Friday, June 16, 2006

Bonnaroo or Bust

After a nine-hour drive to Manchester, the small Tennessee town which plays host to Bonnaroo every year, we had to find a place to park our RV for the night. Check in opened at 7 a.m. on Thursday and we wanted to find a place close to entrance so we could get an early start. I remembered that Wal-Mart is RV-friendly and there is one about 300 yards from the check-in area, so that's where we headed. When we pulled into the parking lot, Beth and I were both taken aback by the spectacle: maybe 100 RVs and an estimated 1500-2000 people milling about, playing music, partying, sleeping (some even in tents). After we found a place to park, all we were interested in was checking out the RV's sleeping accommodations -- but our neighbors had other plans. So, after a short night of interrupted sleep, we rose to greet the first day of Bonnaroo. Upon receiving our passes, we proceeded to the campground to get the RV situated. Guest camping is where they put the press who want to stay on site, and so we're in same area where bands and others associated with the Festival in some way. The one good benefit to this is that we are very centrally located to various stages, much better than most of the other campers. Composite of some of the sights from Centeroo - photo by Beth Forester After getting the RV set up, we walked around a bit to get our bearings, heading through the area known as Centeroo. This where you'll find the vendors in an area called the "Bonnaroo Market," "Planet 'Roo" where you can learn about the Bonnaroo "greening initiative" (there's even a solar-powered stage) and the "Sonic Village" which features the Sonic Stage, a small stage for artists to come and play a few songs, answer questions from the audience and sign a few autographs. There is also the AT&T Blue Room where you can mix your own playlist and burn it to CD. This year, there is even a ferris wheel for concertgoers to ride to get a birds eye view of the place. A lot of the vendors were still getting set up, so after a thorough walk through we headed back to camp to try and relax a bit before the evenings shows started at 7 p.m. --- by Pat Dodd

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