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Tennesee Rocks (and Twangs)

Posted by on Monday, June 9, 2008 in Balance, Music, Nashville, Rites of Spring, Summer.

Random Stranger on Airplane: So, where are you from?
Brad: Nashville.
Random Stranger on Airplane: Do you like Country music?
Brad: Not really.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve engaged in this conversation, I could buy every record I’ve ever wanted to own from the record store. If only I could pay for the gas to get there.

No question about it: Nashville does have plenty of Country music. Living here gives frequent exposure to the record industry, songwriters, studio musicians, t-shirt companies, hipster restaurants, live music venues, boot outlets, sequin factories, and happenstance encounters with celebrities at the grocery store.

But there is so much more to listen to. For example, take a look at the Next Big Nashville Festival–a five day, multi-venue festival in Nashville showcasing local rock, pop, and indie bands. Vanderbilt itself is a large purveyor of musical opportunities. During the school year there are at least three large concerts including the multi-day, end of the year blowout called Rites of Spring.

It is no coincidence that this blog appears during the second weekend in June on the eve of the largest single-site music festival in North America. It’s called Bonnaroo. I know that some of you are familiar because each year during our online prospective student chats, there is a small but mighty group of students who plan their campus visits around the festival.

If you’re not familiar, it is an annaul event hosted in Manchester, Tennessee, about an hour southeast of Nashville. This year, there are nine seperate stages running almost continually with some of the best touring bands in the world–very few which play anything even close to Country. Add to that venues for comedy, music, art, and karaoke and you have an almost inevitable scheduling nightmare.

Here is what my Friday looks like:

1. Wake up.
2. Eat breakfast.
3. See the following bands: Jose Gonzalez, The Fiery Furnaces, Tegan and Sara, Minus the Bear, The Bluesgrass Allstars (featuring Nashville-based Banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck), The Swell Season (the group from the film “Once”), The Raconteurs (featuring Nashvillian and White Stripes member, Jack White), State Radio, Anders Osborne, Willie Nelson, Chris Rock (I know he’s not a band), and Metallica.
4. Eat dinner.
5. See the following bands: My Morning Jacket (a personal favorite), New Orleans Superjam.
6. If awake, go see a very, very early morning showing of “Sunset Boulevard”. The 1950 Noir classic.
7. Sleep. Maybe.

So why, might you ask, is the Vanderbilt Admissions Blog discussing Bonnaroo? It’s a good question and I’ll have a hard time making a giant music festival germane to the educational values of our institution. But, we want to reiterate that summers are for relaxing, reflecting and enjoying some time off. All of you should enjoy the sunshine and take a rest before the next academic year.

Paint a picture. Climb a tree. Read a non-requried book. See a concert. Try being bored. It’s more fun that it sounds.

As always, we love hearing your comments. Music fans post your favorite bands below. I’d love to know what you’re listening to.

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