After running into Anthrax backstage at Mayhem Fest, I needed to run out to the parking lot to meet up with King B and ingest another beverage of choice. The gates had just opened, and Mayhem Madness was in full effect. A sea of black poured through the festival grounds at an overwhelmingly high rate of speed and spread throughout the parking lot strewn with stages and tents.
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival has always been an interesting festival to cover. The interest does not exist solely within its lineup, but within its people. Metalheads have always been pigeonholed as falling with a very common stereotype. However, as I pulled into the parking lot, you’d think that you wandered into a Dave Matthews tailgate. Sure, the target demographics may be a bit different, but people were still out jamming to their favorite tunes, cooking up some serious BBQ, sharing their favorite beverages, joking and laughing. Sure, metal may be raucous, angry and hardcore, but the bottom line is… People are out just to have fun (besides the meatheads that hit the moshpits just to throw fists at faces or the backs of their heads.)
While King B was on his way over on the train (not The Train) from Philly, I met some lot neighbors who were there, rockin out with their kids. And these kids were pure rockers! One never knows who or what they’ll experience at a fest, and this year presented me with a sneak preview of music’s future. Our nice lot neighbors fired up their BBQ while we were serenaded by the soothing sounds of Slayer. As we shared a cold beverage or 3, I noticed that the guy’s 10 year old son looked like a mini rocker, so I called him over to discuss music.
“Hey big guy… Who did you come to see today?”
“(Cue devil horns) SLAYERRRRRRR!!!! Man, they’re the best. I’ve seen them about 10 times!”
“Ten times? Sounds like you’re a huge fan! You look like a serious rocker! Do you play?”
His dad (rocking a fresh tattoo and who was previously in a band) said, “He’s a drummer in a metal band that formed through The School Of Rock. You should really hear him play. These kids, though young, are incredible. His double bass skills are badass!” It was awesome to see how proud his dad was of his son. Too often you see these boisterous parents who brag about their kid’s prowess in sports or in school, but this kid found his niche early in death metal, and his dad couldn’t be more proud.
We chatted for quite a long time while we snacked on killer cheeseburger, and all went for a walk along the side of the festival talking about the bands of the day. He stopped dead in his
“Can you get me to meet Slayer? I’ve always wanted to meet them!”
“Keep your eyes peeled. One thing about Mayhem Fest is that I’ve seen most bands just wandering through the crowd at any given point in the day. I can’t get you backstage to meet them, but maybe they’ll be doing a signing at their tent today!”
It turned out that they were doing a signing later that day, and hopefully the little rocker got to meet his musical idols. Seeing today’s youth interested in subjects other than video games and sports is an awesome thing, and adults as a whole need to foster and embrace a child’s interest in the arts, no matter if it may be of your own personal interest or not.
Beverages and downtime finished… Time to return to the festival site and shoot The Devil Wears Prada! More to come…
Over the past nine years, Bonnaroo has notably evolved from a jam band fest to an all encompassing music experience. Was it difficult for Bonnaroo to stray from its jammy roots, or was it a prudent business decision to move in the new direction? MTT has been to the past four Bonnaroos in a row, and we’ve certainly witnessed firsthand the progression that the festival has made.
Personally, I embrace the changes in band bookings. Admittedly, I’m not the largest jam band fan in the world (I can only take so much noodling!), so the evolution in booking has been welcomed in my book. With the noticeable increase in attendees this year, many others must also embrace the changes. However, in the past few years, we’ve spoken to many jam band purists who feel that Bonnaroo has “sold out” when they turned their back on keeping it jam-centric.
Stagnation of music on a huge festival level is a killer. I like Widespread Panic, but just how many times can they close a festival? Phish closing Bonnaroo out in 09 was excellent booking. They may have played two nights, but their lasting energy helped the burnt out Bonnaroonians to power through the last night. This past year, Dave Matthews Band closed it out on Sunday night. Talk about a college kid magnet… Bonnaroo has successfully avoided musical stagnation by smart and diverse booking.
From The Dead, to Phish, to Panic, then to Jay-Z. Is this a strong progression? I feel that it is. Actually, I feel as though Mr. Carter’s (Jay-Z) performance at Bonnaroo was one of the best performances (visually and sonically) that I’d ever seen over the years at the festival.
People may argue that 2010 was the least strong headlining roster yet, but how can one ignore the very strong number of supporting acts on the bill! The dilemma for most people is whether a festival should have amazing headliners, and the rest would just fall into place, or if the fest should have many good undercard bands. What are your thoughts on the situation?
With a change in music, a festival will also see their crowds differ greatly from year to year. Bonnaroo 2007’s crowd was significantly different than 2010’s crowd. In my opinion, I feel that gone are the days of calling Bonnaroo a purely “hippie festival.” Sure, there are plenty of “hippie” types, but being a trust-fund hippie does not count as living the “hippie” lifestyle or wearing the “hippie” styles.
