Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bonnaroo Part II: Back By Popular Demand

Day One Continued

A and I arrive at an open field with staff members in neon T-shirts and hundreds of cars.  We pass a white tent where some of the staff...kids in neon sunglasses and polka-dot nail polish sit smoking cigarettes and talking to each other.  We've taken a back way, avoided the main highway and cut off hours of waiting in line.   No scalpers, although we ask a staff member about tickets and they say haven't seen any but that they'd 'totally scalp that shit if they needed to'.  The ticket trailer is on the right.

We trudge down the field watching cars get checked for drugs, glass bottles and weapons.  Some local sheriffs pull cars over at random for inspection and we hope our drug carrying friends aren't chosen but are secretly glad we aren't in the car.

Once we get to the ticket tent they tell us that the credit card machine is down and A is worried that I haven't taken out enough money for the festival if I have to pay the full price in cash.   A plump and perky gate-keeper wearing a fanny pack throws us a sympathetic smile and says it'll be half and hour.  I want to pay but A wants to keep looking and we reach a middle ground.  We'll just pay cash if our friends (still in car queue) get to the admission field before the machine is up. So we sit in the grass and look and observe the surrounding melange of people.  Commenting on tattoos and cars and the half of the sky that has gone ominously gray.

Then the downpour.

A is a slow person.  By that I mean she's the southern type of slow that is very deliberate and sometimes it seems like she's moving through water rather than air.  But as the rain comes down she sprints to a staff tent and gains us general admittance and cooler seating while we wait for it to pass.  There's a pile of illegal contraband beside us: butcher knives, vodka handles, and a salad dressing bottle I felt safe to assume did not contain any type of legal vinaigrette.

The rain only last 15 minutes but when we walk back toward the box office we see hybrids and pick-ups alike being pushed out of the mud by staff members.  And everyone is dirty and wet but no one is mean grumpy probably because at this point we're so close we can feel the vibrations of music playing in the distance.

When I get back to the Box Office I notice A is looking for something and realizes she's forgotten something.  She's running back.  A skinny kid in a graphic tee with tattoos on most of his visible body and more rings than anatomical holes in his face approaches me.

"Wanna buy a ticket for $ 200?"
"Uhh...well...uh...I think I should just wait for my friend"
I notice he's wearing the wrist band they give you after they scan your ticket.
"Yeah, I just need to sell this real quick and then get walking back.  My buddy got caught with weed.  I mean the cops took him away in handcuffs so now I gotta try and sell this and get back home."
I don't believe him.
"Yeah the staff members told me they'd watch my stuff and that I should try and sell the ticket over here"
I start to believe him.  A gets back.  I explain and she says to go for it.  I'm not convinced, so I walk with him to the staff member and ask about the story.  She says its true and another one says, "If your gonna buy it right now I can scan it for you."

It's real and 5 minutes later I'm running at A with a wrist band. I'm down 200 instead of close to 300 and with enough cash to buy.  A's bought a legal tickets and we agree to split the difference.  And then our friends arrive and we pile into the backseat of the 4 door pick-up to find our camp site.

The Camp Grounds:

There are port-o-potties.  And I cannot stress to you how much I wish going to the bathroom was as much of an option as showering.  We drive into a field that is quickly filling with 'Roo-ers'. Masses of people are unpacking.  There doesn't seem to be any parking method but as we approach the crowd I see haphazard rows being formed at an awkward diagonal.  The method seems to be: two cars and then camping space, two cars then camping space.  We park trying to create as much space as possible between the two cars but a staffer urges us closer no our game and calling our hand.  We start unpacking.  M thought of bringing a flag and has somehow manages to get some of our underage neighbors, who have a collapsable pole duck-taped to their car, to hoist our flag.  It's glosses surface gleams in the burning hot sun and waves in the useless breeze.  Ironically it's a man on skis but conveniently bought from the shit-we-need-to-get-rid-of box at Walgreens, or Walmart or something comparable.

On Setting up a tent:

So I'm a city kid.  And I went to camp but nerd camp and sports camps were at colleges and normal kid camp had cabins.  This summer I was convinced to camp out (for a day) in Greece. It was on the beach and it was awesome. But I have never had to put together a tent or bath in a bucket or use port-o-potties for 4 days.  So (for me) setting up camp was fun.  We threw tarp as far as the hipster staff would let us and we claimed territory.  By six we were making dinner on some portable gas burners.  We look at the schedules I've anally printed out and plan the night which would be late, long, and loud.

TBC...

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