Bonnaroo 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the Tennessee music fest, which features a surreal roundup of influential artists—from hallowed hit-makers to old-school royalty, and everything in between. However, the antics onstage hardly compare to the madness off—the grounds have become synonymous with sex, drugs, and hippie shuffling. Complex City Guide reporter Lauren Otis will be forgoing sleep and hygiene to go live on the ground and blog from the bonna-fied event. Come on feel the noise.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This Tent, 10:58 p.m.
Though they’ve undoubtedly caused equal amounts of confusion and frustration for intoxicated festivalgoers over the years, I thoroughly enjoy the clever stage and tent names, which are kind of a heady play on “Who’s on First.” Your favorite artist could be appearing in “This Tent,” “That Tent,” or “The Other Tent”—or alternately, on “Which Stage” or “What Stage.”
‘Roo creators probably laugh their asses off watching lost friends on the phone trying to find one another.
Centeroo, 10:50 p.m.
Centeroo, as the name indicates, is the epicenter of the festival’s grounds. Like a carnival, there are vendors for days, all housed in different tents, each hawking some quirky kind of merchandise or “experience.” In addition to your standard henna and funnel cake stops, there are places to nab full body massages, craft your own conga drum, pass out in a hammock (I noticed nappers taking full advantage of this), and even get your hair done by a squad of Garnier stylists, assuming you don’t mind the fact that the humidity will have you looking like Don King minutes after. There’s also a red-lit tent urging guests to come in, hang out, and “take a Sheet.”
Sheets, as I learned from a press kit I received before the festival, are sort of a weird cross between Listerine breath strips and Red Bull, and they are no joke. I was pretty skeptical about the idea of an “energizing breath strip,” but figured it couldn’t hurt to pop one to see if it’d help me perk up after a draining day in the car. I have no idea what kind of speed they secretly mix into the formula, but my eyes felt like they were about to spring out of my head. I was ready to run laps, do jumping jacks, rush mosh pits and start banging people around. Proceed with caution.
Mushroom Fountain, 11:00 p.m.
Of all the bits of advice I’d received from Bonnaroo vets, the one I seemed to hear most frequently was “STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THE MUSHROOM FOUNTAIN!” Aside from frolicking and noodling, fest hippies apparently did all sorts of other unmentionable things in the water, which in turn got recycled and dumped right back out on the heads of more naïve individuals just looking to cool off.
I maintained my distance. God, it looked refreshing though.
Click to the next page to read about Lauren's encounter with Donald Glover.