It’s been a whole week since my hometown music festival ended, and I’m still processing all that I saw and did and ate and drank. Each Bonnaroo looks the same, but feels so different. In past years, I’ve only focused on the music. Last year, I only focused on the food. This year, I had some very special visitors experiencing the ‘Roo for the first time, so we experienced a little bit of everything.
Best bite: Roti Rolls. Several of my foodie friends swore by this Charleston-based food truck, and I knew they wouldn’t lead me astray. It was every bit as awesome as they said. Good thing I’m going to Charleston in a month…
Best sip: the shake at gastroPod. I ate gastroPod last year for the Pulp Fiction-themed menu and again this year—twice! I’m not much for vanilla anything usually, because I find it simply too boring, but damn, gastroPod’s malted vanilla shake defies all logic.
Best community experience: BonnaROOTS dinner. SVV and I were lucky to be visitors of Oxfam America and Eat for Equity at their communal dinner that took place under the stars each night at dusk. Not only did we get to eat delicious, sustainable cuisine, but our friend Emilie’s folk band from Minnesota happened to be the dinner entertainment! What are the odds?
Best new-to-me experience: yoga classes. Alex and I did both a vinyasa and an acro class on the same morning, and while it was boiling hot at the height of the day under the beating sun, it was also a whole heck of a lot of fun. (A whole new meaning to hot yoga, right?) Next year, I will definitely incorporate more of the fitness options into my daily ‘Rootine (get it? heh).
Best indie concert: Brandi Carlile. Another indie artist I love, Brandi totally rocked one of the big stages on the final night. (Side note: Who’s going to her Ryman show in October?)
Best big stage set: Mumford & Sons. Those guys just know how to put on a show, even if their music lures me to sleep at times. I know the rabid Mumford fans were doubly happy that they showed this year after one of the band member’s had to get emergency brain surgery when they were scheduled to play two years back.
Biggest letdown: Billy Joel. I’m not saying he was awful, but like Lionel Richie in 2014, I nearly fell asleep when he took the stage. Florence + the Machine wasn’t much better, much to my dismay. It seemed all the shows I really loved this year were in the tents and smaller stages.
Best use of $6: Riding the Ferris wheel. You can’t possibly grasp the scope of the Farm until you see it from above.
Trippiest scene: the Silent Disco. No surprise, but Alex and the NVR Guys were all over that one!
Best reason to skip the line at Amish Baking Co.: Dave’s Mini Donuts. Don’t want to wait for 100 people to go ahead of you in the line at the Amish? You don’t have to. I’d wager to say I liked Dave’s even more than the fan favorite, Amish Baking Co., as evidenced by the fact that Alex and I went back two straight late nights for the Yabba Dabba Fruity Pebbles minis. (Now you see why we did yoga twice in one day!)
Funniest name: Poutine Your Mouth. While I didn’t order the Canadian-style fries, I stole a few from a random girl whose food I asked to photograph (what? like you wouldn’t have done the same!) and while I’m not a fry person, it was surprisingly divine.
Biggest surprise: Neapolitan pizza. I’m not usually one to order pizza at a festival with more than 100 options, but I ate it not once but twice, first at oldie but goodie Spicy Pie, then at Rolling Oven. Their mobile pizzeria in the Food Truck Oasis was housed in a twenty-foot shipping container that has been redesigned into a kitchen with a glass wall and wood-fired oven for Chrissakes. I couldn’t not try it! (And it. was. delicious.)
Worst thing I ate: nothing, really! I’d say I made pretty wise food choices with my 17 meals a day—though I wasn’t wild about the fried pies and I was a bit disappointed by the size of the Baconland grilled cheese, but it was tasty nonetheless. And let’s be honest, you go to Baconland for the bacon flights anyway, am I right?
Best beer: I can’t say that I spent much time at Broo’ers Fest, but I’m always a fan of my hometown brewery, Ole Shed Brewing Company.
Best use of costumes: Why, Alex’s romper collection, of course! Girlfriend seems to have a Mary Poppins bag full of fruit-themed rompers, and I want them all. While we’re at it, Alex also gets the superlative for best dressed at Bonnaroo, because her outfits were on point at all times.