‘It’s On: From the Thursday Bonnaroo Beacon
Prior to last June the term was devoid of all meaning for many individuals, while others viewed it as folderol associated with a classic Dr. John album. However, by June 23 it had come to represent something else altogether: a place, a sound, a vibe. As with the inaugural event, tickets for this year’s Bonnaroo moved at a brisk pace, selling out long in advance to a range of would-be attendees, including those who attended in 2002, those drawn to the reputation of the event and those simply enamored with this year’s line-up.
On Wednesday the Bonnaroo site was a flurry of waterlogged activity. The event’s promoters Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment have pledged to "build on the character of last year’s event while making this year a distinct entity." As a result rather than simply a reconstruction of the previous environment, Bonnaroo 2003 will offer new elements including additional performance spaces. However, the days leading up to this year’s festival have provided a bit of struggle, as the weather has been less cooperative than in 2002. Staff member Paul Peck affirms, "We’ve had weather issues throughout the week. Obviously there’s a time crunch but we’re going to get there. Everything’s coming together."
Peck, who is the Co-Director of Artist Relations offered some insight into the music to follow. While as of last night he knew of no performers on site, Peck mentioned that numerous musicians would be staying throughout the entire weekend and he anticipated plenty of spontaneous interband collaborations. Peck indicated he was looking forward to Sunday’s SuperJam, while hinting at a number of unannounced events to occur throughout the grounds over the course of the weekend, including "something major" that will take place on Friday night. In the interim, music will start a day earlier than originally announced with the Hackensack Boys, Louque and the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra all set to perform this evening. In addition, in a new space devoted to cover bands, The Machine is set to hit tonight at 11.
One of the few negative aspects of last year’s event was the traffic. Organizers have worked to mediate the problem through a number of means, including working with local officials to fashion a makeshift exit on the highway. In addition, by Wednesday evening, with cars backing up onto area roadways, festivalgoers were allowed onto the grounds a bit earlier than anticipated (Doc Stern of Milwaukee, WI who arrived on motorcycle was the first through the gates). Once on site however, the soggy turf did present a challenge for some folks as they pitched tents and set up camp.
By Thursday morning, many attendees were pacing through a Centeroo-in-progress, which will offer many new components, including a water fountain that refuses to be upstaged by the weather.