving until Friday. People would actually be piling in all night long as some were not as fortunate as myself in having an extended weekend.
There are plenty more booths that need to be checked out and I will be doing some more of that today.
I saw some great acts I have never seen before as well as some favorites like Those Darlins. Yes, I am aware that I talk about them entirely too much but once you see them live you will understand my liken for the bunch. Not only is their music fun and catchy but the girls are super cool too. After their set Kelly Darlin spotted me and recognized me from her last show in Cleveland. She gave me a huge hug and chatted for a moment. I’m not starstruck or anything, but how cool is that? I know I am an unforgettable guy and all but for someone who has been non-stop touring for months and seen millions of faces, to remember one is pretty rad
John and Katie from Thirty Tigers were there too. I seriously love those two, they are great. Where I would have liked to have hung with them more after Those Darlins rocked out it was thunderstorming way too much and they had to help get the girl’s gear to their van. I’m hoping to run into them today.
So I leave you here with some photos I took with my little camera yesterday. I am not sure that I want to take in the good camera with the threat of storms and whatnot. I prefer to come home with no damaged equipment. We are prepared though. I purchased a rain jacket and waterproof box and Adam and Matt both got ponchos.
I write this with tired eyes from a Holiday Inn Express in Kimball, TN – a podunk Tennessee mountain town about 40 miles away from the actual Bonnaroo venue located in Manchester, TN.
The ride was tough and I did it all by myself. More on that in a second.
I do believe though I am a bit of a psychic though. You see, I wrote a little pre-Bonnaroo scenario about our drive as included with a mix I submitted for Addicted To Vinyl’s Monday Morning Mix just this past week. I comically mentioned things about the drive I found funny including sleeping and physical harm. Some it what I wrote about actually came true…
Matt, Rad-am (Adam) and I hit the road around 3am Wednesday morning with hopes of getting to Nashville around the lunchtime hour to meet up with some folk. In a nutshell I drove the entire way while Matt slept most of the time and Adam rose and fell into subconsciousness. For fun when Adam would start bobbing his head I would relentlessly smack the back of my hand into his chest. I am sure he did not find it as funny as I did but it kept me going.
As we rolled through Kentucky there was a terrible thunderstorm that made the drive tough. This was a reminder of what could come this weekend. Bonnaroo + Thunderstorms = Not Fun.
Having been up since 5am on Tuesday I was having a tough time staying awake but I kept at it, took rest stop breaks when needed, slammed sugarfree energy drinks, and finally got the three of us to Nashville where we met up with the wonderful John and Katie at Thirty Tigers.
John and Katie were supercool folk who I look forward to kicking it with hopefully within the next couple of days. Very good people who are all about music.
Speaking of music, their office is actually located above one of the sweetest record stores I have ever set foot in, Grimey’s. This music store specializes in new and pre-loved (awesome) CDs and vinyl. I was like a kid in a candy store looking around and talked myself out of a lot of purchases. By the time we had to head out I had purchased two LPs and a 45.
From there we checked out Music Rd. where we had lunch with one of Matt’s friends who runs his own networking music promoting company. Awesome conversations and a shrimp poboy sandwich made for a great lunchtime hour.
Drained and in need of serious sleep we made way to the hotel. I can not tell you how great it felt to put my head on that pillow and take a 4 hour nap. Not wanting to waste the entire night Adam and I went to see what was good in Kimball, TN.
Well, there was the neon heavy Tennessee Alabama Fireworks Souvenir store…
I’ll get a better picture later since my camera fogged up during all of the other ones I took. This place sold fireworks, beer, and tacky ass typical souvenirs. It was glorious.
That was about it for the city as far as standout attractions.
Bonnaroo starts around noon tomorrow. The weather is calling for strong scattered storms tomorrow. I may play it safe and leave the cameras in the car. I hope the showers stay away though…
Wish us luck.
I’ll post an update tomorrow when we get back from day 1 at Bonnaroo.
The time has come for one of the more exciting highlights of my year. Of course I speak of Bonnaroo!!!
When you go to any four day festival there is a lot of planning involved. Not only do you need to pack enough to survive four days on a farm in the middle of Tennessee, but you also need to plan ahead with what bands you want to see. Then there is the food you might want to bring, the mixes you need to make for the ride to and from as well as plan how you are going to get there.
