Bonnaroo 2011: From a Rigger’s Diary

BonnarooIt took nearly 24 hours of unbroken sleep to recover from my Bonnaroocleosis. Like other workers, performers, and festicle-goers in attendance, I’ve been hacking up silty brown lung-dumplings and blowing whole coal fields of black boogers into rolls of tissue.

The annual Bonnaroo dust storm could be a preview of the world after a nuclear cataclysm, where those so privileged will wring their desperate satisfaction from tingling chemicals, sun-seared flesh on display, and the pulsating rhythm of pleasure machines, leaving pathetic Plebeians to pick through the scraps.

Once again, I had a blast under the mushroom cloud.

Monday, June 6
Say “Moo,” motherfucker

I’m late as usual to pick up Glen the Red, a fellow rigger who packed his camping gear and work tools hours ago. We hurtle down the highway to pick up our credentials at Manchester’s high school.

I ask the hipster behind the counter about the RFID tags that are now implanted in festicle-goers’ wristbands. He tells me the electronic chips are to weed out ticket fraud, but also to assist in the identification and removal of evil-doers.

I ask him if the information will be used for marketing demographics. With RFID readers carefully placed around the site, promoters should be able to see who goes to what shows, and for how long. This would render the profit pyramid with unprecedented accuracy. (How fitting that RFID technology got its start in cow-herding, warehouse management, and Apocalyptic propaganda.)

Clerky McClipboard tells me that demographic studies are under development, and that hopefully people will be able to purchase overpriced consumer goods via microchip next year. This is vaguely depressing—in an End Times kind of way—but not as depressing as the crummy Staff Pass he hands me. What happened to the premium passes?

On site, Gator is waiting to welcome us into The Grove, where we pitch our tents beneath gently swaying oaks surrounded by barbed wire. This is sacred space backstage, set apart from the turmoil and communicable diseases of the circus tent ghettos which house most festicle workers—the riggers, steel dogs, stagehands, security guards, and volunteer trash-scrappers. If you happen by The Grove, just assume that you are not invited…

Read the rest at Rock Star Martyr