I Went. I Rocked. I Didn’t Shower. Bonnaroo 2011, Part 1

For the last decade, hordes of people from around the world have taken a four-day vacation in June, heading to Manchester, Tennessee.

What is it that draws them there? Culture? Fine dining? Perhaps they are drawn in by the sights offered by this metropolis (home to just over 8,000 residents)?

What is it that completely clogs traffic on I-24 for miles, closes exit after exit, and congregates (what seems like) the entirety of the Tennessee State Patrol?

Why, it’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, of course!

A week and a half ago, 80,000 of my closest friends and I were all hanging out on a 700-acre farm in the middle of nowhere. It was hot. And muggy. My air mattress deflated on the first day. Did I mention it was hot? It was. And mad dusty.

It was also one of the best experiences I’ve had in a while.

Between applying copious amounts of sunscreen to my pasty skin and drinking more water than I thought was safe, I saw and heard some amazing shows. If you don’t mind, I’d love to tell you about them now.

First, I give you Uncle Skeleton. This guy is near and dear to my heart. When he’s not corralling his 13-piece band on one of the tiniest stage spaces ever, Uncle Skeleton (or, you know, Ross) is a barista at my local coffee shop. He gives me free coffee, I love his music — it’s a good thing.

But seriously: Thirteen-piece band. Violins, a cello, and I’m fairly certain I remember a trombone. There was a drumset, some trumpets, an electric and bass guitar, a piano, and a few of the requisite shakers. And a board whose name I don’t know, but it made awesome sounds. Together, they are Uncle Skeleton, and they make beautiful music.

You can download both albums for FREE right here. I highly recommend “Warm Under The Covers.” It’s quirky and electronic and grand and sweeping and just so much fun.

You can also see part of the set that won Uncle Skeleton the spot at Bonnaroo here.

Next is Graveyard. This is one of the shows I heard but didn’t see. We were stuck in line to get into Centeroo (where all the musics happen!), but lucky in that we were just behind the stage for two or three songs. (My audio-engineer friend mentioned that our location made the sound out of phase. To this girl — who failed her audio class the first time around — it sounded just fine.) Graveyard is bluesy hard rock, which is always a good time.

Here is the title track from Graveyard’s newest album, Hisingen Blues.

Ah, The Decemberists. They first drew me in a few years ago with their song “The Crane Wife 3” and I find myself also loving “Down By the Water” from their January release, The King is Dead.

This year, the Portland-based band conquered the main stage Friday early evening, but I didn’t stay long.

But wait! There’s more! Upcoming posts include Florence + The Machine, The Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons and The Head and the Heart.

About Music Pusher

student. waitress. unabashed lover and pusher of music. red wine and coffee enthusiast. Nashvillain.