I've been hesitant to add a new blog entry because it bumps that great picture of Lola (taken by my mom) off the front page, but she (Lola, not my mom) is currently out of favor after chasing something imaginary last night, scratching me across my right arm, stomach, and left leg (not to mention scaring the bejesus out of me). This incident (the second of its kind) reminded me of those animal training experts who warn pet owners never to forget that their beloved Fido is actually a wild beast. I often recall this warning when I'm playing fetch with my parents' Great Dane (affectionately known as Maddy-roo) and think what if, instead of running after this plastic bunny, she just decides to eat me?
And speaking of things that I love about Tennessee that also scare me a little, Bonnaroo just concluded a mere ten miles (the way the crow flies) from my hometown. You can hear it from certain local front porches. The stats: 700 acres; 144 artists; 80,000 fans; and 1 death. (6 deaths in the 6 years of the festival.) Let me be clear, lest I somehow imply that I'm unusually knowlegeable about this event: this sort of thing is not my cup of tea. The crowds, the heat, the drugs. Not for me. But I am envious of those of heartier constitutions who can camp out for four days and hear such artists as The Police (for real), The White Stripes, Wilco, Manu Chao, Gillian Welch, et al.
The obvious comparison is Woodstock. 32 artists; 500,000 fans; 3 deaths; I can't find the farm acreage. More importantly, however, is the spirit of the event. While I don't endorse censorship of lyrics, I am frustrated by artists who profit from the promotion of violence. And I simply don't buy the argument that certain types of music won't sell if they aren't about guns, drugs, and whores. Or, on the flip side, if they're against the war. I offer the popularity of Bonnaroo's musicians as evidence. In his New York Times article about the event (yep, The Times covers Bonnaroo), John Pareles mentions several artists and bands with openly anti-war, human rights, and otherwise political songs. These artists are in a position to start conversations, and they're taking that responsibility. Despite the dearth of bathing facilities, Bonaroo seems downright refreshing.