On Sunday evening, there was a man who looked very hippie-ish (dreads, a beard, very haggard looking) and was holding a sign saying that he had to bike back home a few hundred miles after the festival. The sign said that “anything would help.” One cannot avoid the very nomadic lifestyle that many true hippies decide to involve immerse themselves in, but he looked as though he had partaken in quite a few “recreational” activities throughout his weekend. Those activities don’t come for free! Is it really worth biking a few hundred miles to a festival where they spend more money being in an altered state than knowing how they’ll be getting home? Those choices never made any sense to me. Many would say that I’d understand if I lived that lifestyle, but I don’t.
As time progressed in the life of Bonnaroo, the bookers have brought in a more eclectic roster of bands, including a very heavy dose of college/indie rock. Thus, Roo has been inundated with a flood of people that wouldn’t have necessarily attended the inaugural Bonnaroo. Bands like Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Kings of Leon, The Police, and even Metallica have headlined over the past few years. There have been smatterings of jamminess with the likes of Phish, The Disco Biscuits, The Mars Volta, Widespread Panic and more, but they are becoming fewer and farther between these days.
“Recreational” activities have certainly made an about term with more and more college drinking games sprouting up all over the farm. (We’re guilty as well. We rock our pro beer pong setup every year.) As a result, the General Stores at Roo have been charging 8 dollars for a pack of ping pong balls. (Come the hell on.) As we walked around the farm, we saw some great games and activities being enjoyed by walks of all life. This fortified the fact that Roo is not just a music festival, but it is a living experience of what each person makes of it.
So what’s my verdict?
Sorry hippies… (or “hippies”) Your scene has been overrun by a different generation of concert goers, and I definitely welcome the change. If Bonnaroo would remain musically the same over the years, if would have no plan of growth. I do feel as though Roo can use a bit of a Centeroo Facelift (the addition of the Lunar Stage was both genius and needed), but musically, Bonnaroo is making the right steps to a continuous musical progression.
Keep your fans on their toes, and they’ll be even more intrigued year after year; no matter what social status they may fall within. However, if there’s one thing for certain, the farm will always be saturated with the scent combination of patchouli, B.O. and dirt.
Kings of Leon. Daryl Hall and Chromeo. Tenacious D. The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon. Kid Cudi. The Crystal Method. Steve Martin. Conan O’Brian…. Are you kidding me? Bonnaroo’s Friday was super jam packed with amazing acts throughout the day.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Kings of Leon. I do like their newest album, and a few other tracks, but had never gotten into them like B has. “Kings of Leon is going to melt my face,” B said. Hey, at least they’re not Dave Matthews… Oh. Wait, they’re here too. Oi. On the other hand, I’ve been very intrigued by the odd pairing of Daryl Hall and Chromeo. Hall and Oates is a band that you tend to forget about the legion of hits that they had put out over the years, until you hear them and think, ‘oh yeah… they wrote that too!’
So, back to the festival… The heat has been brutal, the people have been crazy, and the music has been superb. Friday’s action was non-stop with Conan O’Brian kicking off the day to thousands of people. No, not just the lucky ones who made it into the tent, but to 10,000+ people watching him on the Lunar Stage screen. It didn’t make any sense that he didn’t perform on the main stage. His crowd would have been larger than Chris Rock’s. Conan’s show was a mix of music and standup, which would have gone very well on a large stage. Oh well. The Train isn’t the show promoter.
Nas and Damian Marley tore it up midday. They had a solid balance of solo songs as well as tracks off of their album. We then swung over to She and Him, which had an enormous crowd. Zooey can definitely sing her ass off. There was a great chill vibe flowing through the crowd. Maybe it was the huge green cloud surrounding the tent.
Later, we headed to the Tenacious D set. I was a bit skeptical about how they’d sound live, but they certainly proved me wrong. The Kage Man and Jack Black can tear it up. The show was extremely high energy, and the whole crowd was very into it. Jack can sing much better than I had originally remembered. I was extremely impressed with the entire show.
Next up were B’s boys, Kings of Leon…. (To be Continued)
Damn it, it is great to be back on the farm! We finally made it down to Manchester, TN after a long ass drive from Philly. Although I despise driving in cars for a long time, King B and I made the best of the trip. The weather was a bit gloomy, but it was nice and cool out… Therefore highly raising our comfort levels.
We figured that we’d “fly” to Manchester, and find a bar to watch game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Our boys, the Orange Crush aka the Philadelphia Flyers, were playing in game six. Well, we underestimated our arrival time, and ended up streaming the game on my iPhone. (No, I wasn’t watching the game while I was driving… Just listening) The Flyers ended up losing on a shitty goal, which ended in one of the most sloppy ends to a season ever. (Shit happens. We’re Philly after all)
Finally, we got to our yearly destination of the Manchester Walmart, and it was MOBBED. Beyond mobbed. I haven’t seen the parking lot that packed in the four consecutive years that we’ve been here. Usually, we’d crack open a few beverages and join in on the festivities, but we decided to skip that part, and just go shopping for our supplies then pass out for a few hours by the Bonnaroo Radio Station (Fantasy 101).
