>>By Katherine McCully, Guest Writer
10. Putting on the wristband. It was a “do or die” moment. Once the wristband was on, there was no turning back. The idea that I was actually going to Bonnaroo became real at that moment.
9. Leaving. It was bittersweet, but we ended on a great day, and I felt like it was time to go. I didn’t want to overstay our welcome.
8. The post-show glow. That moment when you’re done for the night and walking back to the tent and you just can’t contain yourself and you just want everyone to know you are the epitome of joy and contentment, and the positivity radiates from you and everyone around you like sunshine.
7. The food. The vendors were amazing. I was not expecting gourmet food at all, but that was definitely one of the surprises of Bonnaroo for me: I tried so many new foods. I just wish there had more time and I had been more hungry so I could try more.
6. Going through the arch for the first time. It’s a Bonnaroo tradition, and anyone who goes has to do it, even if it’s farther away than another gate. Just do it. It’s like no other experience on Earth.
5. Norm. A little bit of backstory: Baby Brother and I were at Target on Wednesday picking up a few last-minute items, and he found a garden gnome on sale that he absolutely had to have. So I bought him the gnome, and BB named him Grover. Grover became the official Camp TAS mascot. Sunday, during Washed Out, the couple in front of us had a stuffed pigeon, and the guy set it on the ground in front of him. When people walked by, they saw the bird and freaked out a little, then laughed and went about their business. When the couple got up to leave, the guy told his girlfriend he was just going to leave the bird on the ground. So we picked it up. Guys, Baby Brother is so attached to this fake bird. He carried it around with him the rest of the day Sunday and named it Norm, and it now has a place of honor beside his bed with Grover the gnome. (Note: It kind of freaks me out, and I wouldn’t want it staring at me in the dark, but whatever makes him happy, I guess.)
4. The high-fives. I love high-fives in general, but on the farm, they have an entirely different vibe. They don’t feel congratulatory like in daily life. High-fives are everything Bonnaroo is about: community, happiness, friendship, turning strangers into friends and general excitement. There’s no feeling in the world quite like receiving hundreds of Bonnaroo high-fives in line to walk under the arch.
3. Listening to amazing bands on a blanket under a tree. It’s the little things in life that make the most lasting impression. Simple joys like this are what make Bonnaroo worth it.
2. The friends, new and old. The TAS staff all work together, but we’re also good friends. Going to Bonnaroo really tests relationships. By Sunday afternoon, you know someone better than you ever thought possible. You’ve danced, sweated and shared a tent with them. You’ve seen them at their best and their worst, and your relationship has reached an entirely different level. On the farm, you also make new friends. People you wouldn’t have thought you would get along with in real life are suddenly the coolest people you will ever know. It’s a unique kind of camaraderie that I don’t think exists anywhere apart from those 700 acres in Manchester.
1. Watching the sun come up over Bonnaroo after an amazing night of music and dancing. It reminded me Tennessee is a beautiful place and nature is amazing. Bonnaroo is all about positivity, and that moment helped me see that things like stressing over paying back school loans, getting homework done, paying rent and trying to find a job are going to work out fine. The sun will come up again, and I can keep going. Sometimes you just have to dance until the sun comes up to get a little perspective on what’s important.