I'm currently in Manchester, TN, for my third Bonnaroo experience. Unlike Rachael, my excitement for Bonnaroo does not translate into the kind of anxiety that requires me to curl up in the fetal position or overrun the falafel vendor. That is because I now know that Bonnaroo is a game of survival. To get the most out of it, you have to be prepared. Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, granola bars, sweatshirt for chilly evenings, good attitude, phone charger... read press bios in advance, know the line-up, walk around like you own the place...
Here's a recap of previous experiences.
2005: Helped distributed 8,500 copies of the magazine across the site; walked 132 miles (rough approximation) to get across the site and distribute said magazines. Discovered Sweetwater Beer. Lost phone... this would be the first of many times this happened in my adult life. Saw Iron & Wine for the first time and had a quasi-life-changing experience.
2006: Took a year off. Still shuttering from memories of Bonnaroo 2005 and subsequent exhaustion.
2007: Went for 36 hours but did way too much in those few hours. Camped and discovered a whole new world called Tentaroo where people miraculously wander back to their tents while on substances of various origins. Waited 3 hours to see Flaming Lips and watched people around me pee in the grass to avoid losing their coveted spots in the front of the crowd. Allergy attacks (big attacks). Mistook John Paul Jones of Led Zep for John Bell of Widespread Panic (big mistake).
So that brings us up to speed. Last night I interviewed Lez Zeppelin, which does not make up for my mistaking Led Zeppelin for Widespread Panic, but it's a step in the right direction.
Can't wait to see what this year holds.