If you haven’t read part one of this post, you can catch up right here.
Now, where were we…
Saturday began bright and early once again, after a night of sound sleep in our tiny, sweaty tent with the lovely background of EDM music in the distance serving as our white noise. Haley and I wanted to take advantage of some extra time, so we headed in to Centeroo early to check out some of the things we hadn’t had time for yet. (and to charge our phones because all of our portable chargers were dead by this point in the weekend). We began our morning with $14 chicken biscuits (I’ll say they were almostttt worth it) and sat under That Tent to enjoy the shade and giant fans.
We stopped by the Hulu “Motel” and ended up there right on time for a giveaway of free Hulu Motel slippers. Then we found a phone charging station at the Tito’s Vodka tent that wasn’t open yet, and as time went on and the tent was opened, we were rewarded with a shade umbrella, a bench, and free Tito’s hats, sunglasses, and bandanas. Somehow, we scored the VIP treatment there!
Then, we realized we really needed a bag to carry around all of our free stuff, so we wandered over to the Toyota tent and got free Bonnaroo tote bags! It truly was an eventful morning 🙂
Our first set of the day was The Backseat Lovers, one of my must-see shows of the weekend. They’re another fantastic indie rock band, with a harder sound. They ran a little late starting their set, but they were so incredible it was worth the wait. I knew a few of their songs and fell in love with several more. They have an amazing stage presence and just really know how to jam! I hope to be able to see them again very soon.
After that set, we had a big gap in our schedule and, frankly, needed a little break from the sun, so we made the trip back to camp to get some rest and shade before our night commenced. A quick wardrobe change was also in order, so we could feel at least a little bit less sweaty.
Our first show back in Centeroo for the night was Jack Antonoff’s big 1984 Superjam. I had been told by several people not to miss the Superjam, and really wanted to see Jack Antonoff since I had missed the Bleachers set the day before. It also started late (I think there were some technical difficulties on that stage that day) but was still a super fun show! Jack Antonoff is so fun to watch perform, and he brought out some other musicians that had played over the weekend, so it was a one-of-a-kind set. It was also a blast to dance and sing to some 80s classics.
During the Superjam, Haley and I had another of our weird luck moments…
As I was hanging out, dancing around, I looked over to the side and saw Joshua Harmon, the front-man of The Backseat Lovers. I was starstruck for a second there and had to nudge Haley and point him out. It was so funny to see him dancing and grooving right next to me when I had just watched him on stage a few hours before. I wish I’d gotten a picture, but didn’t want to bother him while he was enjoying the set, so I just told him how awesome their set was and how much I loved it, and he was such a sweetheart!
Haley and I cut out of the Superjam a few songs early for a very important reason: we HAD to get pit for Billy Strings at What Stage. Haley is the biggest Billy Strings fan I know and has since converted me (but more on that later). We linked arms and sprinted through the packed crowds, slipping through cracks and jumping over picnic blankets. The whole time, Haley was chanting Billy’s name.
We got over and hopped right in pit line, and our wait wasn’t bad at all. We really felt good once we split a chicken bacon ranch quesadilla and were no longer hangry. (We ended up eating that same quesadilla two other times over the weekend, it was that good). After about 45 minutes of waiting, we headed into the pit for the show with no issues, and it was so exciting to anticipate the start of the show.
I was excited for the show, mostly because Haley was, but oh, my god, I was totally blown away once it got going`. Bily and the band KILLED it. I’ve never seen anyone play bluegrass like that, and Haley and I had the time of our lives dancing and enjoying the whole thing. Billy’s sound and lyrics are just unlike anything else. It’s kind of like punk rock, hippie-jam bluegrass and I am obsessed. The talent was so clear, and I’d go see him again in a heartbeat.
I was so impressed by the performance and Haley really enjoyed having a “told-you-so” moment afterward, since she had been trying to get me to listen to him forever and I hadn’t ever really paid him much mind. I declare myself a changed woman after that set; Billy Strings ROCKS!
