Music Festivals: The Hot, The Dusty and The Muddy.
**Just found in my drafts, written on August 10th, 2011. Fun to see how things have changed for the last couple years and some instances have not changed at all. I have now attended Bonnaroo 3 years in a row–making the switch to an RV was key. Since this post I have also added another year of Lollapalooza, attended Coachella for the first time and shot my first festival in Alabama–Hangout Fest. What can I say, not only do I love live music but love the experience a festival provides**
It is no secret I like two things…no LOVE two things: music and concerts. Summer is heaven for music lovers like me because not only are bands going on their summer tours, playing at outdoor venues but there are the music festivals–whether it be for 1 day or 4 days. Being a Chicago resident I have attended Lollapalooza the last 2 years but I wanted to explore new fests. Last summer I was able to go to Denver Mile High and in the past have attended others like: Country Stampede, Wakarusa, Bleeding Kansas, Summerfest and Austin City Limits.
This year I was determined to finally make it Bonnaroo (http://www.bonnaroo.com/). To sum it up: it was an experience. It is located an hour outside of Nashville, TN on a 700-acre farm in Manchester. It feels more like moving in short-term than camping the way the campsites are broken into neighborhoods with names like Camp Han Solo. For those who can’t deal with camping or 90+ degree weather this festival is may not be for you (unless you can splurge for the air conditioned RV). This was one of the first years I heard that didn’t have a lot of rain which equaled lots and lots of dirt in the air and on your feet (face, hair, you name it). However I think it was all worth it; the variety of bands, people and overall experience certainly made the post-dirt bronchitis worth it.
I was also able to attend 2 of the 3 days of the Dave Matthews Caravan out in the Southside of Chicago. I loved the music and the proximity of the stages; sometimes with bigger fests it can be a hike for people to get from one stage to another. My one complaint would be the actual event site; it is later going to be a building site so the ground consisted mostly of rocks and dirt. No site of grass to sit down on, however they tried to compensate by laying down mulch as a cover up. Needless to say it was quite entertaining to see women in high heels to try and navigate the boulder-sized rocks.
Last but not least: Lollapalooza. This year I only went the last day because I was originally going to the 311 Pow Wow festival in Live Oak, FL. It wasn’t my favorite of the last 3 years; the torrential downpours did take me back to my first year. Due to all the rain Sunday at the festival, the ground was more of a mudslide than anything. The great thing about (most) festival goers is that they embrace the rain. Going to an outdoor, all-day event you have to expect the chance of bad weather and Lollapallozers either ran to take cover or ran face first into a sea of mud. Sets were delayed and the second downpour came just as the Foo Fighters were 3-4 songs into their set but it was still a great day of music (and mud).
In the future I hope to get to attend more festivals like South by Southwest, Coachella, Stagecoach, Snowball, Rothbury and many more.