Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mapping Out a Bonnaroo Schedule

I'm having a rather hard time planning out a well detailed schedule. It seems as though most people just kind of go with the flow at these types of things, wander around and let their ears do the walking for them. I'm just not like that.

With my two Bonnaroo experiences, and one Austin City Limits experience, I have gone about each one in different ways.

At Bonnaroo 2005, my first major music festival experience, I knew a lot of the bands I wanted to see (namely the more famous ones and headliners like Dave Matthews, Widespread and Trey Anastasio) and I had heard other bands name's thrown around, bands that were starting to make it big (My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon, Umphrey's McGee). I also went with a large group of people, at least ten of us, so there were certain times where we felt better if we stayed together as a group. I did wander around alone a few times, feeling the need to explore I guess, as it felt like for the first time in my life that I was completely alone and lost in this world. I even ended up getting lost for four hours after the Trey Anastasio late night show, trying to find my way back to my campsite. It's not easy picking out your tent at four in the morning, when all of the tents are literally packed together. Truth be told, I didn't find my tent until the sun had come up.

In 2006, I went with a few people, via plane, to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which is set up entirely different than Bonnaroo. First off, the music ends at 10 pm, unlike Bonnaroo, where it often lasts until the sun comes up the next day. The great thing about Austin though, aside from it being the live music capital of the world, they do after shows in a ton of the clubs downtown. Secondly, you stay in a hotel and get to take a shower, making it feel like you're living in normal society. At Bonnaroo, you sleep in tents, and are woken up at seven or eight o' clock to an already scorching sun. They have since installed showers at Bonnaroo, but I'm not paying $7 to take a shower. I may smell a little funky, but at the same time, so do tens of thousands of other people. Showering would also kind of take away from the experience. As for the music schedule at ACL, the bands play for shorter times and it doesn't seem like there is much overlapping as there is with Bonnaroo.

Going back to Bonnaroo in 2007, I decided that it would be best to see as many bands as possible. I ended up catching forty-two bands over a four-day period, although most of that happened to be a song or two or three from each. I did catch a few completely full sets, like Wilco and String Cheese Incident, and there were a couple others that I saw at least half of their set. After the festival had ended, I kind of regreted not seeing more complete sets, but at the same time, I felt amazed with all that I had taken in, in such a short amount of time.

When this year's schedule first came out, I thought, "okay, I'm going to see fewer bands, that'll give me more time to focus on what I want to write about them. I'll be able to write and review a full complete set, rather than just write about a couple of songs I heard, before I pack up and go check out someone else."

Then I got to thinking, "I've got a media pass. I should again see as much as possible, because I'll have much more to write about."

It's impossible to see everything at Bonnaroo, as I'm sure you can imagine, but it's not impossible to see forty bands over a four-day period.

The plan is, to update my blog during the morning's inside the Media Tent. I'll have all morning long to get access to a spot where I can hook up my laptop. It's the largest music festival in the country, so I can't even imagine how many media personnel are going to be there. Everyone from Rolling Stone, MTV and Fuse, to the smaller alternative weekly paper's like CityBeat, and all the way down to the smallest of media, such as myself.

I'm told that if I do a good job, both before, during and after the festival, I'll have a better chance at getting a media pass again next year. So, I kind of have to look at this like it's a one time thing. I may never get this chance again, so I have to kind of look at it like it's a dream come true. I mean, that's exactly how it feels.

So, following the plan of updating the blog in the morning's and any other down time, here's what exactly I plan on doing. At some point during Thursday (June 11) afternoon, I'll be checking in on the blog to tell you about the ride down, the traffic, setting up camp, checking out the festival grounds in the middle of the afternoon, as well as giving you a preview of what bands I'll be seeing that day or night. I've already got a plan of what bands I'd like to see, and I'll stick too it as closely as possible.

I won't be updating during the shows, unless my laptop will work without anywhere to plug it in. I'm not sure how long the batteries will last, but it doesn't sound like a great idea.

