Ask Rolling Stone music critic Austin Scaggs what he thinks of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and that's what you'll hear.
Well, that's the short version, anyway.
, an eight-time 'Roo'er himself - soon to be nine-time 'Roo veteran when this weekend is over - has been to late-night sets Kanye West and LCD Soundsystem, wandered the campgrounds inebriated on more than music and taken the time to ride the Ferris wheel.
"You feel like you are a million miles from the cities," said Scaggs
, explaining why the festival his
magazine has called "The Best" has been able to bring 80,000-plus people to Manchester, Tenn. for 10 years.
"You feel like you are in your own world," he
"It's the middle of nowhere.
The remote location helps get people into that atmosphere."
Scaggs has worked for Rolling Stone for 12 years, most of which it seems has been spent covering Bonnaroo.
views on the festival are mostly in the positive.
has managed to find more to enjoy about the festival than most.
likes watching bands climb the musical ladder from nobody stages to headliner status; he
wanders the campgrounds, somehow took positive from the Kanye West debacle of 2008, praises the festival for its diversity and says the guests are as good as it gets.
Perhaps a sin to hardcore Bonnaroo faithful of the first year or two, Scaggs
isn't a jam-band type.
And despite the moans from a few original bonnarites, the decision of festival organizers to take a turn towards more diversity only made economical sense, Scaggs
"[Promoting a diverse lineup has] been a good economic decision for [Bonnaroo]," Scaggs
"There is no curfew, which also sets Bonnaroo apart from all the other major festivals in the United States," explained Scaggs
"The only bad thing is the heat," said Scaggs
, emphasizing last year may have caused a few more sunburns on festival-goers than years past.
"The best publicity is word of mouth," stated Scaggs
Once again, Scaggs
is drawing from experience when it comes to positive vibes and word-of-mouth promotion.
"At Bonnaroo, you get musicians who actually enjoy hanging out there … stay for the weekend," explained Scaggs
"Once they crossed into the hip hop area - Jay-Z, Eminem
- the flood gates are open," stated Scaggs