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Bonnaroo 2011: Day 1… And 2

After twenty hours, and what felt like a million miles, we finally made it to Great Stage Park for Bonnaroo. In the morning, we reminisced about the festival kick off, and analyzed the day’s lineup. From what we heard, J. Cole blew everyone’s mind, unfortunately we were over at The Other Tent posting up shop for Sleigh Bells. We weren’t the only ones—people continued to swarm in after The Drums finished. Sleigh Bells finally started half an hour late, but we were disappointed to be pounded with an overwhelming amount of bass, to the point where we couldn’t even make out Alexis Krauss’ voice. So, we gave ourselves a break and headed over to That Tent to catch The Walkmen finishing their set. It was a good decision, they rocked hard, and we appreciated it. We had to call it quits afterwards—preservation is key at Bonnaroo, sleep even more so, especially since Friday boasts such a fun lineup. We passed out to the sounds of Beats Antique, but not before pausing outside Centerroo to listen to the end of Sleigh Bells, who sounded fantastic once the fence was blocking the bass.

We started Friday off with an OurStage (and personal) favorite: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They were up against Matt & Kim, who we love (we just chatted with Matt on the phone, look out for the Q&A), but Grace provided hours of hippie dancing, and more importantly, great people watching. Wearing a lace caftan which she quickly whipped away to reveal a printed mini, Grace danced barefoot like an animal. Overheard: “I want to marry her.”

Next, we caught a bit of Atmosphere, who almost “called in sick.” “Hey Bonnaroo,” Slug said in his hypothetical phone call to the president of Bonnaroo, “I’m not gonna be able to make it into work today. I’m gonna be way too f-cking hungover.” When the crowd started booing, his response: “Don’t boo me, I’m here. I’m not booing you.”

Next we were off to catch Ray LaMontagne, who actually hates performing on stage and usually hides in the shadows of the stage, so we were excited to see him play at 6:15 PM when the sun was shining. He did his best though, standing way off to the right off the stage, less than 10 feet from the wing and facing across to the left, not daring make eye contact with the hundreds of fans singing along. After a heart-breakingly beautiful “Jolene,” an awkward “thank you, thank you very much,” and he was gone.

We headed back to basecamp to pound a burrito and rest up for Arcade Fire. But, as we walked out of Centerroo, we could hear Florence (and her machine) wailing “Dog Days Are Over” as fellow passerbys sang along.

Overall, there seems to be less heat this year (knock on wood) but more people. Rumor has it over 100,000 tickets were sold, and general admission sold out a few weeks ago. Not everyone is as well prepared as we are though—a fellow camper slept with a towel as a blanket and a hackey sack as a pillow last night. But at Bonnaroo, to each their own.

A few more deets: It’s so dusty here people are wearing bandanas over their faces. It’s like living in a real life Hipstamatic print. Also, the light in the giant balloon marking our camp (Roger Murdock) isn’t working, go figure. On a sad note, a woman was found dead today outside her tent. Dehydration, heat and drugs are all being considered as probable causes. If you’re here, be sure to drink water, and then drink some more. More to come about Arcade Fire‘s headlining set and Lil Wayne late night. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter—we’ll be tweeting all weekend long!

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