Local rising star Lauren Shera shares her thoughts from her debut at Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo Bound: Lauren Shera and the spoils of war with famed guitarist Warren Haynes of The Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule.

Carmel Valley’s Lauren Shera has wanted to attend the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for years. This year she did – not only as a fan, but also as a performer. Here’s a little taste of the experience from Shera herself, culled from her journal: 

Thursday, June 9

We rolled into Manchester, Tenn. picked up our artist credentials, slapped on some sunscreen and headed to the festival grounds.While we moseyed about, we got to hear the first notes of the weekend, played by Freelance Whales and Best Coast.The crowds were pretty tame on the first day, as was the heat, which hung somewhere in the mid-90s. 

Friday, June 10

The sun was so brutal by the time it slowly started to set, we were more then ready to rest our tired feet while Ray LaMontagne serenaded us with “Rock and Roll and The Radio.”

And then Arcade Fire happened. They are the biggest band in the world right now for many reasons, all of which are demonstrated during their live shows.This was the third time I had seen them and every time I’ve walked away saying, “That was totally the best show I have ever seen.” Our magic all – access passes got us stageside on the scaffolding that overlooked the band and the massive ocean of people including Aziz Ansari, Eminem and Ron Jeremy.

Saturday, June 11

I had gone to great lengths to stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep, but things like heat and dust made it difficult. After an interview with Pop Culture Madness magazine and a short video spot for Bonnaroo’s website, we caught a great set by Allison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas on lap steel.Allison was a perfect way to get my ears ready for Mumford & Sons, who just may be tied with Arcade Fire for my favorite performance of the weekend.The boys and their instruments rocked a stage that they were clearly too big for.A highlight of their performance and of the weekend was their encore of “Amazing Grace” featuring Douglas, members of Old Crow Medicine Show, Apache Relay and David Mayfield.In addition to the big moments, there were also endearing little things like Loretta Lynn playing in the tent behind me while I waited in line for food, or seeing Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons grinning from ear-to-ear while Matthew & The Atlas performed.

To close Saturday night, Buffalo Springfield proved that they haven’t lost anything with an epic set that was electric, as rain started falling and lightning bolts lit up the sky. Neil Young must have some serious ties with Mother Nature; the threat of inclement weather only added to the magnitude of their set, which closed with an extended version of “Rockin’ in The Free World.”

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Sunday, June 12

The final day was the busiest for this girl: After four days of running around like a dirty heathen it was time to play music. I performed on the Cafe Where stage, directly across the field from the main stage where Robert Plant started after my last chord rang out. People filtered in, listened attentively and responded with enthusiasm. It was a great way to end the weekend: Doing what I love to do in a setting full of music makers and music lovers.

I’ve bid my farewells to Bonnaroo: I’m a little dirtier, slightly sunburnt and full of gratitude. 

For more on Shera’s experience, visit the Music Blog at www.mcweekly.com.

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