You know how Mama loves her Bonnaroo. Personally, I think if Bonnaroo had a contest for "most strident fan," I'd have a story that would make the top ten. In 2008, I had a bilateral mastectomy twelve days before Bonnaroo... and went anyway. Everyone thought I was nuts. My surgeon tried to outright forbid me to go. But Roommate realized that I was determined... that it was in some ways symbolic to me... and he got in touch with the Bonnaroo folks, secured us handicapped status, and made all kinds of preparations for three nights of camping with a desperately hurting, somewhat disabled, but very determined fan.
I went to Bonnaroo 2008 drugged up on a buffet of painkillers and with every kind of anti-bacterial crap available. I slept in a tent that was wall-to-wall pillows. We had handicap proximity camping and handicap seating at the big stages. And I had the time of my life. Or I think I did. I honestly don't remember all that much about Bonnaroo 2008, thanks to the copious (but very legal) drugs I was taking.
The one thing I remember, clear as a bell? Seeing Pearl Jam, one of my favorite bands, for the first time, and feeling like Eddie Vedder was singing "Alive" just because I was there. It chokes me up just thinking about it. It was a transcendent moment.
But this year, Roommate is running his workshop (www.writersretreatworkshop.com) during Bonnaroo. Speaking of crying, I nearly cried when he told me he wouldn't be able to go to Bonnaroo 2010. I kind of think of it as "our thing." The 2008 experience really cemented that in my noggin. So I said this year that I wouldn't go without him unless one of my Big Three were headlining: U2, REM, or Leonard Cohen. (In my head, I sort of also added Prince, Madonna, and Tom Waits.)
But this year's line-up, while lacking my Big Three (or Medium Six), is pretty drool-worthy, and I'm rethinking my vow (he WANTS me to go, so it's not a betrayal!).
Here's the line-up. There's sure to be a few more acts announced.
Dave Matthews Band • Kings of Leon • Stevie Wonder • Jay-Z • Tenacious D • Weezer • The Flaming Lips with Stardeath and White Dwarfs perform "Dark Side of the Moon" • The Dead Weather • Damian Marley & Nas • Phoenix • Norah Jones • Michael Franti & Spearhead • John Fogerty • Regina Spektor • Jimmy Cliff • LCD Soundsystem • The Avett Brothers • Thievery Corporation • Rise Against • Tori Amos • The National • Zac Brown Band • Les Claypool • John Prine • The Black Keys • Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers • Jeff Beck • Dropkick Murphys • She & Him • Against Me! • The Disco Biscuits • Daryl Hall & Chromeo • Jamey Johnson • Clutch • Bassnectar • Kid Cudi • Baaba Maal • Kris Kristofferson • Medeski Martin & Wood • The xx • GWAR • Dan Deacon Ensemble • Tinariwen • Wale • Deadmau5 • The Melvins • Gaslight Anthem • Miike Snow • The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band • Dr. Dog • They Might Be Giants • Punch Brothers • Isis • Blitzen Trapper • Blues Traveler • Miranda Lambert • Calexico • OK Go • Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue • Martin Sexton • Lotus • Baroness • Dave Rawlings Machine • Mayer Hawthorne and the County • Japandroids • Jay Electronica • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros • Ingrid Michaelson • The Dodos • Manchester Orchestra • The Temper Trap • Cross Canadian Ragweed • Big Sam's Funky Nation • Carolina Chocolate Drops • Needtobreathe • Tokyo Police Club • The Entrance Band • Local Natives • Brandi Carlile • Mumford & Sons • Rebelution • Diane Birch • Monte Montgomery • Julia Nunes • The Postelles • Lucero • Here We Go Magic • Hot Rize • Neon Indian • B.O.B