Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bonnaroo: A Misery and Aren't Festival

Me under the famous fountain, with A MISTER, I might add.

This was my fourth trip to the outdoor music and arts festival. I am 46 years years old and never had a problem with the relentless heat and moisture before, so all you pansy asses at Gawker can kiss my ass for all your boo-hooing over being too old and cool for it at age 25. Age was not the problem. The people that died were 24 and 32. Not old by any means. The real problem is much bigger than that, inklings of which I saw from the very first moment we got to Manchester, Tennessee.

Every year you have to wait in line BY THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY. That's right, miles and miles of cars sitting on the right shoulder of Rte. 24 as 18 wheelers go zooming past at 65 miles an hour. No big deal except this is night time and when you have that many kids holding that much drugs, teetering on the edge of sense with excitement for Eminem or The Black Keys, they hop in and out of cars like rabbits searching for farmer John's lettuce, and twice as horny. It is a miracle no one got killed that Wednesday night.

The wait was over 5 hours to get into the campgrounds. Why? Because they over-sold the venue. This wasn't a nice number like the reports want you to believe, this was no 80,000 people. It was well over a hundred thousand. Every campground was filled, every last one of them, even the ones so far out that the tents are right up against people's property lines. 

How did they make up for the lack of space? They crammed everyone together like sardines. Normally, you have lines of two cars with the tents in the middle. That way, if you actually have an emergency and have to leave, you can. Not this year. We were in Pod 3.

See that balloon? It's attached to the medic tent for Pod 3. Therein lies medical expertise that even a child's doctor play set would put to shame.

Pod 3 is within ten minutes walking distance to Centeroo. Other people in outer pods had to walk for almost an hour to get to the front gate, so SWEET for us, right? WRONG. Our line had at least 7 cars deep, making it impossible to leave and nearly as impossible to find your tent if you take too many of that friendly white Rasta kid's hits of Molly, which he sold you for 20 bucks a pop and delivered to you with a charming Boston accent.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't care. Ordinarily, I laugh and deal and drink as much water as I do wine. Only this time Mr. McSlore got ill. He suffered from heat exhaustion and dehydration so bad that he was drinking tons of water and not urinating. We went to the nearest medic tent which consisted of one woefully uninformed kid who wanted to get into Bonnaroo for free. You see, if you volunteer, show up for the day's training course, you get in for free! Sweet again, right? Uh-huh.

Male Not-Nurse gave us some water and I watched him as he was equally clueless with two people that had poison ivy and extreme sunburn. We decided it would be best if Mr. M went someplace with more than Band-Aids and an 'aw-shucks, hope you get better' attitude.

The golf cart pulled up and took off with Mr. M, leaving me there as the guy driving pointed at Centeroo and said I could find him there. I raced back to camp in 100 degree heat, grabbed my hat and my Camelback and headed into the venue. I didn't find him. The Security guy didn't know where ANY of the medical tents were. The guy at the medical tent I ended up at two hours later told me they sent Mr. M out to the main medical tent out in bum-fuck next to the airfield where they medi-vac people to the hospital. 

What did I do? I went to a port-o-potty and I cried, in the same group of potties where I found out later, Mr. McSlore had almost passed out, IN THE TOILET. Then I raced back to camp to eat something only to find him in our neighbor's car downing water in their A/C. (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Kellie and Matt. You were awesome that day!)

This is what happened. They took him to a bigger tent, let him sit there drinking a gallon of water, never taking his name, never asking how he was, then they kicked him out when they felt he'd been there long enough. No one walked him to a golf cart/cab. No one gave him so much as a banana. They didn't even have potassium pills! What the fuck?????

Every single person I spoke to when I was looking for him acted as if I was trying to get military secrets out of them, not find the person that means the most to me on this planet. I didn't see one nurse or doctor. The closest thing to a medical professional was a random guy I passed that warned against taking Exstacy and coke at the same time. Oh, and a girl that carried electrolyte pills with her. 

Thank God Mr. McSlore is okay. I seriously believe that his body shut down temporarily and now I don't know if I can ever go to another one of these camping festivals since no one seems to give a shit about the people that attend them. If I do go, it will be in an RV. It will also be somewhere else. Somewhere that they provide more care than what you might expect in Guantanamo Bay. 

Yeah, I'm still pissed. I had to get it out. Look at this dust bowl of Hell. That area was grass last year, and they did away with most of the water stations in Centeroo, only to replace them with mobbed filtered water huts.

And to people that bring little kids- DON'T.

It's fucking abuse since that kid was right at optimum dirt breathing level.

Oh, did I forget to tell you? It may have been the hottest and dustiest Bonnaroo ever and they didn't hire the trucks that dispense water out of the back to dampen the dust down. Brilliant!

They recycled a ton of plastic, though, so there's that. Fucking hippies.

It was awful, you guys. Just awful.

Next time they need to skip the inflatable water slide and just hold the damn thing at a water park. Just build one right there, and here's another idea- if you don't want to spring for the medical help, hold a fundraiser. Name it in honor of the people that have died in the dirt on your watch. 

And don't bring up the drug argument. The people at Bonnaroo know damn well that people are on drugs, and Mr. McSlore was not one of them. As for the argument that smaller towns lose twice as many in any given week, well, smaller towns have OLD people. This festival's average age is probably 22.

Okay, I'm done. I have some funny stuff to put up later. XOXO, guys, especially to PC who helped me through this ordeal via text. Big hug and kiss!

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