(NOTE: Manchester Times editor Leila Beem Núñez is experiencing her first Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this year by camping. Her daily blogs can be found at www.manchestertimes.com. Click here to follow her updates on the Manchester Times Twitter feed. Click here to read Day 1 of her blog.) By Leila Beem Núñez, editor Day 2 of my first time as a “Bonnaroonie” has revealed some very important things to me: I desperately need a shower, sleeping in a tent at a music festival is rather hard and U2 is the greatest band to ever grace this earth. (Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but not really. We’ll get to that later.)
After emerging from my lair Friday morning, my hair looking exponentially worse than it had the day before, I visited the press tent for an orientation, which was enjoyable especially because they have air conditioning in there. Here I experienced my first brush with stardom when half of a London duo called Ten Fé came to ask me if I had that day’s Bonnaroo newspaper. (I didn’t freak out… in front of him.) Once out of there, Corey and I set back out into Centeroo, which I’ve finally realized, with my unfortunate lack of direction, is extremely close to our tent. We checked out the infamous Centeroo fountain, where people frolicked and cooled off, but I wandered off and went about my main mission: checking out all the vending tents. There was a glass-blowing demonstration going on all day, handwoven clothes, handmade jewelry, you name it. (I’m proud of myself for not having depleted my funds with jelwelry-buying. Yet.) Corey wandered along with me, though I’m sure there was nothing he cared less about in that moment than glass-blown pendants. At 2:45 p.m. I headed over to That Tent to see Khruangbin, a Texas-based trio that plays what I can briefly describe as psychedelic funk, influenced by Thai surf bands in the 1960s – pretty cool, though I’m still not sure I know how to pronounce their name. We later saw Cold War Kids and Kaleo, an Icelandic blues/rock band that blew me away live. It is at this time that I stuffed my face. Plot twist: it was not with a Thurman Merman. (See Day 1.) I settled on a jambalaya from a Cajun food tent and was not disappointed, though the Thurman Merman will likely make a reappearance on Day 3.
After seeing Glass Animals only for a few songs, I had to get to What Tent for U2 (I was nearly hyperventilating), and as is my way, did not get there early enough to have a great spot, but I was about to see Bono snd hear the angelic sounds of The Edge’s guitar and I didn’t care. The band, playing its first American festival, played its iconic debut Joshua Tree album, and the tears started flowing. Growing up listening to U2 with my dad (and having all their albums), the show turned out to be the best I’ve ever seen. Not only did they play this album but came back for some newer favorites AND a fireworks show. I was a teary mess, but I was happy. That’s when I realized how amazing it is when music can really transcend time and generations and make people feel a range of different emotions, and the fact that Bonnaroo lets you have that – sometimes a few times over one weekend. By the time U2 was done, it was 1 a.m., my feet hurt from standing all day, I was sleepy and I really wanted a corn dog. I skipped on the corn dog (proud of myself again), and we trekked back to our tent. You’ll note that being close to Centeroo, while convenient during the day, is not great for sleeping – especially not when Major Lazer is playing at the nearest tent. Major Lazer, if you didn’t know, is an electronic music trio that happens to use some earth-shaking bass that one can feel through one’s mattress. It’s not really my thing, but to each his own – and that’s what makes Bonnaroo great. I finally made it to sleep at 3 a.m. or so, but the U2 show and the whole day made it very worth it. I nodded off in anticipation of more shows, a shower and probably a corn dog.