Mobs of people were already in line at 6am for Will Call and to pick up their credential. Again, there was a much larger amount of people in line than I’d ever seen. Was this a portent of things to come? Did Dave Matthews and Kings of Leon triple the attendance for Bonnaroo 2010? We’ll see very soon.
After we headed out on the road towards the farm, we were excited to see that traffic was flowing very quickly. Maybe the Manchester Police finally had their shit together so the line of people would flow much more smoothly. As soon as we got to the point where we’d start filing into the farm, we were directed down I-24 and away from the farm.
‘Maybe we’re just going to a different entrance this year.’
We could feel ourselves getting inside of the Bonnaroo gates in record time. Looking around, there was an enormous line to the left of us. ‘Maybe there’s an alternate entrance on our side of the road. There’s no way that we could be part of that line.’ Finally, we arrived at the back of the line. An hour later, we moved maybe a mile. ‘Oh shit. We’re low on gas!’ Eventually, we decided to get out of line so we wouldn’t be stranded. Flying down the road, we were amazed to see that the line kept going, and going, and going, and going… FOR EIGHTEEN MILES! Yes. 18. On the wrong side of the road.
Was the Manchester Police sending people totally away from the festival? After all, the one officer told us that they had such traffic problems that they were forced to start a different pattern. Finally, we fueled up and hit Subway for key eats. There were several Bonnaroonians there who looked pissed off and confused. They told us that the line on our side of the road was doing a huge loop around to the other side. ‘What the fuck is going on??’ If we didn’t get out of line when we did, we definitely would have ran out of gas. As a matter of fact, we saw at least 3 cars being pushed in line. I wonder where those people are now!
Making a long story a bit shorter… We got back on the road doing 80 and flew towards the gates. Team Excelsior doesn’t fucking lose, so we got in. Quite quickly. Honestly, I’d be very surprised if the people in the back of line (where we started) had made it into the grounds by 3am. It was THAT long.
Once we got into the traffic checkpoint on the grounds, everything went very fast and smoothly. Honestly, it was even better than years past. At least Bonnaroo had their shit together!
So to everyone that sat in line for hours and hours and hours… Our hearts truly go out to you. Next year, the Manchester Police has to have a much better plan, or else Bonnaroo is going to suffer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roo loses a few thousand people next year because of this debacle. You can’t blame Bonnaroo for this major organizational mishap, but heads have to roll somewhere. The festival dumps tons of money into the local task forces and communities, so they need to treat all aspects of the festival like gold..
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments on the site. We’re looking forward to reading them!
Next: On to better things… Thursday AT Bonnaroo!
Single Day Tickets for Mile High Music Festival
Available for a Limited Time Only, and Only at www.kbco.com
On Sale Beginning Saturday, May 8 at 10am MDT
Mile High Music Festival’s 2010 Lineup features Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson
Weezer, Steve Miller Band, My Morning Jacket, Slightly Stoopid,
Atmosphere, Phoenix, Train, Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley,
Jimmy Cliff, Keane, Bassnectar, Cypress Hill And Many Others
August 14 and 15
On The Fields at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Mile High Music Festival announces the release of Single Day Tickets, only through radio partner KBCO’s website, and only for a limited time. Single Day Tickets will be available for $97.30 (with no additional fees or charge) beginning May 8 at 10 am MDT, through May 31 at 6pm MDT, at www.kbco.com.
Now in it’s third year, the Colorado festival returns to The Fields at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on August 14 and 15. Headliners Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson will be joined by more than 40 diverse acts including Weezer, Steve Miller Band, My Morning Jacket, Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere, Phoenix, Train, Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Keane, Bassnectar, Cypress Hill, Z-Trip, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Drive-By Truckers, Railroad Earth, Ozomatli and many more. Visit www.milehighmusicfestival.com for the complete lineup.
A relative newcomer on the national festival scene, Mile High Music Festival has already become a summer tradition for Colorado residents and for music fans from coast to coast. The festival grounds, with its remarkable views of the Denver skyline and Rocky Mountain Front Range, is the perfect backdrop for this diverse, lively, and distinctly Colorado music and arts festival.
2010 Mile High Music Festival Ticket prices follow. No additional charges or fees apply!
Mile High Music Festival Single Day tickets will be available for $97.30 for a limited time (May 8 through May 31 at 6pm MDT) only at www.kbco.com .
Two Day Passes are on sale now for $175.00 while supplies last. Once this price level of tickets are sold, the cost will be adjusted to $200.00 for a two-day pass. Two-day passes available at www.tickethorse.com.
VIP Passes, Hotel Packages and Layaway options are available. Visit www.milehighmusicfestival.comfor more information.