|The Bonnaroo fest (photo by Jeff Baum)|
Normally I would shy away from such large crowds and unbearable heat, but the lineup was just too good to miss: Festivalgoers were treated to headliners The Cure and Radiohead, as well as one of the first performances of the recently reunited Pixies. Also on the bill were Beck, Kraftwerk, the Flaming Lips, Air, Belle & Sebastian, Muse and other bands I was thrilled to see live.
And what could have been a nightmare turned out to be an amazing weekend trip. Temperatures were over 100 degrees in the sun; there were almost 50,000 sweaty bodies surrounding the stage by the time the Pixies launched into their first song at dusk. The beer tent was one of few areas providing sanctuary from the heat, but the prices (upward of $10 each) and fear of getting too dehydrated kept attendees away. Sure, the trip was an expensive one, after combining roundtrip airfare, hotel and food costs and the tickets. However, in addition to seeing some of my favorite musical acts, I squeezed in an extra day of sightseeing and pool-side lounging, a frozen margarita always within reach. If I had stayed in New York City and saw each band individually when they toured the area, I would have quickly exceeded the cost of the whole weekend -- if I had been lucky enough to even get tickets before scalpers scooped them up. Taking a mini-vacation to relax and enjoy all of the artists made the festival trip worthwhile.