Wrote this down earlier today and figured I’d repost it here….
My sister convinced me to go to Bonnaroo this year. Previously, I hadn’t really given it much thought, because I had an image of it being this big hippie festival, which is something I’d actively try to avoid. (Not that there weren’t plenty of hippies, faux-hippies, wannabe hippies, former hippies, future hippies, etc., but that was only a small but annoying subset of the overall scene.) Anyway, when she went last year she was a volunteer, and I assumed (incorrectly) that’s what she was doing this year as well, so I decided to sign up as a volunteer myself to see what that was like; if you complete a certain amount of work for the festival, your ticket is comped, plus there are incidental perks that I didn’t even learn about until I was there, like being able to leave the site whenever you want (great for food/supply stock-up trips and mid-day Frappuccino cooldowns - especially you’ve spent the last 24 hours in 95+ degree super humid whether).
One of my volunteer jobs was at the Holiday Inn nearby the campgrounds where the festival takes place. This was the artist check-in/check-out area, so basically someone would go there to get their credentials if they were an artist. No real big names came through because the VIPs get to bypass all that, I believe. (I did see 90s MTV quasi-celebrity Matt Pinfield very briefly, and it was a very awkward moment: I was in the bathroom washing my hands and we caught each other’s eye via the mirror just as he was going into the stall; I recognized him, and he saw that I recognized him, so then he sort of had to introduce himself before doing what he came there to do in the first place.) This was also an overnight shift, because the behind-the-scenes parts of the festival are running continuously in one capacity or another, given the various schedules of all the people involved.
What you need to know about Bonnaroo is that it is more or less organized chaos that very often descends into disorganized chaos, and, being a volunteer, I was privy to a couple of different moments where this became obvious.
One such incident involved one of the guys from Ratatat. (E*vax? It’s hard to tell them apart. I’ll say it was E*vax.) It seems as though they had to leave town once their set was over, and they happened to be playing at 2:30 AM, so by the time they were ready to leave it had to be 4:30 AM or so at the very earliest. The only problem was that there had been no transportation arranged for them. Someone had told them that transportation had been taken care of, but when the time came, no dice. So E*vax showed up to the Holiday Inn to get things straightened out. He was pissed off, to say the least.
Oh, did I mention I was sleeping? Because I was. My supervisor told me that since nothing much usually happens on the night shift, I could go to sleep if I wanted. I was just sort of sleeping there in this freezing cold room on an uncomfortable chair, half-covered by a blanket and in full view of everyone who came through. Anyway, I was a bit startled and, half asleep, I fell off the chair. Thud. So yeah, by this point I’m fully awake, and E*vax busts out laughing and says to me, “Oh man, that almost makes up for everything that’s happened today.” Embarrassed I quickly introduced myself and went back to sleep.
And that’s the story of how I met 50% of Ratatat.