Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bonnaroo Festival, Friday, June 12, 2015

The 14-state road trip (CA, NV, ID, WY, MT, SD, NE, IA, MO, KS, IL, KY, TN, and GA) was a success, but Rob and I weren't done.  We had 3 days and 2 nights worth of the 4-day Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to attend (yeah, we missed Day 1 on Thursday, but no biggie).  Here's how Day 1 went - and keep in mind that I didn't use my telephoto lens on this day because of Bonnaroo literature stating that any lens over 2 inches would be banned.  Just like their declaration that illegal substances were banned (ha!), that turned out to be bunk.  But I was a good boy on Friday, June 12.  Here are the photos, taken with a 2 inch lens.  ;-)

A BIG advantage to entering Bonnaroo a day later was that there was no wait to get in.  These highway signs indicate how much of a problem the traffic can be.

We were told in advance by the Bonnaroo literature that there would be a thorough search of our car.  This ended up being false (probably because we arrived on Friday and not Thursday) - we answered some questions and were in.

These people were not going swimming - it was hot and humid, and this manner of dressing was de rigueur.

Porta potties galore!  I heard that you could pay for the privilege of sitting on porcelain, but I didn't follow through on that.  For the record, these were cleaned every day (though the cleanliness didn't last long).

We were still en route to our campsite.

Packed in like sardines...

This triple flag pole was a handy beacon in the sea of tents.  I was surprised at how easy it was for us to find our campsite every night after returning, because there was every indication to the contrary.

Our neighbors, who happened to be from the South and were attending the festival for the umpteenth time.

Rob begins to set up our spot.

Gorgeous light (roughly 5pm).

After setting up camp, we headed into "Centeroo," which was where all of the stages were.  This was on the way.

We wait to get through security at Centeroo.

Notice the line snaking toward the entrance to Centeroo.

Local cops?  Never did find out.

Huzzah, we were in!  There are 5 stages in Centeroo = What, Which, This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent.  This is The Other Tent, closest to the entrance nearest our campsite (which was not the traditional entrance, with the famed Bonnaroo arch).

Ferris wheel!  For another day, however... ($6 a ride, by the way)

Rob used a selfie-stick to elevate his GoPro to capture the full experience.

It would be awhile before we saw anyone perform at The Other Tent, but it definitely had the coolest sign of all of the stages.

First stop - beer.  We had the refillable metal cups for the weekend, which you could clip to your belt buckle (very handy).

The first performer that we saw at Bonnaroo was Guster, at This Tent.  I had seen Ryan Miller (not the goalie!) perform solo back in 2006, but I hadn't ever seen his band, despite knowing how good they were.

Guster was indeed fantastic.  A great start to our Bonnaroo weekend.

Rob was digging the scene so far.

This was the Which Stage.  I believe Atmosphere was performing as we passed by en route to the What Stage.

Again, gorgeous evening light.

A striking balloon-like contraption.

The What Stage, aka the Main Stage.  Alabama Shakes was performing (as seen on the dual screens).

Couldn't get enough of that evening light, sorry...

Alabama Shakes, What Stage

Night falls over Bonnaroo.  We would quickly learn to pray for the coming of the evening, given the typical Tennessee-in-June weather.

Tears for Fears played to an exceptionally welcoming and enthusiastic crowd at the This Tent (which would become my personal favorite stage of the festival - especially because it was close to restrooms!).

Tears for Fears opened with "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and closed with "Shout."  Solid set.  This was one of 8 North American tour dates, and the only one east of the Mississippi.

I love Deadmau5 fans who bring their own "mau5heads."  I asked this woman if I could photograph her, and she enthusiastically obliged.  Deadmau5 would be playing later at the What Stage (main stage).

Notice the youngster in the wagon.  Despite children of all ages being welcome (6+ required their own ticket), I didn't see many children at the festival.  I would later come to determine that that was a VERY good thing (for their sake, not my own!).

Kendrick Lamar performs on the What Stage (I'm not much of a rap fan, though I'll listen to anything before passing judgment).

This woman was having so much fun that she would later reveal her breasts in appreciation.  For the record, I never take photos of such a display.  Seriously.  No, seriously!

I do, however, take photos of people having bad trips (I am an educator, after all).  This guy... words can't describe this guy.

Same guy, few moments later.  A few additional moments later, he would spring up like a shot and attack my brother-in-law (who I believe captured it all on GoPro).  This same idiot, high as a proverbial kite, would then go and bite the arm of an extremely athletic male, who merely shoved him full force to the ground instead of killing him (which would have been quite easy for a man of his physical proportions).  When he started attacking people I alerted the beer tent (which was right behind me), but they said there wasn't much they could do.  

My opinion of Bonnaroo was starting to slide downhill, sadly.

Attendees were in a constant state of flux, moving back and forth between stages and other areas.

This would be an example of "other areas."

This was a very popular area during the daytime with its scorching temperatures.  Which reminds me = one person died on this day at the festival.

Run the Jewels (a rap act) performs at This Tent.  I enjoyed them more than Kendrick Lamar.

These women were putting on a show of their own with their neon hula hoops.

Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

I seriously wish I had my telephoto lens (a problem which I would rectify the following day) = this was Earth, Wind, and Fire, playing on the Which Stage.

Time for Deadmau5 on the What Stage.

This was my second time seeing Deadmau5 (it had been 5 years).


Deadmau5, opening his spherical chamber.

A better look at the open chamber, with Joel Zimmerman (aka Deadmau5) unmasked.

Later on we got our stages mixed up, and thought we would be seeing STS9, but were pleasantly surprised that it was Odesza (at This Tent).


Rob was enjoying himself, and truth be told, other than the guy having a bad trip, I was having a decent night as well.

On our way to actually track down STS9, we stopped and saw Flying Lotus' set.

I hadn't seen Flying Lotus since he opened for Thom Yorke and Atoms for Peace in 2010.

Flying Lotus invited fans onstage toward the end of his set.

Ferris wheel again...

This tower was one of the only parts of Bonnaroo visible from Interstate 24.

STS9, playing at That Tent.  

STS9 didn't come on until 1am (they were the final performers of the evening, going until 3:30am).  We were back at our tents for the night around 2 or 2:30am... not knowing that the sun would be up just 3 hours later.  Ignorance is bliss.

Coming up = Saturday at Bonnaroo, featuring Belle & Sebastian, My Morning Jacket, and (wait for it...) Slayer.

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