An Open Letter to the Guy Whose VIP Passes We “Borrowed” for One Day at Bonnaroo but Were Kinda Supposed to Give Back, and Didn’t 

We don’t flatter ourselves, so we’re sure you probably don’t remember. We’re fairly confident it has slipped your mind that two years ago, your backing band had some extra artist passes after you played your Bonnaroo set.

Dear Bobby Bare Jr.,

We don’t flatter ourselves, so we’re sure you probably don’t remember. We’re fairly confident it has slipped your mind that two years ago, your backing band had some extra artist passes after you played your Bonnaroo set. You were leaving town that night for some other tour dates, and wouldn’t be needing those shiny, shiny laminates for yourself. Normally, you probably would have given them to friends or family members who didn’t have the $150, not to members of the press who’d already gotten in free. We understand that.

And we did already have two media passes. They got us into the fan VIP bleachers and the paltry hay-bale-filled media area, but not into the Oz that was the artist area—a land of free beer, air-conditioning, ice cream sandwiches and Perez Hilton-worthy celeb sightings. We know, we know—it all sounds incredibly cynical and pampered and greedy and stuff, but after tasting that land of milk and honey—and free beer; did we mention the free beer?—it became really hard to go back, back to the desolate media area, with its dearth of trees, water cooler and smelly bloggers.

In case you’ve forgotten the whole affair (which you probably have), let’s go back to the beginning: We ran into our good friend Matt Rowland, the bearded keyboard savant who was playing in your band. He said he could get us those golden tickets for the day. We were weak-willed. Did we mention it was really hot? And that there was like, no shade anywhere to be found? Well, unless you count the awnings in front of some of the stages. But those were jam-packed with smelly bodies, and, when all pressed together in gyrating unison for, say, Cat Power, this funny thing happened. We looked it up: It’s called tent condensation. When air or sweat or moisture, which totally includes hot people breath, collects in a confined space, some weird temperature thing happens and it forms condensation. It can even start raining. So even with media passes, it was raining sweat and hot people breath on us. How were we supposed to cover the show? Surely someone as well-acquainted with the media as you would understand that hot-people-breath rain could easily compromise the integrity of a reporter trying to get a scoop. But that’s not even why we’re apologizing.

We’re apologizing because we kind of knew we were probably supposed to give the passes back. Matt didn’t actually say we had to, just that he’d call us if you ended up needing them back. Well, he never called. So, in our own minds we felt justified in retaining those magical little stairways to heaven. We did see you a few times, like that time you were coming toward us backstage at Death Cab for Cutie. Do you remember that? We were hanging out enjoying the melancholy indie rock and awesome backstage sightlines, then looked up and saw your curly mass of hair bouncing our way. We panicked. You probably wanted the passes back. So we ran. Well, let’s call it a brisk walk. We might have also giggled. We’re not proud, but we will say that those VIP beers really helped cool us off as we made a break for it.

Anyway, a few months later, we heard you’d asked some people who knew us how we enjoyed those passes. Were you kidding? Were you pissed? We’re still not sure. But the answer is: very much, thank you. In fact, it made all the difference.

XOXO,Lee Stabert & Tracy Moore

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