Luckily I went in 2006 so I know how to get there and where to go. Just in case you do not though, Bonnaroo posted this funny clip:
Well thanks to Bonnaroo’s website I was able to plan the performances I wanted to see. Of course this is subject to change…
Thursday June 11th, 2009
Roger Alan Wade – Troo Music Lounge hosted by Budweiser 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Black Lillies – Troo Music Lounge hosted by Budweiser 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
MURS – The Other Tent 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM
Those Darlins – Troo Music Lounge hosted by Budweiser 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM
People Under the Stairs – The Other Tent 10:15 PM – 11:15 PM
Tobacco – Troo Music Lounge hosted by Budweiser 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Friday June 12th, 2009
Portugal. The Man. – Sonic Stage 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Gomez – Which Stage 12:45 PM – 2:00 PM
Animal Collective – Which Stage 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Which Stage 4:45 PM – 6:00 PM
Grizzly Bear – This Tent 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Al Green – What Stage 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
TV on the Radio – Which Stage 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM
Lucinda Williams – This Tent 6:45 PM – 8:15 PM
Beastie Boys – What Stage 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM
David Byrne – Which Stage 8:45 PM – 10:45 PM
Phish – What Stage 11:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Public Enemy – This Tent 12:30 AM – 1:45 AM
Paul Oakenfold – This Tent 2:15 AM – 4:00 AM
Girl Talk – That Tent 2:15 AM – 3:45 AM
Saturday June 13th, 2009
Heartless Bastards – Which Stage 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
William Elliot Whitmore – Café Where hosted by AT&T 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Booker T & the DBTs – Which Stage 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Raphael Saadiq – That Tent 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM
Heartless Bastards – Sonic Stage 3:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Gov’t Mule – Which Stage 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Jenny Lewis – That Tent 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
of Montreal – This Tent 5:15 PM – 6:30 PM
Wilco – What Stage 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Elvis Costello Solo – That Tent 6:45 PM – 8:15 PM
The Decemberists – This Tent 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
The Mars Volta – Which Stage 7:15 PM – 8:45 PM
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – What Stage 9:00 PM – 12:30 AM
Nine Inch Nails – Which Stage 1:00 AM – 3:00 AM
moe. – This Tent 1:00 AM – 4:00 AM
MGMT – That Tent 2:15 AM – 3:45 AM
Sunday June 14th, 2009
Cage the Elephant – That Tent 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Other Tent 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Dillinger Escape Plan – That Tent 1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Café Where hosted by AT&T 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
High on Fire – That Tent 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
Erykah Badu – What Stage 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Andrew Bird – Which Stage 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
Shadows Fall – That Tent 4:45 PM – 6:00 PM
Merle Haggard – This Tent 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Snoop Dogg – What Stage 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Band of Horses – Which Stage 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Coheed and Cambria – That Tent 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
PHEW! That is a lot of bands. This is the first time I have actually planned out a festival in advance and I am pretty sure that I will not stick to this. There are plenty of other acts that might catch my ears as I walk through the festival grounds.
As most of you know I am attending this amazing trip with Matt from Addicted To Vinyl and his new roomie Rad-am. I will be blogging as much as I can about my experiences here on this site as well as will try and create nightly wrap-ups once we return to our hotel at the end of the day for Blogcritics.Org.
Hotel you ask? Bonnaroo offers hotels?
Not at all. It is a camping environment. Unless you have a hotel lined up somewhere in the general area, when you get to the farm in Manchester you park your car, set up camp, and hang out within the area for the duration of the event.
When I say 80,000 I mean it. The picture above shows just 1/2 of the camping grounds. It is surreal once you are walking around the place.
Now why the hotel you ask?
Seriously, do you honestly think I was going to camp with some 80,000 other people? Hell no. I need AC, bed, and most importantly a freaking shower! I also need internet access, more AC, and peace and quiet when I am trying to sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, Bonnaroo will offer most of what I need sans AC, a bed, and peace and quiet. It is impossible to think all 80,000 people will be sleeping at the same time so that rules out the peace and quiet. Plus I am not much of a camper anymore and really hate it when the sun rises and turns the tent you sleep into an oven and you have to rip open the door just to breathe. I am also a light sleeper and am sure I would not sleep a wink there. That is why we got a hotel. Plus I like AC.
When I think about it, it will be worth the extra money shelled out for the hotel. It was when I went in 2006. Even if I only spent 6 or less hours a day at that crap hotel we stayed at I got a shower and a sound sleep thanks to AC. I am thinking though that the hotel I got this time will be a little better. We are staying at a Holiday Inn Express about 30 miles south of Manchester. I do not mind the drive at all seeing when I was at Bonnaroo in 2006 our hotel was about the same distance.
The food served inside Bonnaroo is not too overpriced and you can bet your sweet you know what that Matt and I will be eating as much Sonic as possible. I am sure I will be eating breakfast at Krystal’s too. I love me some grits. I am also psyched to learn there is a Waffle House right by our hotel so that means a meal when we come back to the hotel around 5am…
Parking was not that bad either. There is a visitor lot just to the north of the farm that has easy access to the highway as well is only about a 15 minute walk to Centeroo – the main festival ground where all the fun happens.
The guys and I are leaving Bonnaroo Sunday most likely after Coheed & Cambria around 8pm and were going to pull an all night drive back to Ohio but the more and more I think about it I think I am just going to drive as far home as I can and then get a hotel. We shall see what happens…
Stay tuned to Brokenheadphones for Bonnaroo 2009 from my eyes. Should be a pretty interesting!