Friday, June 11, 2010

Heat, mud and rock 'n roll

Music, art and a new appreciation for showers has brought me into day two of the ‘roo. As the somewhat pre-weekend day to prepare for what’s to come, Thursday allows campers to get settled while getting to know the scene and friendly neighbors.

It all began with a line of traffic as far as the eye can see through cow fields and farmland. Through the long line, roo-goers celebrated day one with smiles and cheers, excited for the weekend ahead.

At Bonnaroo there is something for everyone, whether you want to meditate at 6 a.m. or stay up until the dawn hours jamming to LCD Soundsystem (scheduled to rock out until 4 a.m. Saturday morning). So many aspects of the festival can lead the avid wanderer dizzy with options. Get a hair wash with a runway show at the Garnier Fruitis tent? Join a lively drum circle? Cool down on a slip-n-slide or in the giant mushroom fountain? (Which, by the way, is rumored to turn red while GWAR plays Saturday night.)

Music, of course, is the main objective. An incense of pot smoke floats through the venue while hoola-hooping hippies move to the tunes, which on Thursday included Local Natives, Miike Snow, Neon Indian, The Dodos, The Temper Trap and The XX, among many other excellent acts.

Here We Go Magic worked “This Tent”, while Diane Birch brought her smooth melodies to the stage of “That Tent”. Hundreds of people packed underneath both, with Magic’s dancy psychedelic tunes, at times comparable to Explosions in the Sky, and Diane’s silky voice lulling fans to enjoy the finesse of her sound in the dusty grass.

The sweltering heat died off as the dusk settled in the hills of a muddy yet community-loving Bonnaroo. The XX finished my day as they packed in thousands under “That Tent”. All dressed in black, the British band brought with them a somewhat sullen presence with a good beat, and a great head-bopping following.
Just before The XX took the stage, fans sang along to the smooth yet upbeat tunes of The Temper Trap, saving the crowd-pleasing favorite, “Sweet Disposition”, for one of the final songs.

While some decided to dance to the music in their head (more like headphones) in the Silent Disco, others hit the comedy tent or the cinema to check out the classic Jaws 3 in the final hours.

Today will be long, but enjoyable, starting with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Tenacious D, She & Him, Les Claypool, among so many others, ending with The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon and LCD Soundsystem.

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