Friday, July 6, 2012

Back in NY!

Hello everyone! I am back at home in New York and already thinking about where to go next... Luckily, my current job is awesome and lets me travel a fair bit. But before I tell you about that, I have some really exciting news! I wrote a guest post for the travel blog Beers and Beans. Check it out here: Also don't forget to check out the blog Sensible Reason, which I also write and edit for.

Right now I am currently working for an amazing organization known as HeadCount, which registers voters at concerts and festivals. My job title is festival coordinator, which means that I help to organize and manage our volunteer teams that we send to music festivals. My first festival was Bonnaroo, a large festival in Tennessee near Chattanooga. I literally got in the car to go there when I got off the plane from France in New York's JFK airport. It took forever to get there, because we also had to pick someone up right in the heart of NYC. I think in total it was over 20 hours. Awful. However, I've never really seen Tennessee and from what I saw, it was gorgeous.

My brother Will came with me too and to get there we did a ride share with the website Zim Ride. The people we were ride sharing with were from New Haven, CT. They were going to be CouchSurfing with someone who lived in Chattanooga and apparently it was awesome- the guy they stayed with was very well off and they partied on yachts all weekend.

Bonnaroo was a nice festival. It has a real mix of music, from country to dubstep. The most famous headliners included Radiohead, Phish, The Beach Boys, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Skrillex. There was also a movie theater, a comedy house, a fun little spray park, post office, and garden with DIY info sessions. However, Bonnaroo is one of the largest and most well known festivals in the country, so I was a little dissapointed how little was spent on art displays and smaller stages. If you look at a map of Bonnaroo, the camping area is twice the size of the actual venue area, and at about $300 a ticket, that's a ton of money being made. After being at the festival Bestival in England, I realized that there is so much that could be done to actually make the festival into its own little world. There was a lot of free space in the central venue area that I think could have been filled. There also were smaller staging areas littered throughout the campsite areas that I did not get to see and weren't on the maps, so maybe if I had had more time to see those I would have appreciated the festival more...

After Bonnaroo, I came home to relax for a bit. I spent some time in New York City and I must mention this one restaurant I went to. It is called Buger Joint and its actually found in the Le Parker Hotel. It's kind of expensive for just burger and fries, but they taste awesome and the ambience is so cool. When we got there, you walk into this amazingly beautiful and swanky hotel and you think you've probably walked into the wrong place. But then you turn a left after the front desk, go down a small and narrow hallway, and then you arrive in this dimly lit and slightly grungy burger joint. You have to search pretty hard to find a table and you have to wait in line for your order. The staff is also pretty rude. However, the food is amazing.

I also ate at a restaurant called Pies and Thighs in the Brooklyn area known as Williamsburg. They serve pulled pork, fried chicken, and pies. I think the pulled pork was just ok, but the pies were awesome. One of the pies we had was apple pie with a square of cheddar cheese under it. Sounds gross, tastes awesome.

Then I headed over to Rothbury, Michigan for the music festival Electric Forest. This festival is predominantly electronic music, featuring artists such as Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9), Big Gigantic, Bassnectar, String Cheese Incident and other leading artists in the field. E Forest is famously known for its signature Sherwood Forest, a large, wooded area with lasers, lights, art installations, music, small stages, and more. It's absolutely amazing and should be something all festivals look to do. It is interactive, unique, cool, and modern. The downside to the festival was that the staff and volunteers running the festival were incredibly uninformed about the festival- I couldn't find a map or anyone who could tell me where to find one and most questions I asked were responded with an "I'm not sure."

I'll be headed to the festivals Camp Bisco and the Gathering of the Vibes with Head Count in July. I'll be sure to update you guys soon!