People that have never been to music festivals may think it's an easy, thoughtless experience. You just show up and party. Well, that's somewhat true. But it takes endurance.
Eighty thousand people gathered across a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, this past weekend for the 13th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
Locat art car/driveable stage Kalliope teamed with Bonnaroo this year as an after-hours stage for dance music and as the sound system for the World Cup.
Kalliope is an "art car," an old automobile that a Phoenix-based team, The Walter Project, converted into an impressive sound stage and performance vehicle. Equipped with lights, state-of-the-art audio capabilities, and more, it's a mobile party box, and it attracted its fair share of attention. At night, Kalliope wooed not just the DJs the Walter Project brought with it to perform, but national talent as well.
Skrillex performed a surprise sunrise set Sunday morning. Quickie Mart performed earlier in the night.
Bonnaroo is an experience. This was my first time ever heading to The Farm, as they call it, and I have to say it's unlike anything I've ever done. I'll use Coachella as a point of reference, because I feel like more people in the Valley have been to Coachella, and it's the closest thing to Bonnaroo we have in America.
Coachella has nothing on Bonnaroo, not only when it comes to the heat and weather conditions like humidity and rain, but when it comes to it's immense size, performances and overall vibes -- Bonnaroo is all about the positive vibes -- "radiate positivity" and high-fives being a common theme of the festival.
If a person can be completely happy after waiting eight to 10 hours to get into the festival, getting two hours of sleep each night, being covered in a layer of sweat and grime while engulfed in the aroma of feces baking in portable toilets -- that says a lot. Drugs definitely help. I don't do drugs, but I definitely spent a lot of my time in the beer tent, and I'm not sure how much I could have endured without being slightly drunk throughout most of the weekend.
Kalliope sat almost parallel to the festival's main entrance, where the nostalgic Bonnaroo arch seperates the nearly lawless campsites from the festival stages, and Centeroo, the festival's main marketplace and "downtown," if you will.
Her (and yes, Kalliope is female) warm colors popped out in contrast from the tall, lush trees that bordered the festival grounds behind her.
Stage right laid Food Truck Oasis, which was a cluster of food trucks (similar to Food Truck Fridays downtown) from the South. The trucks filled the air with scents of Tennessee barbecue and Virginia angus beef.
Stage left was a water slide and just beyond that, The Other tent, which featured music from acts like Disclosure, Break Science and Frank Ocean throughout the weekend.
If you're unfamiliar with Bonnaroo, the event features five main stages cleverly named: What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent and The Other Tent -- not confusing at all.
During the day Kalliope provided the sound for a giant screen that played the World Cup.
People in jerseys set towels on the grass in front of Kalliope, or sat in the shade on one of a dozen picnic tables. Fans brought flags raised on poles that stood high above the large crowd. One man ran around the crowd shouting and holding a flag. The scene was similar to that of bar, there were frequent "ohs" and "yeas" accompanied by a steady rumble of fan commentary.
During the day Kalliope's spirit seemed like it was sleeping.
Once the sun set, and Kalliope's lights kicked-on, the party started on the stage. She entered the night calmly with smaller crowds and a lighter sound, both of which increased throughout the night and into the early morning.
By midnight, Kalliope was in full-blown party mode, playing from Friday night until sunrise Saturday morning, and from Saturday night until about an hour or two after sunrise on Sunday morning. People brought their craziest dance moves, glow toys and unicorn masks. Nothing was off limits.
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