Bonnaroo

When you see all the photos from Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this weekend — the crowds of folks and tents and arm-swaying humanity — remember that this is what it looked like before the gates opened today. Bonnaroo home Manchester, Tennessee, also is my hometown. I was there earlier this week visiting my mom and dad and we drove out to look at the 700-acre site, just about four or five miles from my parents’ house. On one hand, it’s out in the country on one of those narrow winding two-lane rural roads that natives take at about 80 miles an hour and everybody else creeps along. On the other hand, Bonnaroo is only a few yards up a hill from an everyday residential neighborhood that in the course of normal events usually does not play host to the likes of Steve Martin and Dave Matthews. Except during Bonnaroo. Because then my normal and everyday Tennessee hometown goes suddenly crazy. But in a fun way. On the Tuesday night of our drive by, the muscley official Bonnaroo guys riding four-wheelers around to check out the generators and fences and all the million details of the Bonnaroo infrastructure — they’ve built a city there, people — far outnumbered the trickle of regular folks who were starting to congregate. And on our closeup view, I noticed that those who live adjacent to the Bonnaroo site adopt one of two strategies for the duration: They either 1) abandon all hope and rent their houses out to Bonnaroo people or 2) go all in and rent out their yard space to vendors, open their doors to anyone who needs a roof and join in the party. One enterprising woman set up an awning, tables, chairs and grill and declared it to be “Momaroo’s Kitchen.” Why not? This morning the long line of traffic from everywhere else made its way slowly but efficiently to the Bonnaroo gates, and the good times began. Learn more about Bonnaroo and follow along at http://www.bonnaroo.com/.

Bonnaroo

bruce_springsteenOh my gosh, y’all. Bruce Springsteen is going to be in my backyard this June. Well, my bonnaroodayparents’ backyard, really. And actually not their backyard at all, but at least in my hometown of Manchester, Tennessee. That’s where the four-day music festival Bonnaroo is on a 700-acre farm every second weekend in June. Bonnaroo started in 2002 as a jam-band gathering and now tens of thousands of fans jam the festival grounds to hear some of music’s best. The first couple years, my dad’s Rotary club helped out with parking. Now, my parents usually head out of town when it’s Bonnaroo time, although the crowds generally don’t overflow to Manchester proper. And I am sort of kind of somewhat seriously thinking of trying maybe to go this year, although tickets are at least $250 (am I the only one who remembers when concert tickets were less than $25???) and it’s hot and that’s my fifth wedding anniversary weekend and I could probably talk my husband into a really nice evening out instead. Hmm …