Of lessons learned and sunburns

Confession time: I didn’t make it through Bonnaroo.

It was a drug festival briefly interrupted by music. I don’t know about you, fair readers, but I hear “music festival” and think that bands will be playing more or less all day. Right? Wrong! We got there Wednesday night and the music didn’t start until Thursday afternoon around 2.  The schedule was sparse at best until Friday late afternoon and early evening. It was the same deal every day. Music would start around 3p and go until 1 or 2 in the morning. What’s wrong with starting acts at 10a? Or even 11a? It was ridiculous to have to kill what amounted to an entire work day before the music even started. Wasn’t that the whole point of this event in the first place? When we were able to see a band, the sound was frequently so bad all we could hear was the bass. I know enough sound engineering to know it doesn’t have to be poor quality. Maybe the band doesn’t want the audience to hear them singing? I understand an outdoor event has different requirements for acoustics. Several of the bands were playing in a “tent” which was a metal structure built like a barn without the doors. The energy of the crowd really sucked. Cake was the perfect example. They were trying to get the crowd amped up and failing miserably. By yesterday afternoon, we said “fuck it”, packed up our stuff, and drove off.

In spite of the fact the music didn’t start until the afternoon, we never got to sleep past 8a. Our neighbors would get up, start blasting music between 730 & 8, then start the day with Miller Lite and bong hits. I’m not an idiot. I knew there would be plenty of smoking of substances, both legal & illegal. I didn’t expect it to be an omnipresent smell. I HATE the smell of pot. I’m all for it being legal. I’m all for people getting as high as they want. Just don’t do it around me because I’ll barf on your shoes. Unless you want me to barf on your shoes, in which case we have a whole different set of issues. I can’t count the number of times we had to get up and move only to be assaulted by the smell 15 minutes later. I’ll have the smell of dirty hippie in my hair for days. This was ignoring the completely they charged to use the showers, the bathrooms were a step below those in Gitmo, the food was mediocre & seriously overpriced, and for all their hooting and honking about how eco-friendly the event was supposed to be, trash was literally strewn all over the ground. How hard is it to throw out your food containers when you have to get up anyway?

There were a few positive notes. We found a new comedian we really like in the form of Brad Williams. We walked well over the 10,000 step a day goal set by the pedometer, and learned a new joke:

What does a hippie say when you try & get him off your couch? Namaste.

I learned that if I want to attend a music festival, I’ll pick one that allows me to come and go as I please. There are plenty of 1 & 2 day events around here. If I’m really looking for new sound, I’ll hit up Pandora or Spotify. It was over $1000 for each of us down the drain, but we know better than to waste that much again.



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