After recovering from my second year at Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival, transitioning back to the real world has been quite seamless. My roommate, Will, is gallivanting across Europe for a few weeks which has forced me into alone time — probably for the best. After nights of 12 hours of sleep, a weekend stop at Refuge in Carmel and a week of making up for my caloric deficiency, I’m feeling as close to 100% as young professional gyal can.
This is not to say that this year's Bonnaroo was any less thrilling. Operating on minimal sleep, I think I perspired and burned more calories at Bonnaroo than literally any other time in my life.
I made the pilgrimage back to Manchester (Tennessee baby!) with my original Croo from last year, my friend (and OG festie), Caroline (aka Feda) and about 30 more friends and strangers. We called our camp BrockCampton.
I flew into Nashville, met up with Caroline and Ryan and then headed east to Great Stage Park. It was so exciting just to be there and see my friends becoming friends as we drank endless quantities of Miller Lite (I’m gluten free again now) and raved over the acts we were most excited to see.
I knew the weekend would be kicked into full gear once the Washington Capitals (aka the CAPS!) took the Stanley Cup. It was super awesome that they played the game at Kalliope (a stage which also has sets till 8 AM but also makes appearances at other festivals), so we could all watch on Thursday evening. The game was incredible, at times excruciating to watch, but felt soooo long. As much as I love my friends out here, it was really special to experience this with my friends from home. And then we REALLY started Bonnaroo.
Last year was incredible, but in 2018 it felt like we turned up the fun to 500%. Not to dismiss the memories made in 2017, but this year felt more grandiose. I think this was a mix of having gone before, moving to Groop camping (which is for groups of 24+), seeing more electronic acts, mentally (and physically) preparing better, etc. Both years I’ve gone have been so different yet still so fun and special in my heart.
I think one of my favorite moments was just getting to experience these acts, some I had already seen and other not, with my friends. Getting to see acts like Kayzo and Slander, who Ari, Feda and I have grown so obsessed with, for the first time was so, so fun. Between all of the songs I’ve come to be obsessed with over the last twelve months and the increased production at The Other (the EDM stage aka my home), these sets oozed excitement. And then getting to introduce those acts to Chris, Matt and Santi was super cool just seeing how they reacted and then ended up enjoying them. Plus, it was always great that I could easily turn to Feda or David whenever we heard the slightest hint of a Flosstradamus track.
My two standout songs from the weekend were, as you probably guessed, “No Place” by RÜFÜS DU SOL and “Read My Mind” by The Killers. RÜFÜS has easily become one of my favorite bands, and each show of theirs I see is better than the last. They played in the That Tent, which was incredible for the lights and to just feel like you were really on a voyage with them. Most of our group hadn’t seen RÜFÜS live, and I think we all left knowing that would be the best set of the weekend. This was their first performance of “No Place,” and everyone was going nuts, especially since it was their last song of the evening. “Read My Mind” is without a doubt my most favorite Killers song of all time. Ari told me they usually perform it live, so I was getting soooooo anxious — especially since this was my first time seeing them. I remember screaming at Ari that I was getting super nervous they wouldn’t play it and then BAM! The song starts. I don’t think I have ever screamed lyrics so loud in my entire existence. I truly was getting my life, and it was the absolute best set to close another perfect weekend at Bonnaroo.
Other people we saw included: Chris Lake, Mija, Mr. Carmack, Tash Sultana, T-Pain, Muse, Bassnectar, Space Jesus, Manic Focus, Clozee, Shiba San, K?d, Virtual Self, Hippie Sabotage, Dua Lipa, What So Not, Kaskade, The Glitch Mob, Alison Wonderland, Big Wild, Elohim, Valentino Khan, Opiuo, Boogie T, Said the Sky and Snakehips.
As you can see, Bonnaroo is my favorite EDM festival.
I thank the universe for bringing me to Manchester, my incredible Croo for putting up with my antics and always looking out for me, the vegan girls for making breakfast burritos, the artists for performing amazing sets and finally, Bonnaroo for teaching me that it’s totally okay to almost fully disconnect for a few days, function on a mere four hours of sleep a day and just be sweaty.
It’s amazing what kindness and compassion can do at a festival, and all I can hope for is that this same energy carries to the real world. Cheers to a stellar weekend and many more weekends on The Farm to come!