Bucket List: Bonnaroo

My God.

Check it off the bucket list. But go ahead and immediately add it back on.

Earlier this month, I spent four days and nights sleeping, eating, and breathing music at one of the premiere music festivals in the country. Not only is Bonnaroo a four-day festival (as opposed to most being three), but it involves camping for its entirety. So my (body) hair got FRIZZZZZZZZZZZY.

Being in the middle of nowhere (Manchester, TN), self-contained with music, booze, food trucks, and a great group of friends, I couldn’t have been happier.

Favorite Bonnaroo 2013 Moments

  • McCartney's Live and Let Die fireworks show leading into a goosebump-inducing Let It Be. Then capping the entire show off with 80,000 people screaming the lyrics to Hey Jude. Also, he played Eleanor Rigby. Also, he played Helter Skelter. Also, he made my life complete. The 70-year-old Paul (71 on the following Monday) rocked for three hours, creating a lifetime memory for me. And a smile on my face lasting just as long.

"Live and Let Fly"    - Me to my pants during McCartney's performance

  • Beach House's Wishes & Take Care back to back as I emoted like a Jr. High girl singing the lyrics
  • Getting into the pit for the National. Then Matt from the National jumping into the aforementioned pit for Mr. November. Then getting to scream “I’m Mr. November, I won’t f*** us over” into his face as he did the same.

I'm Afraid of Everyone...seeing my reaction to this man

  • Superjam rocking my body hard with Jim James, John Oates, Preservation Jazz Hall Band, Billy Idol, R Kelly, and Brittany Howard coming together for covers of Bill Withers, Prince, Rolling Stones, and more. As I sat there listening to Jim James and Friends cover Use Me, my body began dissolving; dissipating into the heavens for my life was complete.
  • Charli XCX's cover of I Want It That Way. Don’t you sit there acting like you wouldn’t have gone nuts.
  • Singing I Believe I Can Fly with 40,000 other people at R. Kelly’s 1am set while watching white balloon doves being released. I’m still trying to figure out if this was a dream.

The crazy thing about the lineup was that there were no lulls (Not to be confused with 'lulz'. Those were in abundance.). There was always someone playing that I wanted to see. So not only was it go-go-go mentality, but this resulted in seeing half-sets or even missing entire sets of bands I wanted to watch.

Here is a complete list of sets I saw in some capacity (in order) and my ten-words-or-less review of each:

Araabmuzik – Got some video of it for you: Araabmuzik Bonnaroo Set
Haim - Ladies rockin'. I likey.
Deap Vally - Ladies rockin'. HARD. I likey. HARDER
Japandroids - The boys' turn to rock. HARDEST. Continuous Thunder is everything.
Father John Misty - His hips don't lie.

Only 8 showers were taken between all of these people

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue - Trombone + New Orleans sound = An afternoon dance party
Charli XCX - British? Only 20? I. Don’t. Care. I luff ett/her.
Diiv – The boys from Brooklyn bring ambient dream surf rock to life.
Grizzly Bear – Hard to go wrong when their set includes Knife.
Wilco - My favorite band, opening for a Beatle. Yes. Please. Yes.
Sir Paul Effing McCartney - Holy. Hell.
Superjam (Rap) - Disappointing aside from the new Schoolboy Q tracks. 3s up.
Animal Collective - Need of sleep outweighed my interest during their 2am set.

Comedy Tent with Nikki Glaser, James Adomian, Michael Che - Nikki Glaser's Fruit Ninja bit is my new mantra.
Death Grips – Crazy. Had to see them. Out of place at 2pm.
Lord Huron - Only caught 2 songs. They were a good 2 songs.
The Tallest Man On Earth - Perfect afternoon fest set from the Swede.
Four Tet - Perfect nighttime set that happened at 4pm.
Dirty Projectors - Haley wasn't there :( Still great.
Beach House - I'm still smiling. Take Care is perfect.
R. Kelly – My mind is telling me no. But my body…
Superjam Rock – Superstars unite for unforgettable covers. Chris can't recover.

Beach House completing my human life cycle

Mistaken for Strangers doc - Matt Berninger introduced.  Good doc.
Action Bronson - my favorite Albanian/Jewish rapper
Mackl-eh-more and Ryan Lewis – Meh. Meh so hard.
Kendrick Lamar – DJ instead of band ☹. But Kendrick still brought the ruckus.
The National - Got into the pit. So did Matt. !!
St. Vincent & David Byrne – A goddess & a legend. Favorite concert from 2012. Relived.
A$AP Rocky - Topless girls on stage for F***ing Problems. Lulz.

Like I mentioned above, there were several bands I wanted to see that I just couldn’t. I couldn’t physically be in two places at once. But these are good decisions to have to make. Yes, I missed Bjork, but I saw Beach House from 10 feet away. Yes, I missed Wu Tang, but I was pretty darn close for Paul McCartney. Yes, I missed Petty, but I took a warm shower and slept in a bed instead. These are the sacrifices of attending a music festival with 80,000 new friends.

If you’ve never been to a music festival, a camping one might be tough as an intro. Then again, it may be like a batting donut so that when you go to FunFunFun Fest in Austin, life is infinitely (the math checks out) easier and laid back. [Tip – you should go to FFF Fest in Austin. More FFF Tips here.].

Consequence of Sound referred to Bonnaroo as the "Disneyland for music fans".  I couldn’t agree more. Maybe it's because I was as happy as a young child going to Disneyland for the first time. Maybe it’s because the girls I was with made us take more pictures than a tourist with Goofy. Or maybe it’s because Roo is a magical dreamland where Jim James and John Oates rock together. Where Paul McCartney unifies 80,000 people through music. Where your realized and unrealized wildest dreams can and do come troo.


All photo credits go to my friends Alex, Tarah, and Mariel.


  1. Wait a minute. Bonnaroo is NOT in Australia?!?

    #confused #gday

  2. I have to say Bonnaroo 2013,was absolutely amazing! Looking forward to 2014!


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