Color from Thursday at Bonnaroo (#AVLroo!)

Thursday at Bonnaroo is a bit like a dress rehearsal. Everything is up and running, but much of the crowd, myself included, is exhaused from driving through the night to set up camp. So things don’t really get going until late, and the music ends early (by Bonnaroo standards). Nonetheless, a day at a Bonnaroo “dress rehearsal” is still packed with memorable moments. Here are a few from yesterday.

1) Almost being run over by a truck.
Navigating the Bonnaroo pathways is treacherous. Golf carts and other four-wheeled vehicles carrying staff and artists share the same narrow, crowded paths as pedestrians. Close calls are frequent. In this instance, my Bonnaroo weekend was almost ended abruptly by a truck driver who came within inches of hitting me at 20 miles per hour. Closest call I’ve had in the five years of coming to the festival.

2) The Walkmen.
These New York City natives put on one of the more epic shows I’ve seen this year at the Grey Eagle. Surprisingly, their stoic brand of indie garage rock was even more powerful in an open-air tent for the enormous Bonnaroo crowd.

3) Guys filming the mudhole.
There’s no way around it. The two guys I saw secretly filming people fall in and lose shoes to the hidden mudhole near That Stage last night were jerks. But, as a passive observer, there was something undeniably hilarious about the whole scene. At least six people fell victim in the 10 minutes I was there, and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that it was funny every time.

4) Golf cart joyride.
Some friends of mine, to remain unnamed, procured a golf cart after their bosses went to bed, and half a dozen of us went for a 2 a.m. cruise through the stage compound and outer campgrounds. That experience included stumbling on an unofficial rave, officiated by a DJ in what looked like a mobile food truck, and a girl who offered to (and later did) shoot spitwads at the passersby of our choosing. Proof again that there’s no predicting who or what you’ll encounter at Bonnaroo.

5) The doppelganger game.
If ever there was a place to people watch, it’s Bonnaroo. Staring is unavoidable, and picking lookalikes for common friends and celebrities is an excellent way to pass the time with campmates in the downtime. Think real-life “Where’s Waldo?” with a rotating cast.


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