When visitors from overseas come to the US, many of them run into an overwhelming experience that most Americans take for granted – they have trouble navigating through a supermarket.  The supermarket is in many ways is the epitome of American excess.  Let’s face it; there are a plethora of choices for essentially every product imaginable that it becomes a huge culture shock for most outsiders who aren’t used to these privileges.  I find the same trouble in trying to navigate through the Bonnaroo schedule.  However, this is a good problem to have.  The lineup really does have that much talent.  But in the back of my mind I can’t help but think that if I pick the wrong set, I could potentially miss out on history that could be taking place on another stage.

Typical to my nature, I have to plan out my entire Bonnaroo experience down to every minute detail.  I am the same guy who has every meal I plan on eating for the entire week picked out beforehand down to the time I am eating it (it’s not as obsessive as it sounds).  I wish I could just go with the flow, but I am not built that way.  Thus,  I have spent the better part of the last few days making very difficult choices.  Choices that could severely alter the course of my life (ok, now that was as obsessive as it sounds).

Late on Thursday I will have to decide between Wale and The xx.  Clearly, Wale is right up my alley to whet my hip-hop appetite.  But I really enjoyed The xx’s 2009 album xx.  And as I stated before, I am going to Bonnaroo to expand my musical experiences.  The xx would fulfill that self-imposed pact, so I will give the nod to the lads from London over the emcee from DC.

Early Friday evening poses a small conflict as well.  Check out the tail end of She & Him or be there for the start of The National’s set.  Ok, I’ll admit my true intentions immediately.  I’m not a huge fan of She & Him’s music and I do not want to dismiss those who are, but if I went to their set it would be mainly to get an up close look at the beautiful Zooey Deschanel.  However, The National is an absolute heavyweight in my eyes, so I am going to head over to Which Stage to check out The National after I soak in Damien Marley and Nas at What Stage.  What?

Friday night provides me with easily the biggest conflict of the festival.  No, I am not talking about deciding whether to see Kings of Leon versus taking a nap.  I know many people going to Bonnaroo this year (and I’m sure some of our readers) see this as a legit option for various reasons, but I won’t touch that other to say that I will be there for the Kings of Leon set.  I am talking about the late night conflict.  The Flaming Lips vs. Bassnectar vs. The Black Keys vs. Daryl Hall & Chromeo vs. Warpaint.  Ugh.  I wish I was Boba Fett for this mess, not because he had a jet pack but because he was a clone.  But the jet pack would be cool too.

I have thought about Friday late night long and hard.  But the reality is that one of the key bands (no pun intended) that have led to my recent musical transformation is the Black Keys.  I have never seen them live; Bonnaroo will be the first time.  Decision made, though it hurts.  From what I understand, I most likely will be able to see the tail end of the Flaming Lips set.  I truly hope so, because I have heard amazing things about their live shows.

And the conflicts continue throughout the weekend.

Saturday pits Avett Brothers against Mumford & Sons.  It actually sounds more like I am choosing between auto body shops to work on my car than musical acts.  Later on that night, I have to decide between fist pumping to Deadmau5 or raging to GWAR.  Sunday comes down to Zac Brown Band versus Phoenix, though if I don’t get to stare creepily at Zooey I may have to check Miranda Lambert out at that time.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I could go on and on about more conflicts.  For those who are traveling to Bonnaroo this week you are fully aware and have to make your own tough decisions.  I feel that this is what makes music festivals so unique and Bonnaroo is no exception.  Although it’s hard to complain about these circumstances, I can’t help but feel like a foreign exchange student trying to decide among regular, chunky, crunchy, creamy, organic, omega 3, or low fat peanut butter for the first time.  It certainly is an embarrassment of riches.

-Chris Dino

  1. I urge you to make some time for the FLips show. It truly is an experience that is more of a celebration than a musical performance.