1. Bon Iver put on the single greatest concert I’ve ever been to (this includes the likes of Radiohead, the Shins, and Red Hot Chili Peppers), and I was front row for it. Everyone in the first two rows was openly crying at the beauty of the set.
  2. In a list of statements I never thought I’d say in my life, the Red Hot Chili Peppers put on a significantly better live show than Radiohead. That may have more to do with my emotional and physical state than the actual strength of Radiohead’s performance (but more on that later).
  3. If Kendrick Lamar doesn’t wind up being as big as Kanye and Jay-Z some day (at least in terms of his critical legacy though I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t come near their commercial success as well), I will be in total shock.
  4. Apparently at Bonnaroo, body paint is an acceptable substitute for a top for some women.
  5. If you want to get into the pit for Radiohead, you should show up like 12 hours early. Showing up 2 and a half hours early (missing half of Feist’s set and totally skipping St. Vincent) just means you’ll be the first person at the rail for the pit when the security staff finally cuts people off and you have to watch for 2 hours while other people jump the fence while you try to be  a decent person and follow the safety rules even though you can barely see Thom Yorke or any of the other members of Radiohead.
  6. Just because it’s super cloudy and raining on Sunday doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to choose that day not to put any sun screen on. I’m half a ginger with a day-walkers complete intolerance to direct sunlight and now I look raw meat all over my arms and legs.
  7. Leslie Feist isn’t just a gorgeous vocalist (her voice being gorgeous, not Leslie herself sadly). She can play the guitar as well as many of the men that I saw, and her show (which I only caught the first half of in my ill-advised plan to get a decent spot for Radiohead) was a surprisingly up-tempo and hard-rocking affair from every one’s favorite baroque pop Canadian princess.
  8. Danny Brown might be the ugliest motherfucker on the planet, but his clever, filthy, fierce, and hilarious rhymes should be the cure for anyone who thinks that everyone in hip-hop these days take themselves far too seriously.
  9. I’m sort of stealing a joke that my managing editor made about Coachella, but they should consider changing the name of Bonnaroo to Bonnabro because of all of the incredibly douchey “bros” that were at the festival this year as well as the disappointing number of bands that were chosen to appeal to them (like Skrillex).
  10. Red Hot Chili Peppers might all be in their 50s now (except for new guitarist Josh Klinghofer) but damn they can still fucking rock. Flea is just an ungodly bassist. You can hear that on their studio records, but when he’s able to guitar battle on stage with Klinghofer and win with just four strings, you know he is a god among men.
  11. “Paranoid Android” live was more of a religious experience than any moment I’ve ever had in church.
  12. Water was more valuable than illegal drugs at Bonnaroo. I saw people openly sharing their drugs with strangers in the crowd but you horded your water (especially if you had prime real estate in a line for a big act) like you were one of the Jews being led out of the desert by Moses. People were dropping from heat stroke and dehydration left and right the whole weekend.
  13. Apparently, one should never miss the Superjam at Bonnaroo. It’s a (usually) annual event where members of different acts perform together in a “super jam” as a late night show after the headliners. This year featured 90’s R&B icon D’Angelo’s first performance in the United States in over 12 years as a last minute guest to the “super jam” alongside ?uestlove, other members of the roots, and a girl from Parliament Funkadelic. How the fuck did I miss this?
  14. Brian Wilson and the rest of the living Beach Boys might be in their 70s (and some of them are so old that their arthritis keeps them from playing their instruments well), but they haven’t lost one iota of their ability to produce stunningly beautiful and soaring harmonies.
  15. tUnE-yArDs is apparently way more popular than I thought she was because there seemed to be nearly 10,000 people for her show early Friday afternoon. It was nearly impossible to extricate myself from her concert because of the massive sea of people.
  16. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that you could leave Bonnaroo as disappointed about the acts you didn’t get to catch as you are excited about the ones you did see. I missed the Shins, Young the Giant, St. Vincent, Aziz Ansari, SBTRKT, Ben Howard, GZA, Black Star, Alice Cooper, and the Super Jam. Yet, if I had tried to do anything else that weekend, I would have probably died. All in all, it was totally worth it and I can easily see myself coming back next year (lineup pending).
  17. Childish Gambino’s set put aside once and for all any questions I had about his legitimacy as a rapper. He’s the real deal, and anybody who still wants to single Donald Glover out as a novelty act isn’t paying enough attention (even if his jokes can still be a wee bit offensive).
  18. When I woke up on Sunday (after the epic dust/dirt storm that blanketed the whole festival Saturday), I looked like Roger Sterling singing to his new wife Jane at their wedding reception. If you can make a classy blackface joke, that was about the closest I’ll ever get.
  19. I made so many buddies waiting in line for shows to start and talking about good music with people that it made me even more depressed than usual that I’m returning to the cultural black hole that is Morgantown, WV.
  20. Bonnaroo was one of the most amazing experiences of my life but it was also one of the most taxing physical endurance tests I’ve ever put myself through. I’m terribly sunburnt. Starting Saturday night, I literally had to limp back to my tent (which was mercifully close to Centeroo, the area where all of the stages were) because of how badly my feet hurt after three 12 hour days on my feet in poorly fitting boots. My ankles actually started bleeding by Sunday. However, it was all worth it in the end. Next year though, I have to learn to prepare for the more stressful and less luxurious elements of  the festival.

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