What a long strange trip it’s been.
After four days of battling the blistering heat, sleeping under the Tennessee stars, wandering about the 700-acre campground and singing along with musical legends, my body is begging for rest. My feet are worn, my eyes are slipping shut, my fingernails are buried under heaps of dirt. But I survived my first Bonnaroo, and live to tell the tales of an extraordinary weekend.
The eleventh annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival gathered more than 80,000 music lovers to the small town of Manchester, Tennessee for four days of peace, love, and music. While Woodstock may have pioneered the festival movement in America, Bonnaroo has taken over where the hippie extravaganza left off. Bustling with eco-friendly activism, throngs of naked bodies twirling around and mudslides forming across the farm, Bonnaroo successfully transformed technology-obsessed Americans into carefree and wild-spirited festi-lovers - if only for the weekend.
The small town of Manchester, Tennessee has welcomed the bulging crowds of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for eleven years - opening its quiet roads and grassy knolls to infiltration by hippies, hipsters, burnouts, ravers, rockers and every other category of music lovers imaginable. Giant RVs, cars stuffed to the brim with supplies and hitchhiking hopefuls invade the nearby Walmart en route to the festival, gearing up for four days of foregoing electricity and showers in favor of nature exploration and musical madness. Excitement flairs during the hours-long wait to the entrance, everyone eager to set up camp and start boogying down!
This is a big bummer for me, since I love the Shins, and just saw them in concert about two months ago (it was awesome). The reason frontman James Mercer gave for firing keyboardist Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval was, “It’s an aesthetic decision.” I call it bullshit.
Since then Crandall and Sandoval have been quiet, but now Sandoval has opened up to the Portland Mercury about the split. “I unequivocally got fired,” he said, “and it kind of confuses me why (Mercer) has a hard time saying that. I understand he’s probably doing it out of respect for me reading interviews. It might be hard for him to say it, but I got fired. There’s no other way of looking at it.”