published Monday, June 15th, 2009

Bonnaroo could be Cajun for ‘trust fund hippy’

It’s time to tie a nice big red ribbon around Bonnaroo 2009.

It was a blast and will take me a couple of days to recover physically. The heat is draining, the days are long and the walking is epic. It is worth it all, of course.

One of the first things people always ask is, “Did you camp?” “In a tent?”

Yes, I did. With a tarp for shade, a chair to sit in, an air mattress, coolers with ice and the essentials, it really isn’t an issue. In fact, the communal spirit in the camp sites is a big part of the fun.

We met Pete and Kim from Colorado, Chuck from Knoxville, and Texas girl from, well, you can guess. It’s share and share alike. Chuck tied his tarp off on my truck and gave us shade. He also brought a full bar. We had Moroccan food to share.

The rain did muddy up the place, especially where vehicles dug ruts.

Also near our site were two guys from Chattanooga who were actually there using Roger Alan Wade’s passes. These guys had several vehicles and tents tied together with blankets and tarps to create one big camp site.

The thing people quickly discover about Bonnaroo is the attitude. In three years of attending, I’ve yet to hear so much as a cross word between two people. I’ve never seen a person even raise his voice in anger, much less anything approaching a fight. They might happen, I’ve just never seen it.

On second thought, I should clarify. Some of the national photographers occasionally express displeasure at not being granted access to certain artists, but that is another story and I won’t harsh your mellow with someone else’s whine.

And some random observations:

People are still not over Kanye West’s performance last year. He was more than two hours late (at 2:30 a.m. no less) and not good. People wrote nasty notes about West on the fences and portable potties this year.

The funniest T-shirt I saw read “I’m into bands that don’t even exist yet.”

Scariest thing I heard: “Can you tell me how to get to Pod 1?” This poor kid was a mile from where he needed to be to even start looking for the huge area that held his camp site. There are nine pods in General camping and you can see about three of them from end to end.

The closest I can come to describing the people who populate much of the crowd is “trust fund hippies.” Good-looking, educated and financially able to load up a van and travel the country following their favorite bands.

There is nothing that compares to seeing a band at 5:30 in the morning. I have to confess that each time I’ve done it has been on the waking-up side of things, not the stayed-up-all night-with-them side. As I headed over to get coffee Sunday morning, moe was finishing up their set in front of a packed This Tent crowd who’d been with them since about 1 a.m.

Consider that Jimmy Buffett offered to play at the last minute and Bonnaroo made it work. He did a full show Saturday at noon and started early, so he could play a while.

The line to get into the Comedy Tent was the longest I’ve ever seen and people stood in it for hours.

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