Houston artist Tyagaraja recently won the Ford Fiesta Team Houston Battle of The Bands, the grand prize of which was a trip to perform at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. Meghan Hendley, keyboardist/vocalist for Tyagaraja, reports back to us with her tales of the festival. Read the rest of her journey here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
As I lay in the humid trailer in the early morning hours of the final day of the festival, I came up with a list of my top four Bonnaroo shout-outs and thank-yous, which round out my entire festival experience:
The Merry Prankster
The court jester of the festival, dressed in thigh high white & green striped socks with a homemade knitted jester hat frolicking to and fro from every show. You kept a spring in our step. As you skipped by, you gave us a daily reminder of how bad people reek if they don't change clothes or take a shower at all during the festival.
The Worker Bees
Those officials and workmen who actually fixed our water pump, jiggled the right cords in order to make our power come back on so that we didn't die in the sweltering heat, filled our tank with water so that all band members took showers before our first gig, and opened up our trailer when we were locked out. If there was a Real Men Of Genius commercial being taped at Bonnaroo, these men would be included. All they wanted were smiles, a little fiddle playing (provided by the lovely Hilary Sloan, violinist for Tyagaraja) and a free cold beer.
The Pusher Man
The scraggly kid who was offering choice drugs to 80.000 people exiting the Jay-Z/Stevie Wonder concert as they were trying not to be trampled by others shoving & pushing, along with being swallowed up by the huge quicksand-like mud pit at the exit. If there was an award for most inopportune moment for a large sale, you, sir, win the World Cup of Stupidity at Bonnaroo.
The Pied Piper
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, you are the coolest lead vocalist of any band alive today. You are a pure musical ambassador for creativity, and really should be an ambassador to other countries due to the sheer level of your friendliness. After your magazine interview you gladly signed all autographs, took pictures, discussed Oklahoma with ones who had driven all the way from OKC, happily took info about Tyagaraja, along with thanking me and Houston for having them in concert at Free Press Summerfest. Meeting you was a highlight of my musical and journalistic career.
Last but not least, Tyagaraja and all my bandmates, you made the delirious drive deliciously entertaining along with my first major festival experience a time never to be forgotten. You made me remember the gift of pure joy in sharing a common experience all in the name of music. Also, you invited me into a family unit filled with strong determination and everlasting energy.
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As Josh Applebee, engineer for the Tyagaraja album Open Book, said "Besides performing an awesome set next to some of Houston's finest musicians, my favorite thing about Bonnaroo was the audiences. They were so engaged with the bands onstage... Every act on stage had as much wonder and awe on their faces as all the fans in the crowd."
Mike Poulos chimed in as well: "A well-overdue and deserved rock and roll moment... spend a lot of time taking it all in and reflecting on my own destiny. I have been inspired greatly as a result. I am grateful that we all shared this experience together, Spinal Tap moments and all!"
Marcus Gausepohl of Golden Cities: you were my Clyde, my foodie follower, my roadie, my Jay-Z dance partner and my angel who watched out for me throughout the hippiefied craziness and kept me sane. Also, you forced me to shake tired achy-feet blues to go to GWAR, which ended up being one of the best and craziest sets of music I have ever seen in my life!
Mark Austin and Amber Roussel of the Ford Fiesta Movement Team Houston: You both rock my socks and all the long hippie dresses I wore throughout the festival. You all worked tirelessly before, during and after for Tyagaraja. We all thank you for making our trip to Bonnaroo possible and going to bat for us during the entire stay. You two are the makers of the dream.