There’s Bonnaroo; and then there is the rest of the year. Written on 06.18.13
Every June from 2008 through 2011 and again in 2013, three friends and I made a pilgrimage to Bonnaroo to enjoy four days worth of music, beer, and friendship. There is something magical about being at Bonnaroo. It is a place dislocated in time and space, a sort of dream state where the responsibilities of waking life cannot penetrate. In this world of throbbing music, swirling currents of people, and quiet moments of relaxation; our friendships were renewed in ways that can’t easily happen in the short encounters of a couple of hours at best that usually constitutes time spent with friends.
During those years, Bonnaroo was a way I marked time. Making the journey to “The Farm” in the fields outside of Manchester, Tennessee was an annual right of passage, something I thought would be a part of my life for years to come. But our projections about the future are rarely accurate.
Life has had other plans for my friends and I, and we have not returned to “The Farm” in four years. The pop-up camper whose air conditioned interior where we retreated from the hot Tennessee summer has been sold, the roar of the gas powered generator that lulled us to sleep at night silenced. Still, when the heat of the middle of June rolls around, my thoughts always return to Bonnaroo, no matter where in the world my body might be at the time.
With each passing year, there are fewer and fewer bands whose names I recognize listed on the line-up. But for me, Bonnaroo was never really about the music anyway. It was about four aging men getting to spend a long weekend pretending that they were young again. Someday, with deeper wrinkles and perhaps an even greater appreciation of how precious time is, I hope we return to Bonnaroo again.