So I've entered the 'real world' finally, though it's not quite the 'real world' most twentysomethings dread. I've been very lucky to end up back at the magazine and its been a really exciting time to be there. But there's a lot of work involved too, as apparent by this week. After only being on the job four days I set off on my first business trip... to Bonnaroo.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Bonnaroo, it's a weekend music & arts festival in Manchester, TN. Picture a Dead Head, "frat daddy," middle aged music freak, and hippie chick sitting in a tent. It's like a bad joke really. Now add a muddy field, the stench of port-a-johns, organic food vendors, and 74,496 people... if not for the most important part of the equation you'd end up with a tye-dyed wonderland. That missing quotant is good music, so much in fact that 7 stages and 4 days were required to accomodate the lineup.
The team from work set out to get out 10,000 magazines to the crowds, and worked our butts off to do so... we ended up distributing 8,500 -- that means 1 in 10 people got a copy of the magazine... it's a new record! Carrying those boxes was quite a workout, but it was really rewarding to see more people with Paste than pot.
In between working the crowds I got to see some awesome acts though, especially on the stage near our station. Shows I caught included Joss Stone, John Butler Trio, OAR, Blue Merle, Brazilian Girls, Mars Volta, Rilo Kiley, Iron & Wine, Matisyahu, Modest Mouse, and Trent Dabbs. The best selling act at the CD store over the weekend was surprisingly Matisyahu -- if you've not heard of him before, you have to go investigate right now. He's a Hasidic reggae rapper and it's no schtik -- he's the real deal. The man can beat box and mix in scripture at the same time. My coworker and I saw him Sunday morning outside his tent in the VIP section, reading and praying -- it was a pretty cool sight to see something so calming in the middle of festival craziness.
I finally got to see DMB after all these years, so now I can die with one less regret. I didn't stay too long so I could get back to work, but did hear some classics like Too Much. I knew it was time to leave when I stepped to my left in the crowd and heard a metal 'clink.' I looked down to see a backpack on wheels. Only after a few minutes did I realize that it wasn't a backpack, but a gas tank. The dude next to me was filling up balloons with nitrous oxide and inhaling them. It was pretty messed up. When I became surrounded by 15 and 51 year olds smoking pot, I got the gist of the DMB experience and went back to work.
Best moment of the weekend was the Iron & Wine show backstage. It's a good thing I don't recognize celebrities and musicians because I hate the idea of being "that girl" -- you know, the one who stares dumbfounded at artists, maybe works up the courage to say something unimportant in passing... that's in the past, during my Sugar Ray days. But I did recognize some artists this time around -- Rilo Kiley, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Amos Lee or else his lookalike... I was at the side of the stage when Sam Beam came down before his encore, and watched him kiss his daughter. A firefly went by me at that time and I thought, how freakin cool.
Didn't get a lot of sleep, and lost my cellphone in the mud (so you can't call me for awhile), but had a great experience overall. Learned a lot about the festival circuit. I'll leave you with the funniest thing I heard all weekend. It came at 10am on Sunday morning from a combination Dead Head - frat daddy. He came by our booth, scratched his head, and looked at the magazine. When offered one he said, "I woke up this morning with one of those in my pocket. No idea how it got there.... But I like it. The CD is cool." Rock on, bra.