The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd


Bonnaroo Livin': Day 1

Staff writer Kylie Piper will be volunteering at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this weekend. As a part of her experience, she will be posting daily blog posts while she is there. This is the second post of the series. Read the first post.

I didn’t know what to expect from Bonnaroo, but I’m definitely pleased.

After living in the C’roo (volunteer) campgrounds for a day and a half with nothing to do, I was anxious for the actual festival to begin. When the heat woke me up at 6:45 a.m., I began to prepare for the day, which began with my first volunteer shift. There wasn’t much work to do except cleaning golf carts and moving some plywood boards, so our supervisor let us leave three hours early.

After going through the 30-minute long process of waiting in line for Centeroo, where the stages are, I went straight to the tent where Twenty One Pilots would be playing. I was there a few hours early, so I saw the band that played before them, The Stepkids. Their sound was a mix between elevator music and ‘70s funk. Not bad, but not very entertaining either.

Then, finally, it was time for Twenty One Pilots. This was my second time seeing them live, and their shows are always incredible. They became widely-known really quickly, and for good reason. In addition to writing and recording unique and enthralling music, they bring every bit of energy that they have to their live performances. If you aren’t a fan before you see their show, you’ll definitely be a fan afterwards.

After an hour or so of walking around and people-watching, it was time to see my next two shows, Haim and Walk the Moon. Unfortunately, their shows overlapped each other, so I could either pick one or see a little of both. I chose the latter option and made my way to That Tent to see the beginning of Haim’s performance, which didn’t impress me much. Apparently their indie/pop songs don’t translate well to a live performance.

After half an hour, I left to see Walk the Moon. I arrived before their set even started, and there was already a huge crowd that extended far beyond the tent. I couldn’t even see the stage, but I enjoyed listening to them. Their singer said they’d been writing songs all summer, and they played at least one of them.

I left the Walk the Moon show a little early to see Django Django, who had a surprisingly large audience. They have a very unique sound. If you like Devo, the Talking Heads, or Kraftwerk, you might like Django Django.

After a few songs I trekked over to This Tent to grab a spot for Japandroids and Alt-J. I managed to be in the middle of the crowd for Japandroids, who have a loud, garage-rock sound.

The Japandroids crowd was wild, with too many crowd surfers, so I decided to stand farther back on the lawn for Alt-J, who played on the same stage. Once again, I couldn’t see anything, but I really enjoyed listening to them. Alt-J is another band who seems to have become really popular in a short amount of time. Their songs are intense but also relaxing, and the singer’s voice is unlike any I’ve ever heard. After Alt-J I returned to camp for some much-needed sleep.

Despite the tremendous heat, the atmosphere at Bonnaroo is electric. Most everyone is friendly, cheerful, and otherwise ecstatic to be here. I wouldn’t be able to count the number of people who have enthusiastically told me “Happy Bonnaroo” or the number of high fives I’ve received since my arrival.

I can confidently say that, even though I’m sweaty, dirty, and running out of money, there’s nowhere else I’d rather spend my week.

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