Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bonnaroo has brought remarkable list of artists to my doorstep

Well, if the weather is hot, then it must be time for Bonnaroo. Each year, the music festival transforms Manchester and Coffee County into the center of the popular music universe.

While opinions vary about whether this event is good for our community, I must admit there is part of me that enjoys being at the center of the universe. When it comes to notoriety, there are worse things for which to be known.

While many towns in our area appear to be shriveling up, this event (for better or worse) really juices up our community. After all, what is McMinnville known for? How about Winchester? What about Sparta?

All three of those towns are fine places to visit, and I am sure if I lived there I would be somewhat offended by the tone of this column. Still, the next time a person finds himself driving through one of our sister towns, spend some time examining how they are making it these days.

Times are tough all over. I guess what I am trying to express is that it is nice to experience some prosperity during a time in which it is difficult to be prosperous.

Hopefully, some of our visitors attending Bonnaroo will stop at some of the towns I just mentioned and eat a meal or fill up their gas tank there. Every dollar counts these days.

As for the festival itself, it is still a little hard to believe an event like this takes place here. Being born and raised in Manchester, I would have never believed when I was younger that our town could support and survive an event this big.

When I was in high school in the early 1980s, I would have scoffed at anybody who suggested that artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen would someday perform about three miles from my house. I probably would have advised that person to stop smoking what many of our guests at Bonnaroo are likely smoking this weekend.

During my high school days, popular music was as bland as eating a napkin. Bands like Journey, Styx, and Foreigner led the charge when it came to migraine-inducing music. It really was not a good time for people who like meaningful music.

A band my friends and I gravitated toward was Creedence Clearwater Revival. CCR is likely the greatest American rock and roll band. Listen to the radio all day, and a person will likely hear their songs many times.

This year, John Fogerty is scheduled to perform at Bonnaroo. Fogerty, of course, was the driving force behind CCR. He arranged and produced their albums as well as writing remarkable songs like 'Proud Mary,' 'Bad Moon Rising,' 'Green River,' 'Down on the Corner,' 'Fortunate Son,' 'Up Around the Bend,' and others.

I have been fortunate to see him perform several times, most notably at the Ryman Auditorium in the late 90s. It was a great show at a great venue.

I guess I can add Fogerty to the list of great artists to perform near my house. I guess my house is a happening place. Who would have guessed?

As for this year, the best way local citizens can assist with the influx of guests we are experiencing is to just be nice to them. 'Doing unto others' can also apply to music festivals and the challenges that come along with them.

In a couple of days, it will all be over, and our lives will return to normal.

Of course, normal can be defined in different ways. By Monday, I think I will define normal as just wanting peace and quiet.

No comments: