1,652 miles; 16 hours and 34 minutes; $198.62 dollars for 55 gallons of gas. I've become quite familiar with these figures over the past few years. Prior to being blessed with the truly awesome job as Managing Editor of this truly awesome website, I would annually cast off for a mid-June pilgrimage from Toms River, New Jersey to a little escape called Manchester, Tennessee. I saved up whatever meager funds I was able to set aside from a winter/spring college job, all to be invested in my trip to Bonnaroo.
The word "Bonnaroo" has become synonymous with the thought of a hedonistic musical adventure. Maybe it's the drugs; maybe it's the body paint; or maybe, just maybe, it's the music. For this blog post's sake, let's imagine that nearly 100,000 people congregate to the middle of America every year because this particular festival hosts the most diverse collection of today's top musical performers. Sure, I can admit that I go to Bonnaroo for the drug-fueled fun and free-range nudity, but what really lures me to drive halfway across the country is the chance to see The Beach Boys, The Shins, and Radiohead all in a single day. This year, I find that I'm asking myself more and more if the trip is really worth it. Is this little town of Manchester really such an alluring Mecca that if given the opportunity to see the same, if not a better lineup only an hour away, would I still drown myself in caffeine (yeah, caffeine...) in order to make it to Tennessee over night?
This year, the longtime big brother festival, Bonnaroo, rests on a weekend right in between its up-and-coming sibling rivals, New York City's Governors Ball and Delaware's Firefly Festival. Last month, Gov Ball
unveiled a lineup hosting artists from Kanye West and Guns N' Roses to Local Natives and Edward Sharpe. And today, only hours before Bonnaroo's Weird Al-hosted hullabaloo lineup announcement, Firefly
unleashed a cast list that would rival any Roo of the past few years. As a Northeast resident, and someone with a job that can only dedicate vacation days to a single June festival, why in the hell would I drive all the way to Tennessee?! I expect that I'm not alone in this decision, and I also foresee Bonnaroo taking a major hit by losing a large number of Northeast attendees. Unless Bonnaroo announces today that the original Beatles were resurrected and headlining (holograms don't count), you'll find this guy down in Delaware.
Watch Weird Al's live Bonnaroo lineup announcment