Arriving in Nashville, Tennessee, we actually had a family waiting to take us in. Max’s godparents live on a large piece of property off 12th avenue, just south of downtown. They have not one but two houses on the lot, with the second one being off-set behind the first and much smaller, like a guest house. This house became home to us derelicts for the next eight or nine days (minus the five days in the middle for Bonnaroo Th-M). We posted up there for a couple days, some relaxing and resting around the house, others shopping and drinking downtown while enjoying the 6th Annual CMT Country Music Festival.
It was actually a complete surprise to use that this festival was going on. None of us listen to country, we had no idea. It just timed perfectly, so we went with it. For those of you have have never been to the CMT Country Music Festival (which I am guessing is probably just about every single person reading this), it is kinda of like SXSW in Austin, TX. Hordes of bands and performers arrive in town and are playing at just every venue, restaurant, park, and open stage in town, and while plenty of the shows are free, the best ones require you to have a pre-purchased event pass to get in.
And while I am not a fan of country, never have been and probably never will be, it was fun to listen to something different for a few days. Plus it seems like most people were performing what I would call “good country,” versus a lot of that whiny B.S. “my girl left me and my pickup died”-type country music.
The second day out weather was great. We started off with a few of us going back downtown to do some shopping and catch a late lunch.
After an hour or two of visiting every shop and tent selling items on Broadway, we decided to stop at Broadway Brewhouse Downtown for some food. We also started getting drunk there. Every heard of a tough man shot? It is when you snort the salt, shoot the tequila, and then chase it by squirting the lime juice in your eye. Definitely interestingly painful. And you have to do them in pairs, otherwise one side of your face is burning but not the other (and that feels awkward). Check out the video.
After about an hour eating and drinking inside the restaurant, we paid our tab and were just barely walking towards the door when suddenly, out of nowhere, it began to pour and thunder. Within mere minutes the streets and sidewalks were flooded and people everywhere had taken shelter inside the Broadway businesses.
The following four pictures, according to the meta data, were all taken within a span of four minutes. Look just how quickly that water rises and overtakes not only the sidewalk but also the lower couple inches of the building. Also notice the blue hoses running along the curbs. We had noticed them all along Broadway and although they look temporary, in places they were actually paved over. The whole time we were wondering why they were there too… How quickly we learned.
So for the next 20 minutes we stay inside the restaurant and posted up at the bar, ordering a few more drinks and enjoying the sudden cold breeze whipping through the establishment. And then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it disappeared, and quickly thereafter so too did the water. But since we had all gotten a good buzz already, we decided to start bar-hopping down Broadway.
The other thing we were drinking besides tough man shots were Picklebacks. Never heard of a Pickleback either? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. As the story goes, it was discovered at Burning Man 2009 when supplies were running low. What you do is take a full shot of whiskey, pretty much any type of whiskey (although obviously not Scotch or anything), and then chase it (i.e. “back it”) with a sip of pickle juice — and I’m talking just a sip, 1/10th – 1/20th of a shot, it does not take much.
Because they are an acid and a base they cancel each other out and immediately any taste of whiskey is gone, you are just left with the faintest taste of pickles in your mouth. I don’t even like pickles but I love Picklebacks!
We did these at every festival, starting with Wakarusa — I was actually greeted at 8am with them one day. I refused but the bottle and cup of pickle juice went all the way around the circle and back to me with everyone loving it, so I thought “What the hell, can’t be too bad!” Wow, I tell you, I probably did 1,000 pickleback shots over the next six months. It became a routine for me to ask bars / restaurants — before even ordering my first drink — do you guys serve pickles here? Because if they didn’t have a fresh tub of pickles from which to obtain the necessary juice, well then obviously
Yeah, the pictures pretty much continue like that. Lot of picklebackin’ and a lot of tough man shots but absolutely fantastic times. And then it came time for Bonnaroo Music Festival, which was being held about Manchester, Tennessee, not far southeast of Nashville. On Wednesday, the night before the start of the fest, we went to what is supposedly the only liquor warehouse in Nashville, Frugal MacDoogal’s, and stocked up so we could continue drinking for free as well as selling drinks for gas money and expenses along the road.
Not-as-early-as-planned Thursday morning, after a kick-ass homemade breakfast by Max’s godmother, we loaded up the Future bus and headed down I24 on what should have been a short trip to Manchester. Unfortunately, the Bonnaroo traffic made what should have been less than an hours drive a 40-mile standstill. Luckily thanks to our kickass bus we just bypassed everyone until we were about 1,000 feet from the entrance, at which point we cut in line. But no worries, we bribed the people we cut in front of by having the girls jump out with a tray of jell-o shots and cheers of “Woo-hoo, we’re here! Bonnaroo!”
It worked perfectly!
After that it took less than 20 minutes for us to make it past security and begin hunting for a parking spot.
I just noticed I have 384 pictures from Bonnaroo that are in the “good” folder and this post is already this long. May have been a little presumptuous of me to think I could adequately cover Nashville, the Country Music Festival, and Bonnaroo Music Festival all in one blog post. I’ll post a gallery of Bonnaroo pictures after this post but for now I will only mention the most interesting part of the whole weekend.
Thursday afternoon, as things were just getting rolling, a news crew came around and asked to interview us. Rummell was the interviewee, but a bunch of us made it in the shots and the clip aired that night on at least the Nashville news — not sure about any other central Tennessee channels. I even ended up meeting one guy Friday night whom had seen the clip Thursday night while packing for the fest.
Sadly, there was at least one death from heat exhaustion at Bonnaroo that year. On Sunday night when the Nashville news aired a segment about people partying too hard and suffering from heat exhaustion, they re-used the footage of people wildly dancing in front of the Future bus while they did the voice-over. Tsk tsk tsk, just like a news group, using their footage for good or bad, whatever fits their story of the day…
At Bonnaroo we had two more join on group, bringing the total to 14, but before even making it back to Nashville we had lost several people to the airport. After saying our goodbyes, the remaining eight of us returned to the house off 12th Avenue for another couple days of partying Nashville style By this time the Country Music Festival had packed up and left town, so we were free to see how the Nashville downtown is on normal weeknights. And we were able to go honky-tonkin’ on Broadway! You just have not truly experienced Nashville until you’ve done that. As a matter of fact, my fridge still has a bumper sticker that reads “I was honky-tonkin’ on Broadway in Nashville!”
The adventures will continue tomorrow with Chapter Four: DexFest, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Asheville, North Carolina. I will leave you with some closing post-Bonnaroo pictures from our final couple days in Nashville. (Or you can skip straight to the comments)