Saturday was a beast of a day. There is an air-conditioned barn in Centeroo where people go to relax and we found out that there was going to be a secret 40-people only Theophilus London show so we lined up two hours in advance. Sitting out in the heat for two hours was intense but we made friends with a guy who talked really quietly. He was supposedly good at freestyling but when he freestyled I could barely hear him. It was awesome. I went to check out Chiddy Bang for a couple songs, but he ended up coming on 10 minutes late, and I decided I really don’t like his rap voice, so I left. I then ran into Captain America (real name Blake) and he joined us in the line. Before we got let in (45 minutes late), we were given wristbands, free sunscreen, bags, and drinks. The secret show was being presented by Fuse TV and they definitely hooked us up. We got in there and THERE WAS FREE BARBECUE AND COOKIES. They had a little buffet set up, it was amazing. Theophilus London was doing a DJ set when we got in there, and played a whole lot of Kanye and Odd Future, it was incredible. Me, Pedro, and this other guy were dancing to these songs and someone came up to us and made us sign a release to be on tv (our ridiculous dancing can be see about halfway through of Fuse TV’s Top 20 Countdown: Bonnaroo). London then did a 40-minute set and it was amazing. He is definitely going to be big, and reminds me a lot of Kid Cudi but less stoner. After the show, we saw The Black Keys and then went to just relax on the grass while everyone was seeing Eminem.
NOW HERE is probably the most memorable part of Bonnaroo. So a storm started coming, the first storm of the weekend which was way exciting. We’re standing on a bench when we see a man with his shirt off convulsing on the ground looking like a demon is coming out of him screaming “YES” a bunch. We thought he was just real excited about the storm, so we turned away and when we turned band he was SUPER NAKED. He was laying on the ground naked and then he said “I love Tom Hanks. I respect him as an actor”. This is the point where we decided we needed to watch every thing that was happening. Okay so this guy was very naked and doing like an arms out, legs spread pose on the ground, yelling ridiculous things. People were taking pictures, laughing, etc. He gets up, starts exclaiming “I love my balls, don’t take my balls” and then a man with glow sticks all over him comes past and naked guy runs and jumps on the man’s back. Note that the glowstick man had no shirt on, so there must have been skin-to-genitalia contact. He’s probably going to be scared of the possibility naked men jumping onto his back the rest of his life. Then the security guards came and everyone was telling him to put his clothes on but instead he tried to nakedly fight the security, probably not the best idea. It took 5 security guards to strap him down to a stretcher and take him away. My friend Lee said that the best part about it is that he left an unopened Mountain Dew with him. I personally would not have drunk this man’s mountain dew. Also take note that as soon as this guy was taken away the storm ended, kinda scary.
After that craziness we went to more craziness because Bootsy Collins and The Funk University were playing on the Other Stage, and had been playing since 8pm (it was 11:30, he went 2 hours over his set time). We saw that, and it was wild and ridiculous and way too funky (just jokes, there’s no such thing as way too funky). After this, we waited for Gogol Bordello and experienced some interesting crowd members. There was a guy who was feeding a stuffed bunny a lit cigarette who also had a theory that Tom Hank’s hairline recedes even more every movie he does. Another man dressed in nothing but a black speedo, covered in glitter and makeup. And then there was a middle-aged drunk man who insisted on speaking to me and got really close to my mouth as if he wanted to kiss me. It wasn’t too fun. At 1am, Omar Souleyman hit the stage. We had no idea what to expect as there was only a setup of two keyboards on the stage. No microphones, nothing. When Omar hit the stage, I was completely surprised. Omar Souleyman is a Syrian middle-aged man who wears an Arab headress and sunglasses along with traditional robes at every show. I could not explain to you the music that came from the speakers, but I’m going to try. The keyboard + beats were like an Arabian version of Sleigh Bells and Omar sung over top of it. That is the extent of my ability to explain it, I would suggest you search him up and watch a live video because it is insane. At first, it was the most amazing thing ever but by the end, I was so drained. He made us clap in every song and it was just too much. He was really controlling. If you get a chance to see Omar Souleyman in concert, do it, and you will see what I mean. I know it’s very vague but I am physically unable to explain it.
GOGOL BORDELLO! Definitely one of the best sets I saw at Bonnaroo. I was front row which was insanity, I had to stop myself from being crushed the whole time but it was obviously worth it. The crushed ribs, the sweat, the sand everywhere was all forgotten due to Gogol Bordello’s members flying all over the stage, each more crazy than the other (but no one as crazy as lead singer Eugene Hutz) performing as many songs as possible. They played for two hours and killed it the whole time. If I weren’t in so much pain, I would have wanted them to play all night. Start Wearing Purple and When Universes Collide were definite highlights and when Eugene Hutz came on after the encore and played a really slow, beautiful song I was extremely impressed. To go from commanding the audience with his antics to commanding them with just his voice is absolutely inspiring. This show was everything I could ever wanted it to be and more. It ended past 4am and the tiredness and pain struck like a wave. I stumbled slowly back to bed and fell into a deep slumber.
By deep slumber, I mean I woke up at 9 the next morning. But I guess that was kind of sleeping in because I usually woke at 8. When I woke up all I was thinking is “I want to relax hard today” but Bonnaroo had other things in store for me. The Sunday lineup was stacked with brilliant artists including my other most anticipated artist (Arcade Fire being the first), The Head and the Heart. After packing up our camp in anticipation of the massive crowds later that day, we headed into the final day of Centeroo. The Head and the Heart played and it was the perfect set for noon on Sunday. They were full of energy but play relaxing folksy music and it was just beautiful. When they performed Rivers and Roads, I’m pretty sure a single tear fell onto every cheek in the audience. We headed to see Ryan Bingham after this; he was really good, though I was too tired to pay attention. Pedro actually fell asleep on the floor amidst all the noise, very impressive. I then met up with Kate (friend from Alaska) and we stuck it out inside a tent to get a good spot for Beirut. Junip played and they were pretty good, but slightly boring, very talented with their instruments. Next up was Swedish pop-powerhouse Robyn. I’m not a huge fan of her music but she definitely had amazing stage presence. Once again, both me and Kate were way too tired to even react to the show which must have looked a little strange because everyone around us was going insane. Finally, Beirut came on stage and it was the absolute perfect end to Bonnaroo. All members are extremely talented with an array or instruments and lead singer Zach Condon has a fantastic voice. Unfortunately I could not stay for the whole set because we wanted to leave before The Strokes crowd left.
I want to say that leaving Bonnaroo was a bittersweet experience but I was pretty glad to leave. It was an amazing weekend but the heat, lines, and dust made it a bit too much to handle. I will obviously go again next year, I’m just not a huge fan of camping/allergies/going outside so that weekend was definitely enough for me for one year. It was a brilliant weekend though, something I’m going to remember for a while. Thanks to Kate for the pictures in this article, the other one was kinda bland without pictures! I did not get any spirit animals the whole weekend, as you may have noticed, I thought I would take a break from that for one article. BUT, I will be going to a bunch of shows this summer and there will definitely be spirit animals all over the place. Xoxo Gossip Girl.