The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd


Bonnaroo Livin’: On the Road

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 first post of the series.

As I sit in my Nashville hotel room and think about my next few days, I have no idea what to expect.

For almost my entire life, I have had grand ideas but chickened out before seeing them come to fruition. In high school, I wanted to be an exchange student. I wanted to go to college outside of North Carolina, my home state. I wanted to spend a gap year abroad. I wanted to have incredible experiences, but I was always scared to step out of my comfort zone.

But this week, I will definitely be stepping out of my comfort zone. I will be volunteering, watching incredible musicians, and camping on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee with about 80,000 other people at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

I’ll be there for six days because volunteers have to arrive early. That means six days of sleeping in a tent (which I’ve never done in my entire life), and six days without running water or electricity, in the intense heat of the summer.

I am so excited.

I’m going to have the opportunity to see artists that I never would have dreamed of seeing. In addition to this year’s headliners — Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — I’ll get to see The National, The Lumineers, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Billy Idol, Matt & Kim and so many other incredibly talented musicians.

I will also get to see some artists I have begun listening to only in the past few months. Twenty One Pilots, one of my new favorite bands, will most likely be the first show I see at the festival — a perfect opening to the weekend. I’ll be able to see Kacey Musgraves, Alt-J, Haim and Japandroids — four more artists I’ve recently discovered and fallen in love with.

I have read and heard a lot about the Bonnaroo atmosphere. Some people say that it is a dirty farm full of hippies, while some say that it is simply a place where people gather to see their favorite artists, camp and hang out with friends. But I’m going to try to ignore what everyone else says and form my own opinions once I arrive, because my experience will no doubt be different from everyone else’s.

Above all, I’m hoping to hear great music, meet interesting people, stay up late to watch R. Kelly perform “I Believe I Can Fly,” and embrace the fact that no one will judge me for wearing an outfit that most certainly does not match (and for not showering for a few days).

There’s no telling what the next week will bring, but one thing’s for sure: it will be an exciting and unique adventure.

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