Bonnaroo does a great job of soundproofing itself from the rest of the world.
There's enough happening here on the farm – namely 150 music and performance acts – that you might forget it's only one of several events going on this weekend that are reinforcing Tennessee's mecca status for music.
The CMA festival's also underway up the road in Nashville. Head the other way down Interstate 24 and hit Riverfest in Chattanooga.
Bonnaroo alone hosts some 80,000 attendees. And altogether, the trio of events has drawn an estimated 1 million visitors to the state, according to Tennessee Department of Tourism spokesman Cindy Dupree.
Bonnaroo still likely wins the title of greenest, though.
Anyone at the 2011 festival likely remembers the bald fields and dust storms blowing about.
This year the grounds are noticeably greener and softer, with a fresh, thick layer of sod planted throughout.
“We have a lotta new grass at the festival,” Bonnaroo spokesman Kenny Weinstein offered with a sly grin during a media orientation pow-wow earlier today. “Bermuda grass. I've never tried it, but I hear it's very lush.”
Speaking of, wide-eyed first-timer Zack Hoitberg said he'd noticed it everywhere, too.
“It smells a lot better than cigarettes,” he admitted.
Don't know if he was talking about the lawns, though.
Celebrating his 18th birthday this week with his first trip to the 'Roo, the Nashvillian said the other biggest thing to make a lasting first impression are the festivalgoers themselves.
What, like the dude in the flowing robes?
Or the creative celebrations of facial hair? Or the guys dressed as ninja turtles?
Yeah, them too.
“The biggest thing is the weird people,” Hoitberg said. “It's not a bad thing. They're having a good time, and it makes it more interesting.”
Bonnaroo's nothing if not weird and wonderful.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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