By Steve Bloom
I safely landed on Planet Roo yesterday night at 22:00 after an easy trip that started at New York's La Guardia Airport, continued to Nashville Airport and then a swift drive south to Manchester, where I snuck into the site with not as much as one iota of a traffic jam. And that was not due to short or long cuts. I simply blew down I-24 and pulled over when I saw the Holiday Inn Express across the road. That's where guest and media bracelets, and a guest parking pass (entitling entrance to the guest camping zone) were awaiting me. The parking attendants waved me through, right under a beautiful shade tree. Too lucky! I set up my new Eureka tent and took a walk into the main concert area.
As kismet will have it, I immediately ran into High Times grow guru Danny Danko. I reversed directions and followed him back into the campground, where he made a b-line for HT podhead Aaron Strebs' camp. We celebrated with a joint and beers, then headed in the direction of music. We stopped for awhile to admire the pretty ladies known as Gypsy Hands Tribal Belly Dancers, who were doing trippy things with fire, backed up by a guitars and drums on the Solar Stage.
Planet Roo is actually a section of the massive Bonnaroo landscape - an eco-neighborhood if you will. That's where I located Sundance Solar, my oldest best friend Ed Bender's company. He and his team drove down from New Hampshire.
He said there's been a bud shortage since he arrived on Wednesday, so we turned him and his crew on to a joint and some hash. We caught up on old and new times, then I headed back to try out my new, improved tent.
As is usually the case when I camp out for the first time in a while, I didn't exactly sleep in. By 6:30 am I was restless. By 8 am I was showered (yes, guest camping has warm showers!) and ready to start posting.
First stop today is the press tent, where Bonnaroo publicity poobah Ken Weinstein will orient us. This is my 2nd Bonnaroo (my first was in 2004), so I pretty much know the lay-out and the drill. Bands will come and go for interviews throughout the day. Mostly, I'll be roaming the field, sampling music from the five main stages - much like I did at the New Orleans Jazzfest back in April. Bonnaroo is actually based on Jazzfest's multi-stage model. Add a huge campout to the mix and a wider range of rock styles and you've got Bonnaroo.
Here's my list of bands I plan to see (for at least a few minutes) today. Highlights are in bold:
12:30 World Party, Bettye LaVette
1:45 Seu Jorge
2 pm Ben Folds, Donavon Frankenreiter
2:30 Davendra Banhart
3 pm Steel Pulse
3:15 Mike Gordon & Ramble Dove
3:30 G. Love & Special Sauce
4 pm Bright Eyes, Nickel Creek
5:15 Ricky Scaggs & Kentucky Thunder
5:30 Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Oysterhead
6 pm Cat Power & the Memphis Rhythm Band
6:15 Death Cab for Cutie
8:30 Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
11:45 Hot Buttered Rum
12 am My Morning Jacket; Umphrey’s McGee > Disco Biscuits;