"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ROOing the days...Bonnaroo 2013

It's that time again!  The 2013 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is here and we were in attendance for our fifth time to this amazing event.  Thanks to the solid music line-up that was announced and the fact that single-day passes were sold for the first time, the tickets went fast and furiously.
Thursday, June 13:  We packed up the pop-up camper and met up with our friends, Wayne and Mike, who were attending their first Bonnaroo this year with us and headed to Manchester.  Traffic was a breeze and we got right in and had camp set-up by early afternoon.
Our Camp Bonnaroo came complete this year with a flag pole and this ultra-cool tye-dye flag that our friend, Wayne created for the occasion.  Well done, sir! - photo courtesy of Wayne Hutton.

Into the fray....the line to get into Centeroo from the camping area on the first day was long but moved well as people were anxious to start their long weekend down on "the farm."

BELOW:  The first good musical performance we saw this year was JD McPherson who channels his inner-Little Richard pretty well into modern original music that gives great homage to the beginnings of rock-and-roll back in the 50's and 60's.

Friday, June 14:  Day 2 of The Roo was packed full of music and fun.

Kicking off the day with a strong noon performance was Bernhoft, a native of Norway with a voice full of soul and an amazing talent for music.  A big part of his show is his live looping of percussion and rhythm guitar or vocals which basically turns him into an amazing one-man band.

BELOW:  One of the big surprises of the day was the California band, He's My Brother, She's My Sister, who we were gonna just stop by and see for a few minutes on our way to another stage and wound up staying for their whole set thanks to their amazing energy on stage and excellent music skills.

A fish-eyed view of This Tent's bustling crowd during the afternoon show by Glen Hansard (of The Frames and The Swell Season fame).  His solo show featured songs from both of those previous endeavors as well as some new stuff delivered beautifully and passionately as always by this fiery Irish busker.

The food is always great, always interesting and always affordable at Bonnaroo.
Next up for us and a great way to end the day was with the legend himself, Sir Paul McCartney.  His show was fantastic at 2 hours and 45 minutes (not bad for a 70-year-old!!).  He covered tons of Beatles tunes and a good amount of his catalog with Wings.  Next to Springsteen's 3-hour-plus show a few years ago, this was one of the best performances we've ever seen on the big stage at Bonnaroo.  Below is a smattering of the classic mop-toppers "8 Days a Week."

Besides tons of numbers with a full band, there was a big section of the show with just Paul and his guitar.  Amazing stuff.
Saturday, June 15: We didn't have to do a lot of walking today since the first four shows we wanted to see were back-to-back in That Tent. We had some sore feet by the end of the day, but it was well worth it.

Leading off the day were Two Gallants from San Francisco.  We caught a little bit of their show a few years ago on a smaller stage and were very impressed.  Their move up to one of the bigger tent stages this year seemed natural and worthy.  They had a big crowd for an early show and put on an excellent performance.

BELOW: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls were the only band we had not seen before today and they turned out to be a great surprise to us.  Evidently we are behind the times because they drew a huge, exuberant crowd as the short video below will attest.  Their on-stage energy was contagious and Turner's soulful (and witty) lyrics were quite enjoyable.  We will definitely be seeking these Brits out again when given the chance.

Nashville and the state of Tennessee was well-represented with the always-solid Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors taking the stage next.  We have become big fans of these guys over the past few years and their popularity is seeping beyond Music City now with some of their songs showing up in TV shows and movies.  The band is headed by singer/songwriter Drew Holcomb and his lovely raspy-voiced wife (and recent mother to their first child), Ellie.
The crowds swelled out in the sun as the day moved on but we were content in the shade of That Tent waiting on our last (and most anticipated) performer of the day.

As the sun set at our backs, we enjoyed a front-row view of the legendary and first real alt-country performer (in our opinion), Dwight Yoakam and his spectacular band.  Yoakam's  Bakersfield, California, sound has been basically shunned by Nashville for many years  but the troubadour keeps on keeping on, and sounds as good as ever.  It's been several years since we've seen him live and we remember now why we love him so much.  What a great show!
This incredible day was supposed to be capped off on the big stage by one of our favorite live performers, Mumford and Sons, but, unfortunately, they had to cancel their show due to an illness in the band to bassist, Ted Dwane, involving brain surgery to remove a blood clot.  The good news is that Dwane came through the surgery with flying colors and will hopefully be back soon enough that we can catch them down in St. Augustine in September for another one of their "Stopover Shows" like we attended in Bristol last year (see previous blog).  Filling in last minute for the boys from North London was the always laid-back, Jack Johnson, who has graced the big stage before (at our first Bonnaroo actually) and did a fine job this year despite such a short notice.  Besides all of his hits (your forget how many he has until he starts rolling them out) he even did a decent cover of Mumford's "The Cave" and a great little ditty he wrote earlier in the day describing his sudden change from a "low-pro" appearance at Bonnaroo this year just sitting in on a friend's late-night set to climbing up on the huge What Stage to anchor Saturday night of Bonnaroo 2013.  Well done, sir, and well done, Bonnaroo, handling the adversity very smoothly.

Sunday, June 16: We packed up our campground this morning and went and took in a little bit of bluegrass and a visit to the Broo'ers Festival Tent to try some great beers (see Rob's beer blog for more info on that).  After some threatening weather in the early afternoon and the first really hot temps of the weekend, we reluctantly opted to head back early instead of staying late into the night to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers close out the festival.  Bonnaroo usually closes out with some jam band that we could care less about (Phish, Widespread Panic, etc.) and it makes for an easy decision to leave early, but Cousin Tom is a different matter and we regretted not catching his show, but back home and exhausted at 9 PM, it seemed like the right idea since they would just be taking the stage.  Another time, Tom, another time.  (Editors note:  thanks in hindsight to Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors for covering two great TP&TH songs in their set at least to give us at least a hint of what we missed.)

That Tent became "The Bluegrass Situation" on Sunday with bluegrass performers scheduled all day including the immensely-talented, Black Prairie, and off-shoot of The Decemberists of which three members play in this band.
Another great and memorable Bonnaroo is in the books for us.  Thanks so much to our friends, Mike and Wayne, for going with us and being great sports with camp set-up and hanging out and watching the music we chose and like for the most part.  Can't wait to do it again next year!!

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