Bonnaroo in Pictures: Day 1

Stephanie Colgan

This past weekend, I set out to document the madness and insanity that is the Bonnaroo Music Festival. While I'm still processing the whole experience, highlights of the first day included shooting a portrait of Matt and Kim and meeting the jaunty young fellas in The Drums while Eminem's two-hour sound check provided the perfect soundtrack.

I quickly realized that there was a kind of exponential joy effect seeing these bands side by side in a relatively short period of time.  Seeing band after band just seemed to increase the fun.  Running out of one show to catch the end of another, and maybe another, felt spontaneous and exciting.

The wildest show of the first day was definitely Sleigh Bells.  For starters, VIPs were mistakenly allowed into the photo pit.  Sweaty chaos prevailed. The audience area was equally packed without an inch of room to move.  It seemed that every five minutes a person feeling faint would be jostled, pushed and pin-balled through the masses up to the barricade separating the crowd from the photography pit.  At that point, security guards would hoist the fainter up over the barricade, into the pit, and then would escort them out of the tent for safety.  It was impossible to tell if the person was leaving because they were ill, panicked, or being smooshed by the feverish crowd.  It definitely added an element of danger to this show!  Would somebody get trampled?  I wondered!   Sleigh Bells rocked hard and loud.

My very favorite performance, though, came courtesy of Deerhunter.  Security guards were not enforcing a three-song limit for photographers and so I tried to be inconspicuous and stayed in the photography pit for the duration of the show.  I had a prime view and was also perfectly situated when (gulp!) Bradford Cox hopped down off the stage and started shaking hands with adoring fans in the front row.

Photos by Stephanie Colgan

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