The man sleeping under a tarp two cars over jumped a fence, scrambled through a barn, cut his legs, scraped his face, and is bumming his shelter off of a friendly fella with a tail gate.
Now that’s dedication.
But our neighbor didn’t come because he’s been dying to see Phil Lesh revive a little bit of The Dead, or waiting his whole life to see Les Claypool lay down a fat bass riff. In fact, he doesn’t even plan on leaving the campground.
No, our neighbor is a different breed of Bonnaroo aficionado. He is the entrepreneur, and he’ll sleep under some stranger’s tailgate four days to peddle what it is he’s selling.
While Bonnaroo makes an effort to keep up the free-music, free-love vibe they have not made too much of an effort to keep out the overpriced vultures who get official clearance and sit inside of Centeroo charging eight bucks for a gyro sandwich, or two dollars for a little bottle of water.
That’s where my friendly neighbor and many like him who set up chairs outside of their tents to service our various needs come in.
In their defense, most of the campsite vendors bought tickets and drove their goods through the front gate. Meagan, Kevin and James drove
down from Connecticut with two grills, a cutting board, a big pointy knife and plenty of goods to make us cheap quesadillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also brought a book for their clientele to sign, draw and mull over, a huge spatula, and hearts of gold. They missed a lot of the shows, but it was a party at their tent.
A few feet over a guy from California had a pitcher full of Bloody Mary, and who wants to make the 15 minute walk to Centeroo without that dandy little morning drink?
In ten minutes I could find Red Bull, vodka lemonade and a cookie of mysterious content all for around ten bucks. Ahh, free enterprise, what would we do without you? The drinks were always strong, the food was always warm, and the vibe wasn’t condescending. These people weren’t trying to rip folks off, they were working for their buck while we jammed inside and laughed at the over-priced carnival food.
Between the tents it was a little more informal. He’ll sing us a song if you’ll give him a cigarette. How about a shot off that bottle for granola and some baby wipes?
For four days Manchester housed a colony of industrious, good-willed partiers who embraced the barter system, and gave up plastic.
Here’s to the one-tribe ideal, progress and hope. Here’s to the entrepreneur.