After Billy Strings, we headed out of the pit to find a spot to wait on TOOL. We love TOOL, and definitely wanted to see them, but aimed to get the heck out of dodge so we didn’t get involved in any kind of dad rock mosh pit that night. We quickly found a drink tent, paid $6 for some more sweet teas, and camped out a nice little empty spot at the back of the crowd to wait. We were so incredibly sleep deprived and so amazingly hype from the Billy Strings set that we were another kind of delirious. We could not stop making the dumbest jokes and doing stupid dances and cracking ourselves up. It was honestly one of the most fun nights of the weekend.
TOOL was awesome, and I’m glad we did get to see at least a bit of their set. My dad was so excited (and so jealous) I was going to get to see them, so of course I grabbed a shirt from the merch stand on our way out of Centeroo to bring home to him.
This. This is the day I was waiting for. This is the day that the whole weekend led up to, and I think this picture tells you everything you need to know:
Thats right folks, Sunday was Stevie day. The day I would see THE Stevie Nicks in person. And I was a bundle of anticipation and nerves all day.
First thing, we packed up camp so we wouldn’t be totally miserable trying to do it when we got back at like midnight that night. It was sad to pack up all of the things that had made up our home that weekend, but we knew it’d be better to get it done earlier rather than later. After packing, we got dressed Stevie-style and headed into Centeroo for the very last time! :,)
We headed in earlier than we needed to so we could make time for all the exploring and photo ops we still hadn’t gotten to yet that weekend. We wanted to see as much as possible in the time we had left.
Our first set to catch was flipturn at 12:45 in This Tent. flipturn was a perfect high-energy way to start our day, and Haley and I enjoyed just jamming along with them. We sat for their set, only because we felt the need to preserve as much energy as possible.
After flipturn, we tried to keep checking out more tents and things around the farm that we hadn’t seen yet, since it was our last day to be a part of it all. We checked out the M&Ms tent, where we got our picture taken and learned that our personalities match the Red M&M. We walked away with some sweet freebies: enamel pins of the Red M&M, and bags of specialty Bonnaroo printed M&Ms (which we had to hurry up and eat before they melted all over us).
We also got to watch from afar as some people got hitched in the “MatROOmoney” tent, which we found endlessly entertaining.
We tried to just wander around and soak up as much atmosphere as we could, not yet ready to say goodbye. We caught bits and pieces of random sets as we moved from shady spot to shady spot.
We had one more must-see show, Stephen Sanchez on Who Stage. We wandered over there and had a great spot on the rail for a wonderful show! If you haven’t heard his vintage-style love song “Until I Found You” GO LISTEN!! And also listen to “Lady By The Sea” while you’re at it.
Later on, we were sitting outside of That Tent waiting on Zach Bryan, an artist Haley was wanting to see. We had found a nice little shady spot to sit (on the asphalt road that ran through Centeroo, but we took it nonetheless). I think it was Tinashe who was playing in That Tent while we waited. We sat, chugged liquid IV, and people-watched. I’ll tell you, I think that was the most interesting people watching we did all weekend. First, we saw a group of people we knew just HAD to be somebody, because they had that look and all had artist’s wristbands on. Neither of us recognized them, but later on we found out it was all of MGK’s band and his daughter, which we thought was pretty funny.
Also, about 10 minutes later, I saw a group of guys who looked insanely familiar. About 2 seconds after that, under the disguise of a baseball cap and a mask, I recognized none other than the lead singer of Wallows. I was talking to Haley and stopped mid-sentence to say “Oh my god, that’s Dylan Minette…” Haley later told me it took her a minute to process what I said because I said it so nonchalantly. She and I just froze. We were too starstruck to say anything, so we just watched him until he was out of sight and then turned to each other and started hysterically laughing because we couldn’t believe he was right in front of us. It was just our weird luck again I guess. I had been sad to have to choose between seeing Wallows’ set or getting in line early for Stevie, so I took this as a sign from the universe that I had made the right choice.
We ended up catching just a few songs of Zach Bryan’s set before the big event of the night: tackling the pit line for Stevie.
I knew her set would be insanely crowded, 1. because she’s Stevie, and 2. because it was the last show of the weekend, so I really wanted to get to What Stage early to get a good spot. I debated back and forth on even trying to get in the pit, but I ultimately decided this was basically a once in a lifetime experience. We cut out of Zach Bryan’s set early and made the (painful) decision to miss the Wallows set so we could get a spot in line about 2 hours before Stevie was slated to go on.
