"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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Warming Up for and Then Plunging in to Bonnaroo 2014

We did our best to prep for Bonnaroo 2014 with a couple of memorable pre-festival activities: 

Friday, May 30 - Sunday, June 1:  We geared up for the balmy, summer weather with a visit to the great outdoors via nearby Center Hill Lake for the weekend.  Our thanks to our friends, John and Monique, for inviting us up for John's 50th birthday celebration which included lodging in a sweet house near the lake, great food throughout the weekend, a day on the lake in an awesome rented double-decked pontoon boat, complete with slide, plenty of libations and an overall fun time.  Of course it would be nice if Bonnaroo had the cool, clear waters of Center Hill Lake to jump into whenever you wanted.

Sunday, June 8 -We got a dose of some great live music just before Bonnaroo started with a visit to 3rd and Lindsley to catch one of our favorite new artists, LP, whose first full-length album, Forever For Now, just dropped earlier this week.  She was the guest artist on our local indie radio station, Lightning 100's Nashville Sunday Night  live broadcast.  Opening the show was a wonderful, young, locally-based talent, Guthrie Brown and the Family Tree.  This bandleader is just 18 years old, but has a lifetime of talent already.  Look for him on the rise in the future.  The same should be said for LP whose soaring voice from such a petite frame is a treat to see and hear live.  Below is just a snippet of her amazing talent and this does it nowhere near due justice:

"But Rob never wants his picture taken" says Ashlee to LP after her show when she graciously hung around for pictures and autographs.  That statement prompted a big smile and a hug for me from the artist as well as unexpected pinch of my cheek.  Too funny.  My answer was simple..."yeah, but I love LP."


Thursday, June 12 - We met up early with our past-Bonnaroo pals, Bridgette, Wayne and Mike, and headed to Manchester for the organized mayhem that is "The Farm."  This is our 6th almost-consecutive year of attendance to the festival while only missing 2011.  Our sweet campsite this year was very close to the Centeroo entrance.  Maybe too close with the thumping music most of the night from The Other Stage just 100 yards away through the trees.  But that's what Tylenol PM and two shots of whiskey before bed are for!  We had tons of room to set up camp with Bridgette now having a pop-up camper as well, plus the added privacy of the tree line to our south.
The first music of the Roo for us was The Unlikely Candidates at the small Miller Lite New Music Lounge.   They were pretty good and as lead guitarist, Brenton Carney, shows with his big grin, they had a great time playing The Farm for the first time. We followed that up with some Afrikan beats from Ogya over at the Solar Stage.  It had been a long day, so Ashlee turned in early while a caught a few other acts.
The weather cooperated swimmingly throughout the festival for us with very little rain and two unseasonably cool days to start off with.  The heat was back on Saturday and Sunday, but it wouldn't be Bonnaroo without it, now would it?

Friday, June 13 - Friday the 13th at the 13th Annual Bonnaroo with a full moon....what could happen, right?

We awoke late and after a leisurely (and always delicious) breakfast whipped up by Ashlee, we started to hear St. Paul and the Broken Bones at the nearby Other Tent.   We caught a few more of their tunes from inside but couldn't get much closer than our campsite it due to the huge crowd.  The inordinate number of general admission tickets being sold now at Bonnaroo has become a big problem.  All the stages are packed now and it's hard to get a good view of the shows without camping out well beforehand and then if you do that you take the chance of being crushed by everyone crowding in as the music begins.  This could seriously be our last Bonnaroo or we might try a single VIP-day which we discovered they are selling now.
  It's Big Sam on a much BIGGER stage!!  One of our favorite small-time bands, Big Sam's Funky Nation, played the biggest Bonnaroo stage there is this year with an early-afternoon opening set on The What Stage.  The crowd loved them and they were spot on as usual despite the massive  and intimidating backdrop.
The Broo'ers Tent was packed with folks escaping the sun and looking for beer.  We were no exceptions.  We even stuck around for a surprisingly interesting talk from some folks with Wood Chuck Cider that included lots of free tasty samples and some cool swag.  Ben Howard provided the background tunes at the nearby Which Stage.

The largest (and strangest) new addition to Centeroo this year was "Hamageddon."  His name is evidently Henri and he's the ultimate smoker of delectable meat.  He was part of the new "Baconland" which we enjoyed in the food area.  Not sure of his staying power at the Roo with all the vegan-style hippies roaming around but our sandwiches were awesome.  And followed that up with an Amish doughnut each with John and Jacob playing nearby
As the evening wore on we caught a little of Andrew Bird at This Tent and a little of The Head and the Heart at the Which Stage.  And then we wasted of  45 minutes of the beautiful evening (and our lives) checking out tonight's headliner, the ultra-stupid Kanye West.  What an idiotic and talentless rube.
The night was beautiful despite the ho-hum musical performances we saw.
The full moon was brilliant and nothing weird happened (to us at least).

Agreed.  He should have never been asked back to The Roo.
Saturday, June 14 -  We woke up late to some broiling temps and this fact prompted us to go make two runs on the Big-Ass Water Slide.  It was hoot!  Why haven't we done this before?

We caught a short set by the great-sounding Jamestown Revival at the Solar Stage just before our reserved BonnaROOTS Dinner which was set up on the grounds in front of the same stage.
We had a great time at The BonnaROOTS Dinner which consisted of four courses made all from Tennessee-grown products including the herb garden here at Bonnaroo.  With Grouplove playing in the background at That Tent, it was a pretty nice evening on "The Farm."
It was on to see a good portion of Lionel Ritchie's set on the main stage after dinner.  We were able to wind of way down pretty close to the giant stage.  For a "senior citizen" Lionel put on a whale of a show with tons of hits from his solo career as well as classics from his days with The Commodores.  The short video below is a clip of one of our all-time favorites.

Jack White was the headliner of the night and while obviously talented, the eccentric guitarist/singer is not really our cup of tea.  We stayed for about half his show before turning in for the night.

Sunday, June 15 - We slept in late again.  Had another wonderful Ashlee-prepared breakfast and then  packed up camp.  We caught a good amount of Capital Cities' set on The Which Stage followed by an awesome (and festival best) set by Fitz and the Tantrums that afternoon to finish our Bonnaroo experience for this year.  We opted not to stay for the headliner, Elton John, since we had seen him before and he came kind of late for us souls who had to work the next day.

Mingling with the huge crowd at the Fitz and the Tantrums show on the Which Stage.
Below is a short clip from their energetic show during their feet-stomping hit, "Money Grabber."

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