From 30+ hours in the car to a spectacular peeling sun burn and little less than 10 hours of sleep for four days Bonnaroo 2011 was nothing short of one of the best times of my life. We left for Manchester, Tennessee mid-day in a Tahoe packed to the brim with 6 peoples’ luggage, food, tents, sleeping bags and of course the drinking essentials. We arrived Thursday afternoon after only getting stuck in traffic for 45 minutes compared to everyone else who had 6 hours plus. Someone had to be looking out for us at that point because I don’t think I could have sat any longer crammed in the back seat with all our stuff. Yes, I got stuck in the back seat with all the stuff that couldn’t fit on top of the car.
After arriving it was like a tornado of people piling out of their cars obviously not rookies like us. All of our neighbors had their tents and spots set up before we could even get out to stretch, it was no joke!
Once everything was set up including a canopy for shade, must needed, we got ready to hit Centeroo this was where all the stages were including the Stub Hub Tent, the Big A** Water Slide, literally what they called it, the Fuse tent and the Comedy Theater.
The first concert I saw was J. Cole who was recently signed by Jay-Z and he absolutely killed it. I could not have wanted to kick off the four day festival any other way. The stages where set up all around Centeroo but named in the most confusing ways possible. Organizers of Bonnaroo defiantly were having some giggles with the naming. Besides the two main stages, Which Stage and What Stage, all the other stages were under tents. So you had This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent.
After kicking it off with J. Cole I got to check out Sleigh Bells and Deerhunter. Thursday night was an early one or at least the earliest night of the trip. We had to rest up for the big next day.
All day, Friday had great music including Atmosphere, My Morning Jacket, Primus, NOFX, Bassnectar, and Arcade Fire just to name a few but it was Friday night that I could not wait for. I was so torn because Big Boi, who I had to see, was on one side of Centeroo starting at 12:45 p.m. and all the way on the other side Lil Wayne started at 1:30 p.m. I was not going to let this stop me though. I was determined to see both so I ditched the group and posted up for Big Boi. I was front row and caught most all of his show including my favorite song of his new Sir Luscious album “Follow Us,” feat VonneGutt who actually came out to perform with him.
By far Big Boi’s performance was one of my favorite but I was off to sprint the whole Centeroo to catch Lil Wayne, the one and only! Lil Wayne’s performance was epic. He had some of the best back ground graphics I saw the whole festival. Lil Wayne also performed new music and I will tell you this you can’t wait until it drops!
There was no way to catch all of the music going on so you had to make your plan and catch what you could. On Saturday I had my route planned out. I started the afternoon off after a couple of runs down the Big A** Water-slide, fantastic, while watching Alison Krauss & Union Station.
After Alison Krauss I headed straight to get in the crowd for Wiz Khalifa I was not missing him for anything. Wiz Khalifa’s performance was amazing he performed a lot of tracks from his Taylor Made Gang which is where he started then got into songs off his ‘Rolling Papers’ album that just dropped. I loved everything about his performance until I caught a glimpse of Amber Rose, his girlfriend right behind him on stage. Really, I was just jealous:)
The following act after Wiz was The Black Keys whom I knew of but not that well. Once they started I was just in awe these guys could jam and when I say jam I mean freaking rock. The drummer of The Black Keys was one of the most impressive performers I have ever seen.
The Black Keys rocked it and set the stage for the next act which was the one most everyone had come to see, Eminem. We had already been standing for nearly 6 hours and had 3 more to go until Eminem was coming on and there was no getting out of where you were standing there was so many people. Eminem’s performance was so heart felt and powerful. He introduced Bad Meets Evil which is himself and Royce who have had their own beef over the years but have put it behind them and just rocked the stage!
Overall I can not tell everyone how great the experience was it was something of a lifetime but I can say if you ever get the chance to experience Bonnaroo a music festival of this diversity and popularity is not one to be missed.