Checking in from Bonnaroo: 'This place is bonkers'

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Bonnaroo beacon
Bonnaroo beacon (MPR photo/David Safar)

Hey Gang!

We made it to Bonnaroo! When we were planning this trip, we decided we could make it a more fun and bonding trip if we drove the 13 or so hours down south. The Current's marketing hero, Matt Perkins, and our music director, David Safar, joined me on the adventure.

We left early Wednesday morning on a caffeine high and decided to spend some time in St. Louis. David has a friend in the city, and we all took a look at the Botanical Garden, grabbed an awesome burger at Range, and went to a basement venue called Firebird to check out Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

After taking the obligatory family picture in front of The Arch, we moved further south to Nashville. It's not only Bonnaroo time, but the Country Music Awards, so we pulled into town on a wave of cowboy hats and embroidered button-ups (Bill DeVille would have been proud). We made a quick pit stop at legendary record store, Grimey's, waited for Jack White at Third Man Records (who, unfortunately, never showed up), and checked out Barista Parlor, a coffee joint co-owned by Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.

A few more hours in the car, and we reached our final destination: Bonnaroo. The sun was setting as we pulled in to the temporary city in Manchester, Tenn. where glittering lights and a disco-ball tower welcomed us into the living LSD trip. This place is bonkers. We were immediately surrounded by flower-crowed pixies, guys dressed as Christmas trees, topless hula-hoopers, you name it.

Oh, and there's music here! We walked in just as Houndmouth were performing their big hit, "Sedona," to a crowd yelling it back to them. Our excitement about Rock The Garden next week drew us to Courtney Barnett's stage show, which she kicked off with "Lance Jr." Trust us — she does not disappoint. Benjamin Booker had the audience hypnotized at The Other Tent. He closed with a rocking cover of the folk staple, "Little Liza Jane" and everyone clapped and sang along. We wrapped up night one with a dance party courtesy of Jungle; the British duo brought out their ever-expanding band and immediately tore into dance-club bangers. The choreographed moves on stage weren't able to be mimicked by the crowd, but the throbbing wave of people moving to the beat seemed to energize the already hyperactive band.

We'll be covering the festival all weekend long. Follow @TheCurrent on social media for more of the story.

Listen to The Current on Friday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as Jade broadcasts live updates from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

2 Photos

  • Fountain at Bonnaroo
    Fountain at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)
  • The Other Tent at Bonnaroo
    The Other Tent at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)

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