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The Chantlicleer

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Three important words


Three words, people: Bonnaroo Music Festival.

I’ve written about this before, so why keep mentioning Bonnaroo? Sorry, people: you’ll be hearing more of it as the event draws closer.

It’s mid-June, so we’ve got plenty of time to bring you up-to-date.

Let’s start with the basics. Bonnaroo is a music festival, and if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, think Woodstock. Pretty much the same thing, only years later and we’ve got a few more amenities. It’s located in Manchester, Tenn., just a little ways past Monteagle on Interstate 24. It’s basically in our backyard. This will be its 12th year, and this will be my third.

It’s four wonderful days of camping with 100,000 or more people, no showers (unless you pay $7), open fields, open skies, but most importantly, stages and stages full of artists and bands.

In the past two years, I’ve seen Florence + the Machine, Mumford and Sons, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Danzig Legacy, Alabama Shakes and Fun.

Have no clue who I’m talking about? I’ve also seen The Beach Boys (with Brian Wilson), Alice Cooper, Kenny Rogers (with guest appearance by Lionel Richie), Buffalo Springfield, Robert Plant and Gregg Allman. This isn’t just a young person’s event, y’all.

And while 75 percent of the people there might be 30 or younger, the other 25 percent is made up of older adults and children. Yes, children.

But it’s more than the music. Think going without a shower is disgusting? So do I. I’m the girl who takes two a day. But not at Bonnaroo. I hardly ever go out without make-up. But I do at Bonnaroo. I never wear sundresses that are comfortable and pull my hair up without brushing it. But I do at Bonnaroo.

And it is ... liberating. To be where no one judges. Can you imagine a place where you can be 100 percent yourself without worrying one bit what people think?

Because no matter how comfortable we are with ourselves, we innately worry about other’s opinions. We pick out our clothes wanting to look nice. We brush our hair because people would stare if we didn’t. We shower, yes, because it’s nice and relaxing, but also because we don’t want to stink.

I’m never more relaxed than when I’m on the farm (Bonnaroo’s official nickname, since it spans close to 800 acres) and out of all the music festivals in the country - Coachella, Life is Good, Hangout, and the many others now cropping up across the country - I’ve heard countless people say that nothing beats ‘Roo.

So why do I keep mentioning Bonnaroo? Because it’s the one time of year I get to be completely free. From the responsibilities of being a mom, being a wife; from being someone who cares about anything but music and blue skies and staying hydrated in the June heat.

And now, the countdown’s on: 126 days. And I can’t wait.

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