Bonnaroo Buzz

20 06 2010

When we landed at Bonnaroo, I thought, ‘this is very similar to Vancouver Folk Festival – I know what to expect.  It’s just bigger’.  Well, this experience was nothing like my experience at Folk Fest.  Not because it didn’t have a lot of different stages with an eclectic mix of music.  And not because it didn’t have thousands of people flocking together, where bathing suit tops, sarongs and flip flops were the dress code.  And definitely not because it didn’t have a delicious assortment of vender food and a huge assortment of jewelry, clothes and other arts and crafts to be sold.

It was so different because we were ensconced in the artists area, away from the masses.  And here, we were able to meet the people who put the whole festival together and see how things really work.  Here we met the sponsors, the hospitality crew, the bartenders, the volunteers, the production and camera crew, artist management, etc.  Really, we met all of the important people.

And what we realized was that everyone takes care of each other and here is where you get opportunities to see things and experience things you never thought that you would.

Years ago, at my very first Vancouver Folk Fest I watched Michael Franti & the Spearheads perform a long ways back from the stage.  And it was one of my favourite Folk Fest memories.  At Bonnaroo, I had the opportunity to watch the performance from stage left.

Jay-Z always puts on a good show.  But standing on an elevated stage left platform beside Stefan (from the Dave Matthews Band), a few feet away from Stevie Wonder, and across the stage from Beyonce, looking out at a sea of people as far as I could see, made a HUGE difference.  It took me a while to come down from that Bonnaroo Buzz.

Watching the Zac Brown Band perform on the elevated stage left platform also gave me the opportunity to notice that one of the guys just so happened to be wearing a Rocawear t-shirt and button up woven.  Guess our gifting worked!

And we just had to stay to see the Bonnaroo Finale – Dave Matthews Band performance.

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Nothing in life is free

20 06 2010

Our role at Bonnaroo was to provide a cool lounge for artists to hang out in.  “Cool” not only because we had custom couches, flat screen tv’s and DJ Hero, but also because we kept the lounge at a “cool” 70 degrees with our handy dandy air conditioning units.  And, when outside is almost 100 degrees with high humidity, 70 degrees is a breath of fresh air.

We also welcomed all of the artists that performed at Bonnaroo to come in for a gifting opportunity for some free swag, which came in handy when people were looking for something new to wear onstage, OR something dry to wear after they finished performing.

But, as you know, there’s no such thing as “FREE”.  Our price:  autographing 2 t-shirts (one to be donated to Bonnaroo and auctioned off for charity and the other for the Rocawear office) and taking a photograph.  Not too steep of a price for a free outfit.

Needless to say, everyone loves free gifts and we had a chance to meet some very cool people.  As you can see from the shirts above, many many many people stopped by.  Comedians Jeffrey Ross and Andy Richter stopped by, as did some of the guys from Dave Matthews Band, Trombone Shorty (you may have seen him on HBO’s Treme) and Big Sam of Big Sam’s Funky Nation.





Bonnaroo

19 06 2010

Welcome to Bonnaroo!  A music festival that takes place on a farm in the middle of Tennessee and draws 85,000 people.  4 days of music, sunshine, humidity and dirt.  So…pretty much get used to feeling hot, sweaty and dirty, because that’s just what happens at a music festival at a Tennessee farm in the summer.

People were camped out in the Walmart parking lot and the HUGE traffic line up to get onsite was expected and rather than get frustrated, people used it as a bonding experience and the party started in traffic.  Apparently, the locals are not fans of the crowds that roll into town (locals call them ‘Woogies’) but Wal-Mart and all of the surrounding hotels LOVE them.

Once the festival starts on Thursday at noon it doesn’t stop until Sunday night.  Seriously.  There are performances 24 hours a day.  The majority of people camp onsite and there’s no reason to leave.

On Day 1 you could tell who had attended Bonnaroo before because they were wearing rubber rain boots.  Apparently it is a Bonnaroo tradition for it to rain during the festival and the amount of mud you have to walk through…well rain boots or any shoes that you can hose off were the appropriate footwear choice.

By Day 4….no one cared.  After 4 days of sunshine, ‘knock you off your feet’ humidity, battling crowds of fellow sweaty festival goers, lounging around on the grass (or dirt) listening to music, people just did not care.  You’re muddy, you’re dusty, you’re hot and you’re high on…..whatever people get high on at outdoor 24 hour/day music festivals.  The music right?

Let me clarify that we were at Bonnaroo for work.  And fortunately our party started in the Artist Hospitality Lounge, where we spent all of our days, and most of our nights.  The only place that had real air conditioning, right next to the hospitality bar, and, maybe the best part about being in the lounge area – flushable toilets!