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A sliver of you may have noticed I’ve been completely off the grid for the better part of a week, while the majority of you most likely didn’t bat an eye. Either way, your boy was cashing in on some PTO and enjoying a nice, relaxing summer vacation.
Where did I decide to spend my precious time unplugged from the mile-a-minute grind that is writing for the internet? Back to the pristine, talent-laden beaches of Florida, perhaps? Enjoying some frozen fruity cocktail that reduces the size of your cojones with each additional sip, catching some valuable UV rays to establish a solid, but not overzealous bronze base, all while being fanned by two gorgeous women with extraordinarily large palm fronds while another feeds grapes individually to my mouth out of her modestly sized double D rack? No, that would have been too tranquil and the blog life has already made me marshmallow soft.
I needed to rough it out for a few days and get back to the basics. Since Dillon and Ross would not approve of a year long, Ricky Williams-esque vision quest where I traveled and lived off the land, I had to settle for the four-day hippie infested, sweltering shanty town known as Bonnaroo instead.
After picking my car up from the body shop and the mechanic essentially calling me an idiot for taking my disintegrating Saturn Aura cross country, I was set to meet three of my coworkers, Rachel, Cristina, and John, at the office before we journeyed east Wednesday morning. My friend from San Francisco also flew in to accompany us, but since she works in a more “professional” setting, we’ll pretend she wasn’t a part of the pilgrimage and DEFINITELY didn’t indulge in all of the debauchery that comes along with the festival lifestyle. Corporate just doesn’t need to hear about that.
The trek started scalding hot when Rach and Cristina showed up to the parking lot an hour late with their front bumper dragging in front of Rach’s car. Nothing quite like kicking off the drive with a fender bender. It really sets the tone when you’re about to drive 14 hours to Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee.
Fortunately, we made it, and after sitting in line on I-24 for five hours, it was time to set up camp in the marginally sized plot of grass behind our cars. Immediately, it was evident that the girls really had no idea just what exactly they were getting into beforehand. As we put together our tent, Cristina was visibly shaken and this mortified look came across her face when the realization hit that, yes, this was home for the next four days, and that distinct hippy smell trifecta of weed, shit, and body odor would progressively become more potent with each passing hour.
Once established, John and myself made it a priority to find Mary Jane. Not too far off in the distance was this mini fortress compiled of several tailgate tents completely covered in tapestries and bead doors. Without a single word spoken, we both headed that way knowing full well we’d find exactly what we were looking for. There we met Doug Nug.
Doug Nug was a walking cliché of a dealer: a frail, tatted up, dreaded white dude who could be knocked over by even the slightest of winds. He invited us inside his citadel of drug rugs to conduct the transaction. Inside were three topless girls that looked like wildling extras from Game of Thrones that he called his “angels” and several storage containers of several strands of his own home grown product. After listening to some bullshit diatribe about hummingbirds, we finally stocked up on bud, and politely showed our way out after the homely looking girls offered to “churn our butter” for an extra $20.
We headed back to base camp, cracked open some brews, rolled up some spliffs, and got the wheels turning.
The following are the shows I saw the entire weekend and my knee-jerk reaction to each.
Temples: This was the closest noise I heard when I entered CenterRoo Thursday afternoon, so I decided to check it out. The short walk was the only thing notable about this show.
Glass Animals: Hey buddy, maybe don’t whisper sing in front of a festival crowd.
Tove Lo: She makes my penis go, “ehh?” I spent the entire show contemplating whether or not she’s attractive.
Gramatik: Met the love of my life at this show. Cute, petite brunette with a half-sleeve tattoo and an out of this world booty. After dancing with her the entire show, she grabbed my hand to lead the way back to camp. Nature came calling, and I had to hit up the porta potty. Never saw her again. Soul crushing.
Soja: I didn’t know it was possible to hot box a giant outdoor field, but you learn something new every day.
Atmosphere: Fat, old Slug dancing is both heartbreaking and unintentionally funny.
Alabama Shakes: The lead singer is an obese black chick? Picking up the fragments of my mind blowing the fuck up might take a while.
Kendrick Lamar: 100,000 overprivileged white kids screaming M.A.A.D. City is a sight to behold. So much so, that Kendrick ran the song back and did it twice in a row.
Earth, Wind and Fire: Great show, but it got steamrolled by this smoking hot chick in an indian chief costume screaming, “I’ll suck a dick for some quaaludes!” on a megaphone pre-show.
Odesza: Really glad this girl is letting me smoke with her. That wasn’t weed. Lights, patterns, holy shit.
Trampled By Turtles: My friend Joe Travis and the lead singer of TBT have never been in the same room at the same time. Pretty big coincidence if you ask me.
War On Drugs: That nap under the tree at Which Stage was clutch.
Sturgill Simpson: I guess I don’t hate ALL country.
My Morning Jacket: Dude did have a sweet jacket.
Mumford and Sons: Why couldn’t Jack Johnson replace them again?
Florence and the Machine: My ex-girlfriend used to throw them on during sex. That’s the only explanation I have for being fully torqued the entire show. My dick was simply responding to her Pavlovian training. Girl has pipes on her, though. Florence that is, not my ex.
Billy Joel: The northeast in me can die happy now.
The weekend, as a whole, could not have gone smoother on my end. I turned the phone off before arrival to become oblivious to the outside world, embraced the filth of festival life, was continually buzzed for close to 96 hours, and took in a bunch of awesome shows. If you’ve ever contemplated making the trip, I’d highly advise doing so.
The crowd is much more diverse than you think. For every dirty hippy, there’s some fraternity kid from the mid-west or a sorority girl from down south. Even Rach and Cristina, who were freaking out over bugs, dirt, and constantly making sure their phones were charged so they could access social media throughout, eventually enjoyed themselves.
Really, at the end of the day, if you like tailgating, half-naked women running rampant, and great live music, you’d enjoy Bonnaroo..