By Christina E. Rodriguez
Every year, Bonnaroo takes place on a piece of remote farmland in Manchester, Tenn. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Better yet, if you look for signs to the festival, you’ll drive right past where you have to check in, enter, show your tickets.
The second day at the four-day-long festival opened with small acts like Diane Birch and ended with big, nationally known acts like Kings of Leon and B.o.B., who was spotted in the media area signing a small piece of paper for the volunteer checking wristbands at the gate opening. Ladies and gentleman, B.o.B. has a heart.
Bands played at the main stages labeled “This Stage,” “That Stage,” “Which Stage,” “What Stage” and “The Other Tent,” – among those spotted: Damian Marley and Nas; She & Him led by actress Zooey Deschanel, who has appeared in movies such as “Elf” and “500 Days of Summer”; OK Go, Tenacious D, Kings of Leon and B.O.B. who took the stage at 3 a.m.
Damian Marley, who has followed after his father Bob Marley’s footsteps as a reggae performer, has been collaborating with many other artists recently. His newest album released in May, “Distant Relatives,” is a collaboration with Nas and the title is not only a nod to their actual family ties, but also to their shared African ancestry. Marley’s dreadlocks, which are perhaps longer than his father’s ever were, fall the length of the performer himself and his crowd engagement can’t be resisted. Women in bikinis and men in khaki shorts with no shirts, barefoot, in sandals or gym shoes danced and waved their hands in the air as Marley performed. The scent of marijuana was heavy in the air as people of all cultural backgrounds swayed to the music in their intoxication. Hands in the air, said Nas, and all the hands went up in rhythmic motion. The masses of people who collected at the main stage performances surpass the amount of people usually at the Pitchfork Festival, hands down. Or up.
Although Zooey Deschanel is a well-known actress, it was still surprising to see the amount of people who showed up for the She & Him performance. Her style of singing and even the style and feel of the music is reminiscent of Leslie Gore. Her fun and easy-going nature showed in her excited tambourine-tapping and jumping around. The crowd doubled its size from beginning to end and there’s no denying that everyone was swaying and dancing to her light-hearted melodies.
Ok Go was very talkative and engaging with the audience, and their upbeat music made good for anyone who wanted to have a listen. By this point though, many people were looking for shade and a place to sit. Some brought blankets and towels to sit on to give their legs a rest from traversing the wide campus all day. A few others could be seen napping on the naked grass.
In order to alleviate the near-heat exhaustion that plenty of people seemed to have reached throughout the day, a colorful fountain was placed in the middle of all the chaos. When off, it served as a place to rest but when turned on it was a relief from the hot Tennessee sun.