Monday, June 17, 2013

Veganaroo!!

This was my fourth year shooting concert pics at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee for my newspaper, The Memphis Flyer.

Each year, my friend and fellow reporter Shara Clark and I camp out in the media area (which is way nicer than the overpopulated and wild general camping grounds) and attend show after show in the blazing hot sun. She writes. I shoot. That means I get to stand in the photo pit right in front of the stage for the first three songs of most shows. Then they kick us out into the crowd. Basically, I have the best job ever.

This year's fest featured another amazing lineup — Bjork, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Purity Ring, Wu-Tang Clan, Big K.R.I.T, A$AP Rocky, Billy Idol, R. Kelly, Passion Pit, Pretty Lights, Porter Robinson, Weird Al Yankovic, comedian Bob Saget, and a horde of new indie and hip-hop acts I've never even heard of. And even though I could care less, Paul McCartney (yes, I hate the Beatles, but I do love all he does for vegetarianism), Tom Petty (yes, I hate his music), and The Lumineers (not into it, but people seem to like them) were there too.

I got some GREAT shots of the bands, and I'll share a pic from my fave performance of the weekend in a few. But you're here for food, not music. And luckily, Bonnaroo is VERY vegan-friendly. Most every food vendor has a vegan option. When 80,000 hippies gather for a weekend fest, you'd better believe vegan options are a must. I ate some meals at my campsite to save money (oats, instant ramen, and peanut butter and jelly wraps). But I also enjoyed lots of delicious vegan festie food.

We arrived at the festival on Thursday afternoon. Even though I had a snack at the campsite before heading to Centeroo (where the action happens), I was hungry again after we watched Purity Ring.  These Veggie Samosas with Dal were only $2 each!


On Friday, I ventured out in search of dinner after shooting Passion Pit. I'd heard about a BBQ tempeh vendor, but while searching for that place, I ran across Feel Good Foods, which had BBQ Soy Curls & Black Beans! Um, yes, please. Soy Curls > Tempeh.


It's easy to get overheated at Bonnaroo, especially when you're trying to drink beer and balance your water intake. There's very little shade in Centeroo, and the average daytime temp this year was 90 degrees. While wandering around Centeroo on Saturday, I started to feel a little crappy. Then I spotted one of the many Bonnaroo smoothie vendors. These are peppered all over Centeroo.


I had a Coconut-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie, and I instantly felt better.


Later on Saturday, hunger struck while we were watching Bjork's magical show. I hated to leave, so I stuck to the vendors close by where I could still hear her as I ordered this Tofu Bhan Mi. This was amazing — fried tofu, cilantro, crusty bread, and homemade plum sauce.


Bonnaroo goes all nearly all night with bands and DJs playing until the wee hours of the morning. I used to stay up until sunrise when we first started going, but I'm getting old, and I don't typically make it past 2 a.m. But that's still pretty late, definitely late enough to justify a fourth meal. I had this Channa Masala (forgive the crappy poorly lit shot) around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.


Even though we left on Sunday afternoon, it was my favorite day! Why? Because Macklemore & Ryan Lewis played, and I LOVE them more than anything ever. If "Thrift Shop" is the only Macklemore song you know, I challenge you to listen to his other stuff. He has plenty of funny songs, but he also raps the truth on so many important issues — LGBT equality, anti-consumerism, the problems of white privilege, homelessness, addiction. This dude is amazing.

I was shooting Macklemore at 2:30 p.m., so I fueled up first with this Funky Farmer Roti Roll from the Food Truck Oasis. That's slow-cooked curried squash, zucchini, and onions tucked inside an Indian flatbread.


My roti roll came from a truck of the same name in the oasis, an area where food trucks from across the country park and vend. Most of the vendors at Bonnaroo are set up in traditional stationary concession stands, but the Food Truck Oasis features real food trucks from all over.


Finally, at 2:30, the magical moment came! I was inches from Macklemore's face in the photo pit. Here's my favorite shot. He spotted someone in the crowd wearing a faux fur (and yes, it was definitely faux, although Macklemore has some issues with wearing real animals occasionally ... my only beef with him), and he had that person crowdsurf their coat to the stage so he could wear it for "Thift Shop."


Awwwwwww .....

16 comments:

Rachel from The Vegan Mishmash said...

Mmmm...the food all looks amazing! Especially the samosas. I'm a sucker for Indian food.

Also, how cool is it that you to go see Macklemore?! I'm so jealous.

Babette said...

I wish I could attend a festival with so many vegan-friendly options. It certainly looks like you had fun working!

Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! said...

How rad! Also, that Banh Mi looks insane. I'm pretty much drooling right now.

coconutandberries said...

What an amazing line-up! Awesome to be right at the front too :)
I want that Roti roll and Samosa/Dal plate!

Sarah Hope said...

Ahhh! Roti Rolls is a food truck from my hometown of Charleston, SC. It's the one thing I miss the most since I moved to Memphis. I'm so glad you got to taste the deliciousness. :)

Barb@ThatWasVegan? said...

Super jelly about the food and Macklemore! I love all his songs, he just seems so unafraid to focus on the issues that really matter. And, of course, you just can't help but sing along to Thrift Shop, haha

Katherine said...

OMG you're making me hungry!! Love your blog. :)

Michelle said...

Love Macklemore- what a great shot! Your job sound like the best one in the world! And hurray for tons of vegan options :) Always good to see.

Caitlin said...

i'm astonished at the amount of vegan options! everything looks fabulous!

Lesley Eats said...

The veg*n options have gotten a lot better at Bonnaroo over the years. The first one I went to (2006, I think) offered not much more than fries and pizza. Starting in 2008, they really improved the food. It's as good as the music now. :)

Holly said...

I'm really glad to see how many vegan options there were at Bonnaroo! My husband and I went in 2009 and would like to go again, but we weren't even vegetarian yet at the time. Good to know we'll be able to buy food there.

Adi said...

You were so lucky! I'm a sucker for concerts and I've always wanted to see Billy Idol!
My boyfriend works as a security at concerts and he had worked over 3 Bjork shows, she's a pretty eccentric lady.

Everything you ate looks extremely delicious by the way! I think I'm going to have to serve myself another bowl of spaghetti just to cope with the teasing of these photos.

vegcourtesy.blogspot.com

vegan.in.brighton said...

So many vegan options! What a rad festival!

samantha said...

:O I was front row at the Macklemore concert because I love him as well! Also, all the vegan food was great. I had a vegan big mac from a vendor super close to my campsite xD

christophe said...

omg. I live in the UK. We need a festival like that over here.

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