So during all these shows, I'll be taking notes on who I'm seeing. Everything from the crowd atmosphere, the music they're playing, and even the thing's I see walking around the festival grounds. I may even get a few interviews during my time there, so they'll be more on that later, as details get more clearer.

The next morning, I plan on writing about the previous day, as well as writing the preview for that particular day.

Here is the proposed schedule of band's that I'll be seeing and covering at Bonnaroo 2009:

Top Picks are in bold


Erick Baker - 5:15 pm - This Tent
Alberta Cross - 6:00 - That Tent
Delta Spirit - 7:00 - That Tent
Hockey - 8:15 - This Tent
Portugal. the Man - 9:00 - That Tent
Chairlift - 9:45 - This Tent
The Low Anthem - 10:15 - That Tent
Passion Pit - 11:15 - This Tent
Midnite - 12:15 am - Other Tent
Tobacco - 1:00 - Troo Music Lounge


Katzenjammer - Noon - That Tent
Gomez - 12:30 - Which Stage
Dirty Projectors - 1:30 - That Tent
Animal Collective - 2:45 - Which Stage
Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate - 3:30 - Other Tent
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 4:45 - Which Stage
Grizzly Bear - 5:30 - This Tent
Al Green - 6:00 - What Stage
TV on the Radio - 6:45 - Which Stage
David Byrne - 8:45 - Which Stage
Phish - 11:00 - What Stage
Girl Talk - 2 am - That Tent
Paul Oakenfold - 3:00 - This Tent

Friday notes on bands I'll be missing:
I don't plan on seeing the Beastie Boys, I've never really been into them, so there's very little interest to catch their set, even though they are one of the biggest names on the bill. Al Green is a soul legend, and although it's always nice to see a legend, I wouldn't feel depressed if I missed his set.


Elvis Perkins in Dearland - 12:30 pm - This Tent
Heartless Bastards - 1:30 - Which Stage
Booker T & the Drive-By Truckers - 3:00 - Which Stage
Bon Iver - 3:30 - This Tent
Gov't Mule - 5:00 Which Stage
Wilco - 6:00 - What Stage
The Mars Volta - 8:00 - Which Stage
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - 9:00 - What Stage
Ben Harper & the Relentless 7 - 1 am - Other Tent
MGMT - 2:30 - That Tent

Saturday notes on band's I'll be missing:
Booker T (another legend) will have what I think will be an amazing show, with his new instrumental project with the Drive-By Truckers as his backing band. Most likely, I won't get another chance to ever see this collaboration again, but with this set being so close to Bon Iver, I'm not willing to take the risk. Bon Iver and his album (For Emma, Forever Ago) is one of my favorite artists/albums in quite a long time, so there you have it. I've seen Gov't Mule probably close to ten times, I lost count, but seeing them again won't really feel special. I'm sure I'll see them, I'm sure they'll have some great covers and guest appearances thrown in, but they just don't deserve to be one of my top acts of the day. Maybe they'll prove me wrong. The Mars Volta. What can I say about them? I just don't get it. May check them out to see what all their live performance hype is about.


AA Bondy - Noon - Other Tent
Mike Farris - 1:00 - Which Stage
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - 1:30 - Other Tent
Citizen Cope - 2:15 - Which Stage
Brett Dennen - 3:00 - Other Tent
Erykah Badu - 3:30 - What Stage
Andrew Bird - 4:15 - Which Stage
Okkervil River - 5:00 - Other Tent
Band of Horses - 6:30 - Which Stage
Phish - 8:30 - What Stage

Notes on band's I'll be missing on Sunday:
Snoop Dogg. He's alright I guess. But he's not that great. The biggest schedule conflict/disappointment of the weekend. Andrew Bird vs. Okkervil River. Bird actually goes from 4:15-5:45 and Okkervil from 4:30-5:45. Not happy about this at all. I could catch a bit of each, but I'd rather see all of each. Not sure what I'm gonna do. Both bands were probably in my top ten or fifteen to see.

Once again, there's forty-two bands. Maybe I should knock it down to around 30? I might just do that.

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