I spent most of Saturday afternoon at The Moxy inside a makeshift recording studio, recording a podcast inside a traveling version of Camp Nutbutter, the name we have given the camp we set up each year at Bonnaroo.
We were joined for the recording by four charter members of the Roo Bus — Daniel, Sharla, Brooklin and Chelsey — who drove up from Huntsville, Alabama, as well as Keith and Mitchell from Camp Reddaroo, who drove up from Birmingham and Atlanta, respectively, just for the occasion.
Nutbutter veterans Nate, Lord Taco, Hillary and Bryan, as well as Zach from East Ridge joined in. I mention this not just because of the shameless plug in hopes you'll give it a listen, but also because of what it says about podcasts, Bonnaroo and festivals in general.
We focus more on the logistics and behind-the-scenes aspect of the festival with industry guests, including actual artists, while they prefer to hear stories from event attendees of their experiences.
The idea that two podcasts about an event that takes places for four days in June could pop up is pretty interesting, but the fact that several people were not only willing, but happy, to travel to talk about it says a lot about what the event means to them.
Keith and Mitchell met at Bonnaroo several years ago and began talking about a beer swap a couple of years ago with another guy who actually showed up several hours late for his own party.
That first event drew just a few people, but the two liked the idea. Last year's beer exchange on The Farm during Bonnaroo drew more than a 1,000 people. The two also get together throughout the year for things like birthdays and holidays.
The Roo Bus is an actual school bus converted into a place to hang out during the festival by a couple who lived in Manchester, Tennessee, near the event site. Daniel and gang bought it in 2017 when the original owners transplanted to another state.
They park it in the general camping area near the main gate each year because of their passion for the festival and its message of "radiating positivity."
"I feel like we are now like the seniors in class, and it is our job to teach the freshmen what Bonnaroo is all about."
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.