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Oh music festival, how I await thee

June 02, 2011

     I looked over to them, smiled & said “Alright… the jam is just starting” we all nodded and our feet started wiggling again in a strange rhythmic formula.

     Seeing 70+ world-class bands in a weekend isn’t just a festival, it’s an experience. One is really justified in binging on such diverse music. Sip on a stirred martini glass of acoustic fun, go take a shot of some hip-hop, a completely shaken double hard-rock on the rocks, or just chug a late night session of electronic music. It’s all for the taking.

     Next week I will be jamming, dancing, rocking-out, learning, & researching my 9th music festival.

Just in case you were curious:

·      Rock Werchter (Belgium 2006)

·      Langerado (Big Cypress, FL 2008)

·      Harvest Of Hope (St. Augustine, FL 2009)

·      Bear Creek (Live Oak, FL 2009)

·      Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee 2009)

·      Wanee (Live Oak, FL 2010)

·      Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee 2010)

·      Bear Creek (Live Oak, FL 2010)

·      Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee 2011)


     This year the festival happens to be sold out being Bonnarooooooo's10th anniversary and all… There is just something so pure and rich about live music.

     It’s my 3rd festival celebrated in Tennessee in a row; there has to be a reason for the 14+ hour drive, the 100° and up hot sticky sweaty heat, and the lovely Porto-potties that everyone just seems to forget how to use for that weekend. What’s the answer? Music. Want a more in depth answer? Live music.

     Look at the list above; I’m addicted, literally. Once I discovered the phenomenon, I just couldn’t stop feeding it. Just picture: for 3-4 days in a row, you get to wake up and say, “Hey, what do you want to do today?” “I don’t know see some amazing music?” ß That’s why it is all worth it. The free love and let loose style of everyone is nothing without the core: music. When that jam starts on any song and it defies the notion of “radio friendly, stay-within-three-minutes” barrier, we get schooled every single time on the idea of music being turned into cookie-cutter nonsense. When I leave a festival I realize how much good music there is out there and it’s a straight lightning jolt to my passion. I go on and my newly sponge soaked brain seeps into different barriers while I witness music experimentation live.

     Just one little example - When I was first at Bonnaroo 2009 one of the first bands I saw were: White Rabbits and at the end of their single as the set closer ‘Percussion Gun’ I saw 3 more drum sets brought on stage and I got the warm fuzzy feeling that I was about to see something special. For the next 25 minutes I saw this percussion behemoth explode unto my ears with sweet sprinkled goodies. Every member of the band was  playing percussive drums making it sound like a stampede from Jumanji was going to burst through the curtain…and I was hooked. I’ve seen them 4 times since and what a pleasure to see this innovative syncopated African drum rhythm inspired band rock out.

     During the festival each day is seen as two phases, day & night respectively. The day is usually more toned down and dedicated to bands that can rock without the crutch of a lightshow. You could find yoga-inspired music or some roots reggae, or if you’re lucky enough to see These Guys jam on the stage for a couple of hours. Just bring your blanket out. lay with your loved ones and just stare at the musical notes as they flow so gracefully from one to the next. Then the sun sets… Phase two: the costumes come out, the light sabers turn on, the birthday cake hats are worn, and most important in the definitive split between day & night, the light show. Call it crazy hour or just crazy all the way; it’s a new world at a festival when the night creeps in. The music gets louder, the people get more rowdy, and the artists get a little more… funky. When there are no noise complaints possible and time isn’t such an issue we have the ability to just seep into any of the music that we choose. Our entertainment is set from beat crazy DJs to electronically based jam bands and they know that they must levitate us off of the ground. In the entrance of any festival we forfeit the notion of being “weirded out by anything” and we just turn into a humbled crowd of children eagerly waiting the onslaught of fun. We get hypnotized by the different lights and almost in trance we look to each of our festival brethren and smile.

     Before we know it the sun slowly creeps up in front of the moonlight and we try to squeeze in at least three hours of sleep before those lovely tunes make us want to dream while were awake gazing off into the sky.

     Oh, music festival, how I await thee… I can’t wait to be on the other side and be given the opportunity to mesmerize, electronify, & solidify some music craziness in front of a lucrative open audience.




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