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Bonnaroo 2007

Note: Sorry for the length...it was a very vivid experience.

 

I was at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival and I ate two hits of acid. The friends I was camped with and I headed out of the campsite to go see STS9, but by the time we walked all the way to the gate and stood in the line I was starting to trip...as we entered "Centeroo" (the area separate from camping where all the stage are located), I realized that adventure was too tangible for me to go stand in a crowd (I realize now, having since become a fan of STS9, what insanity I must have missed.)

But the sky was beginning to get dark and the light was bathing everything in gold, the world was glowing in a way I'd never seen before, and I could see every living thing around me breathing in time to my heartbeat, so I think my distraction was understandable. I shouted to my friends that I would meet them back at camp, and scampered off.

A music and art festival is the perfect place to trip, because A) everyone else is already, is in the process of becoming, or has recently been just as ****** up as you are B) the whole damn place is designed as a playground of wonderful experiences for some chemically altered brain.

So in the course of my trip I danced in the Silent Disco, where everyone is given headphones that play the same DJ-produced music, but if you take your headphones off you can watch the dancers sans soundtrack (not to mention all the pretty shiny lights), I sank into a grassy field of giant, glowing bumblebees (not a hallucination, a sculptural installation), and then suddenly became caught up in a burlesque parade of stilt-walkers with giant bubble guns, flag twirlers, and various costumed creatures. I watched the live shows of Aesop Rock, the String Cheese Incident, and DJ Shadow, and danced with all my might. The shows were amazing, beautiful experiences...everyone costumed in bright colors, glow sticks woven in hair and through clothes and held and worn in every possible adornment, light shows as only jam / trip-hop bands can generate, just an overwhelming feeling of drama, of intensity, complete superhuman euphoria.

Eventually it was four am or so and the music stopped, so I left Centeroo (still completely alone, mind still completely expansive). I walked back to camp but realized that I couldn't possibly try to sleep (and there was no way I was going to actually sleep), so I told my campmates that I was off to "keep adventuring." Then I struck out eastward, headed toward the faint glow in the sky, across the several square miles of Bonnaroo campground.

I took no note of my direction, enamoured as I was with the way the pre-dawn air was drafting around my skin, the differences in brightness between the stars and the vague almost-sunlight beyond the rolling hills and haze in the distance, and the springy wetness of the grass beneath my feet.

I later retraced my route on a map (as best I could) and realized that I walked all the way from one end of the campgrounds (where my camp was) to the outermost far reaches of the other side before my attention was caught by the gentle sound of an acoustic guitar, some bongoes, and a tambourine. In my addled state I left the path and followed the music into the heart of a block of tangled tents, cars, tarps, and rope. Nestled in that labyrinth I found a music circle. I still remember the first few lines of dialogue:

Me: (both ecstatic and apprehensive at talking to people after what seems like hours of living entirely in my own ever-extending thoughts) Hello. I...I'm from far across. I was following the light...and I heard you. So I came.

Guy with the guitar who looked exactly like a lion: Greetings, wanderer from afar! We called you here to partake with us of this tequila sunrise!

With that he handed me a bottle of tequila and the tambourine, and we all sat there playing the songs we knew and I sang and tried to keep time with the tambourine until the sun was almost done rising. At that point I thought I'd better get home, so I thanked them for their hospitality and left.

The trip back to camp was somehow faster (although I didn't really know where I was, my sense of direction somehow managed to kick in.) I remember that the miles and miles of tents surrounding me were all lit up with diamond brilliance from the effect of the sun on the dew, and lots of people were huffing nitrous out of huge red balloons, and falling down laughing at my feet, and someone freed a helium balloon somewhere and I watched it float into the sky.

Eventually collapsed into my tent and watched the inner mesh layer become psychadelic fractals in my minds eye until I finally fell asleep.

scopinion scopinion 18-21, F 2 Responses Aug 4, 2008

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It was an experience that changed my life forever.<br><br />
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I think that anyone with a good grip on their own reality but a willingness to go with the flow of an alternate one should trip acid at least once. It can be one of the most spiritual experiences you ever have and teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you.

oh that sounds so awesome in this really different way :)