We made our way over to What Stage through the crowds and found the back of the line. It wasn’t too bad; it ran along the rail and then doubled back on itself, but by the looks of it, we would easily get in and have a good spot.
Well folks, that’s just about where it all went wrong. Before I tell you about the magic of Stevie, I have to tell you about the absolute HELL we endured before it.
All weekend, I had been joking that I would “do anything” and “risk my life” to see Stevie. I had no idea that a hot trash pile of a pit line would actually force me to do anything to see her. First, you must know that Haley and I were quite literally the last morally right people in the pit line. We asked around to make sure we had joined in at the right spot, making sure we didn’t get in front of anyone, and quickly made friends with the people in front of us. Just minutes after we claimed our spot and settled in to wait out MGK’s set, people began to crowd around the line and cut in front of the people who had been waiting. It started out with one, and then five, and then 50 people, crowding around the entrance gate, ignoring the once-orderly line. Haley and I couldn’t believe our eyes. We had been in the pit for two other shows that weekend and hadn’t seen anyone cut line or be pushy. As the night went on, it only got worse. There were at least 100 people that had crowded around those of us who had been waiting for hours, and everyone just kept pushing in closer and closer to the gate. Neither Haley nor I are one to shy away from confrontation, so we were not the ones to cross. I’ve never yelled (and okay, maybe cussed a little) at so many people in one night in my life. I overheard one girl that cut in front of us laugh and brag to her friend that the only song she knew was “Dreams,” and that’s the closest I’ve ever come to punching somebody right in the face. There were grown men pushing me and grabbing me, trying to get closer in.
Haley and I, along with Amanda (our friend from in front of us) decided we would be the front lines and were determined to block the people who tried to cheat the system so those that had been waiting 8+ hours could take their rightful spots. It got so bad that security was called, and the guard announced that if it kept on like it was, he wouldn’t be letting anyone into the pit. There were people screaming, crying, having panic attacks, and the others just kept pushing and pushing. Genuinely, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Those of us in the actual line resolved to link arms in hopes we could join together and get in before the rest.
Once the gates were opened, it was literally a fight for our lives. Haley and Amanda and I joined arms and were pushed and dragged until we finally made it through the gate, where the security guard encouraged us: “come on girls! come on!” We ran through the fences, and kind of dissolved into relieved laughter once we were finally in the pit and in the clear. That’s when anxiety was finally able to give way into pure excitement. We celebrated with the others beside us who had been in line and made it through the horror and got ready to see the person we were all there for.
I can’t even describe the feeling when Stevie came on stage. It was so insane to see her right in front of me, someone who I’ve loved for so long. She was as magical and charming as I imagined she would be. You know sometimes when you build something up so much in your head, and then it just doesn’t quite live up to expectations? Well Stevie lived up to everything and then some. She was worth every minute of pushing and shoving and screaming.
She still has such an incredible voice, even after performing for over 50 years. She sang some Fleetwood Mac favorites, some of her solo greats, and even covered “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin (making that the second time we’d heard that cover over the weekend). I heard “Gypsy” and “Stop Draggin’ my Heart Around” and “Gold Dust Woman” and so many more. In her encore, she performed “Freefallin'” against the background of a slideshow of her and Tom Petty together, and I nearly lost it. Don’t even get me started on when she sang “Landslide”… (I sobbed). Every minute was better than the last, and I just can’t express how my life was made by hearing my favorite songs in the world performed live. Haley and Amanda and I danced and sang our hearts out, soaking up every moment.
After that performance, I genuinely felt like my life was fulfilled. I couldn’t have asked for a better closing show for the most amazing weekend. As we made our way through the thousands of people heading toward the exit that night, we took a minute to say goodbye to the Arch and promise we’d be back next year.
And thus concludes one of the best weekends of my entire life. Thank you all for coming on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoyed reading about the adventures and music. That’s all for Roo ’22, and I’m counting down until next year already!
Until next time, Sophia ❤