Bonnaroo: The Basics

Written by: Selena DiGiovanni

I lay on a tarp in the midst of a sea of tents. It is midday and I am amongst friends; some old, some very new. We are quiet, listening to music in the distance. It is too hot to talk but we enjoy each others company nevertheless.

A man walks into our unofficial compound and asks, “You guys looking for Molly?”

We politely decline his offer, the others inquire after his milder stock, and when he leaves, we return to our silence.

This is Manchester, Tenn. and this is Bonnaroo, one of the largest up-and-coming music festivals in the world.

Campers enter Centeroo under the Bonnaroo arch

Campers enter Centeroo through the arch. The arch, which changes every year, is an iconic symbol of Bonnaroo.

Started in 2002, Bonnaroo takes place every June on a 530 acre plot of repurposed farmland in the small town of Manchester, Tenn. The festival spans three days, a time in which those who have purchased tickets are invited to camp outdoors, spend time with friends and enjoy good music.

There are a variety of activities which are available for campers at Bonnaroo. One of the best loved activities is the Silent Disco tent. Here, campers are given a set of wireless headphones upon entrance which sync with the DJ’s output. The end result is a tent full of people dancing to music which no one on the outside can hear. There is also the Graffiti Wall, which surrounds Centeroo, the central area of Bonnaroo. Campers are invited to bring spray paint to Bonnaroo with them in order to cover the Graffiti Wall with street art in their down time. There are also a multitude of food and artist stalls, a mushroom fountain, and of course, concerts.

Shows beginning each afternoon and continuing into the wee hours of the morning. These shows take place at several venues all located within Centeroo. The main venues are What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent, The Other Tent, and the Comedy Tent. Other smaller venues include the Solar Stage, Lunar Stage, Sonic Stage, and the Cinema Tent.

Past years have featured headliners such as Eminem, Dave Matthews Band, and Radiohead. There have also been lesser known bands such as Futurebird, as well as comedy shows and film screenings . In the past, the lineup has been made widely available long before Bonnaroo takes place, but this year the list of bands performing has been kept under lock and key. Clues in the form of haikus have been scattered across America, increasing the excitement of fans everywhere. The full lineup will be revealed on February 19th, in a “Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon” hosted by Weird Al Yankovich.

To learn more about Bonnaroo, stay up to date on the latest Bonnaroo news and purchase tickets, go to www.bonnaroo.com.

Roe v. Wade: Forty Years and Still Fighting

Written by: Selena DiGiovanni

Forty years ago this past January, the controversial Roe v. Wade case gave millions of women in the U.S. the right to a safe and legal abortion.  Not surprisingly, politicians across America have been fighting tooth and nail to prevent women from gaining access to reproductive health.

Group of women with signs supporting Roe v. Wade

A group of Pro-Choice women gather in support of passing Roe v. Wade

Our first stop is in Michigan where, this past December, politicians locked out the general public during lawmaking sessions. The following statement was made by Kary L. Moss, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s executive director: “While the Senate passed one bad bill after another, they locked out the public, including our legislative director….Doing so on such important issues while the public is shut out of the debate is cause for, once again, the Michigan legislature to be a national embarrassment.” The Senate passed bill after bill restricting women’s rights while the public was unconstitutionally refused their right to speak to their representatives.

Moving to the South, we stop in New Mexico. There, Rep. Cathrynn Brown recently introduced a bill which would make the termination of a pregnancy for a rape or incest survivor a third degree felony for “tampering with evidence.” This means that women who obtain an abortion due to rape or incest could serve up to three years in prison. Brown later clarified that the bill would punish those that committed the rape and then destroys evidence of the crime via abortion but the bill could still negatively impact victims of rape or incest. Women who are victims of rape or incest could potentially be forced to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case.

In addition, there are several states which are currently working to take away women’s reproductive health rights. In North Dakota there is a bill which is making history by attempting to pass a package of laws which would define ‘personhood.’ This ‘personhood legislation’ would prevent abortions statewide (including pregnancies caused by rape or incest) by defining the fetus as a person and granting it the rights of a citizen. Certain forms of birth control, stem cell research and in vitro fertilization would also be banned under this new legislation.

And finally, right now women in Tennessee are fighting a new law which would require them to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion. This means that a woman who wants an abortion, whether it be for personal or health reasons, would first be made to listen to the heartbeat of their unborn fetus. This procedure is unnecessarily cruel, incredibly invasive and often detrimental to the mental health of the mother.

These are just a handful of laws and bills which women have had to fight and are still fighting to maintain their basic rights. Every day there is another politician unconstitutionally working to undo the benefits of Roe vs. Wade.

How can you help prevent laws which will limit your reproductive health from being passed? Go to www.thisispersonal.org to learn more about your rights and how to stop politicians from placing restrictions on your reproductive health.