Bonnaroo’s a Blast For Heat Bravers

Although it was a four-day festival, there wasn’t peace and quiet yet on day five of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The music ended in the wee hours of Monday morning with the sounds of Widespread Panic, but the campgrounds were still inhabited hours later by the tired and dirty groupies who had been there since Thursday. “Nobody wanted to go home,” said David Thomas, an annual attendee of the event. “We were worried we wouldn’t make it back to Gainesville in time for class Monday.”

The Santa Fe Community College student stayed behind to catch the Sunday headliners The White Stripes and Widespread Panic. The 80,000 allotted tickets were oversold and this year was of the most successful festivals said Ken Weinstein of Big Hassle Media.

Bonnaroo takes place every year on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. (scroll down to watch Regina Spektor sing John Lennon’s “Real Love” at Bonnaroo 2007). The main stages and tents — dubbed “Centeroo” — were surrounded by camping and day parking to accommodate all the guests. The tents housed comedy acts and music performances.

This year, a new tent was added for creative filmmaking. Filmmakers in Focus featured screenings and interviews with some of the most creative minds in filmmaking today. Sneak peeks for new shows were shown there as well, including a sneak peek for HBO’s new show featuring the comedic act Flight of the Conchords.

Live performances in the comedy tent featured Dave Attel, David Cross and Comedy Central comedian Demetri Martin. One of the main attractions at the festival was the performance of Tool on Friday night. The band is known for their outstanding visuals, and a large crowd was drawn in to feel the vociferous sounds that shook the ground.

Spectators were far from disappointed with a surprise guitar solo by Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello in the Tool song “Lateralus.” “It really blew us all away,” Thomas said. “Nobody knew that was going to happen, and it was exactly what everyone wanted to hear. I have never heard a crowd cheer that loud.”

Thomas said he had been to three other Tool shows including last summer’s performance at Coachella, a festival in California. The other major attraction was the much-anticipated reunion tour of The Police. The Police performed Saturday night, kicking off bands such as Gov’t Mule and The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne, lead singer for The Flaming Lips, said this was the smoothest Bonnaroo yet because of the great weather. The farm stayed dry almost all weekend, only raining lightly for a few minutes Friday evening.

But festival attendees would have liked to see a little rain. It was extremely hot, reaching temperatures in the high 90s, and the dryness kept a haze of dust around scuffling feet. Contemporary singer and songwriter Regina Spektor couldn’t help but worry about her fans. She advised those watching her set to drink lots of water and use sunscreen.

Although the heat was blazing and sunburns were prevalent, fans continued to come out, day after day, to shop the many tents and see the shows. “There are just a bunch of really helpful, fun people here,” Lily Allen said in a press conference. Allen is a vocalist who attended her first festival at 5 weeks old. She performed at this year’s festival as one of the headliners.

“Even when I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to be a part of this environment.” For those at this year’s festival, being covered in dirt and sweat for the weekend was all for the music. Not being able to shower for days and living in the hot sun wasn’t all that fun for Thomas. But he said he would do it again because, “Bonnaroo was just that great.”

Article courtesy of the Independent Florida Alligator of the University of Florida

YouTube: Watch Regina Spektor sing John Lennon’s “Real Love” at Bonnaroo 2007

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