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Comments Off 09 June 2012

Friday, Day 2 of Bonnaroo.

When radio people emerge from their slumber, it is like a scene from a zombie movie.  One by one, they slowly come from the buses to the radio lounge area.  This is a tent with couches, music, fans and a bar where we rally in between shows. After roughly 4 hours of sleep, the day began with a quick sip of some sludge coffee that I made (couldn’t find the filters or measuring device) and a mental planning of the day’s activities. As I stretched out in a chair and contemplated my concert selections of the day, I was approached by a man associated with Michael Kiwanuka. He told me that Michael would be playing “backstage Bonnaroo” and wanted to know if I was interested in attending the session. The backstage facility is a trailer with hay bails stacked around it for sound proofing purposes (the same area where I watched The Black Keys 2 years earlier). There is a wonderful set up inside but very small, only equipped to contain 4 or 5 onlookers. Since Michael Kiwanuka is one of my favorite emerging artists, I was thrilled to receive the invite and headed over to the area for entrance. The performance was absolutely beautiful and uplifting.  What a great way to start the day.

Radiohead as seen from the soundboard

As the day continued, I had the opportunity to see Two Door Cinema Club, Trampled By Turtles, Feist, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. My daytime attendance was cut short by the live broadcast of my afternoon show on 92-3 WTTS. After the broadcast, all thoughts turned to the headliner of the night, Radiohead. Whispers begin while trying to figure out the secret passage to the best seat in the house. I was approached by a man in charge of the media area of Bonnaroo.  He whispered that I should gather in a secret location in 15 minutes and he would usher me to the “pit” to watch Radiohead perform. I was instructed not to tell anyone and to be ready to roll quickly. Feeling at ease that I was about to enjoy a wonderful show from a coveted vantage point, I grabbed some water and readied myself for the mad dash. At that point, I was approached by a man associated with Radiohead management who slipped a special wristband in my hand and whispered the gathering location. He told me that he only had a handful of wrist bands and would usher me to the soundboard to watch Radiohead perform.  Dilemma, do I stand in the pit in the front or head to the soundboard where any great Radiohead fan would want to take in the light display and enjoy the ultimate sonic experience? I chose the latter and began the trek, with 6 others, to the soundboard.  I would guess, there were 50-60,ooo people in attendance for the show. We were ushered from stage left, past the front row of the pit and walked the platform down the middle of the crowd to the soundboard. When we arrived on the soundboard platform, it was apparent that I had made the right choice. I watched the show with about 25 people who had been selected to enjoy the concert from the special perch which included an unlimited supply of beer (when I saw that, I KNEW I made the right choice). We were ushered out of the show the same way we were ushered in which took about 5 minutes. It is an amazing experience to attend a music festival with 80,000 music fans who all appreciate every second of the diversity. It is a fantasy to attend these shows the way I just described and I don’t take one second for granted.

Well, it’s off to plan my day and try to figure out how to get the next great “seat” for Red Hot Chili Peppers tonight. I’ll take you with me wherever I go. Let’s talk at 4 this afternoon. Oh, have I told you lately how much I love my job?

Laura Duncan

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