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Bonnaroo 2014

Last updated on June 19, 2014

Today is Tuesday.

I sit at my desk.
I delete email.
I reply to a few.
I turn my fan on.
It’s hot in the office.
It’s always hot in the office.

I feel the exhaustion.
The weariness in my bones.
My eyes sag. My head bobs.

Everything is so fast.
The Internet is talking about a millions things at once.
Iraq. Soccer. Technology. TV. Movies. Comic books.
Who said what terrible thing and why I should hate something else.


Today is Tuesday.
Monday I was in a car for 12 hours.
Last Wednesday night into Thursday morning was the same.
Driving/riding/sleeping towards Tennessee for Bonnaroo.

Starting Thursday afternoon with The Preatures and ending Monday night with Elton John, I was a nomad.


After arriving at Bonnaroo, getting assigned to our patch of grass, erecting our tent (home for the next four days), it was time for music.

There were four of us. Myself, my wife, her sister and her husband. We setup and headed out to Centeroo. Where the music began.

Over the course of the weekend I saw all or some of the following bands.

Thursday
– The Preatures
– The Wild Feathers
– Foreign Fields

Friday
– Greensky Bluegrass
– Sam Smith
– Andrew Bird & The Hands of Glory
– The Head and the Heart
– Neutral Milk Hotel
– Kanye West
– Skrillex
– Die Antwoord

Saturday
– Seasick Steve
– Cake
– Drive-By Truckers
– Damon Albarn
– Lionel Richie
– Ms. Lauryn Hill
– Jack White
– Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
– Frank Ocean
– The Glitch Mob

Sunday
– Caroline Chocolate Drops
– Sarah Jarosz
– City and Colour
– The Avett Brothers
– Amos Lee
– The Bluegrass Situation Superjam
– Elton John

It was awesome! I had never heard of much of the music at the festival this year. But after having gone, I didn’t need to. My wife had her list of must-sees. I had my couple (unfortunately, most of them starting after 1am!) Her sister and husband had their lists.

So we stuck together as a foursome most of the weekend, roaming from stage to tent to food and back again. It was wonderful to be exposed to so much great music played live.

Not bad for having a list consisting of The Glitch Mob, Skrillex, Die Antwoord and a few others I didn’t make it to. Unfortunately, many of the bands we wanted to see played in the same time slot. At one point there were four bands playing offset by 15 minutes.

It was a wonderful experience. My first festival and I am glad I started in my 30s. Because older, wiser Carl has a smart well-prepared wife who did a ton of research. She scoured forums for tips and advice about what to bring and what not to.

We packed for everything from sweltering heat (which we melted under by day) to cold (hello night-time!) and even rain. We drove through torrential downpours but we weren’t ever threatened by more than a light sprinkle. But we were ready.

I would absolutely go again, but I’d want there to be more bands I really wanted to see play. It’s expensive for sure, and we spent another couple hundred dollars in gas driving the 1500 miles roundtrip.

But it was a blast. I returned home exhausted but happy. Not sunburned or overheated. Tired and happy to be back in my bed. With a list of new music to check out.


‘Roominations is a series of posts that came from my trip to Bonnaroo 2014. Four nomadic musical days in Tennessee where I was up before 9am and awake until 4am with random naps in between.

Published inObservations