Roughly 2.5-3.0 grams
Weight: 175 lbs
Hey y’all, thought I’d draw up a quick recounting of a mushroom
trip I had at Bonnaroo ’14…
lookit. This here’s my last bag, so why doncha just go’n ahead and take that
powder now too, then?” The grizzly backpack-clad stranger shrugged gesturing eagerly
for me to take an extra bit of ground-up mushrooms. We eyeballed the bits of
psilocybin-shake a little later on, and estimated that I had gotten about 2.5
or 3 grams of mushrooms for the price of a half-eighth. Deal.
10:30p: My two buddies,
their girlfriends, and I all sit on a tablecloth among the heart of the
festival, toward the back of the sprawling grass field hugging the main stage.
Kanye’s about to come on, but that’s not really important at the time.
We then decided to eat our
mushrooms – a low dose was appropriated for most of the group – my two buddies
each took a half-eighth and their girlfriends a gram each. We were warned of
their intense potency, but having gotten so much extra for free, and knowing
that I wouldn’t want to leave the festival with any remaining drugs, I decided
to go ahead and chomp up the 2.5 or 3 g’s worth of balanced mishmash of hearty stems,
wide caps, and that sweet, sweet, fungal powder.
As a point of reference, I’ve had
two mushrooms trips before this, both on 1.75 grams, relatively weak trips.
This one was much harder-hitting. I happened to be working my way through a warm
coffee as well at the time of ingestion (I find it’s a nice addition that serves
to offset the pungent taste of the things and ward off some of the lethargy that
seems packaged inseparably with the substance, especially in its early stages of
11:50p: I realize I’ve got
to make it to a restroom soon, as my bladder’s become a floodgate under pressure.
My only concern is…that I won’t be able to find my way back…my small group is
nestled on an uncharacteristic tablecloth amidst a sea of literally 85,000
festival-goers. I’m coming up, and coming up fast. My subconscious at the time
blared the following message in my head –
“Damn man, you took too much…you’re
in it now, Thomas…get ready to blast off…”
I have to piss, and I decide I must
try to get one of my buddies to come with me so I can make it back. My
headspace is getting increasingly more confusing by the minute. My phone’s
dead, nor did I really want to use it at all during this weekend on the farm
anyway. My buddies seem a bit too preoccupied consoling their somewhat anxious
girlfriends, as it is their first time tripping. I suggested previously to them
that, for a first-time tripper, the atmosphere might be a little stressful, but
the girls seemed willing and understanding of the situation at hand before
dosing, so I just smiled along when they chose to buy mushrooms from the same
guy I did…Nonethless, I couldn’t get either of my buddies to come with me to
the bathrooms, which felt miles and miles away, through a throng of unwashed
youngsters whose statures seemed, in my dazed state, to tower over me like stoic
hill giants of Runescape. I finally reeled it in and decidedly told myself,
“Look, I gotta piss and I gotta
make it back. I’ll figure it out. I’m not even tripping yet. I’m overthinking
it.” I stood up, almost fell back down again, gathered my wits, and staggered
in my estimated direction of the port-a-potties, telling my group in the most
unconfident of voices that I’d be back momentarily.
12:00a: I get about 20 steps
from my group and realize I left my backpack and shoes on the tablecloth with
my group, so I turn back, only to realize the incredibly dense crowd has
re-organized in my wake.
I have absolutely no idea where I
I have absolutely no idea how to
get back to my friends, and I’ve barely made it out of earshot.
“Ooooh…yeahh… (The voice of Bill
Lumbergh from Office Space comes to mind) This is going to be a long one,” I realize
with a sense of resigned, lonely horror. I realize I’m not making it back, and
that the next four hours are going to be spent doing some good old-fashioned
self-guided soul searching. I can barely see and attempt poorly to
walk straight. Looking at faces as I brushed through the crowd to the
faux-clearing at the restroom line was taxing…all the festivalgoers seemed to
wear this distressed look that said, “Come on man, find another way through the
crowd, you’re screwing up my concert experience.” I had to shrug it off as part
of my neurotic overthinking and push on as politely as possible to the nirvana
that I felt lay just beyond the claustrophobic horde.
I wander exhaustedly toward the green
blur of port-a-johns, and arrive stumbling into a muddy, stinking swamp, soggy
from the Tennessee rains of the day previous. A bold wooden billboard above the
assembly of plastic outhouses boasts “Restrooms,” and then into my hazy vision
comes the sight of a queue that appears as if it’ll take 30 minutes to wait
through. There’s got to be at least 150 kids lined up, all fucked up on one or a few drugs, some of them vomiting, most of them wearing this methlyone-induced edginess
in their pupils and this unfamiliarity with their surroundings that I’m sure I advertised
just as ridiculously.
I see a few brave souls – or perhaps,
just severely intoxicated souls – stagger toward the back wall of the venue
behind the port-a-johns (which is about an eight-foot tall wooden wall surrounding
all the stages) and proceed to piss all over it with an air of calm rebellion, in clear sight of everyone in the vicinity.
Fuck it, I gotta go too. I join in.
I just drop trou right there and relieve myself. There’s the incessant bumping
of body-throbbing bass, and “Fuck you” chants and echoing boos of the angry
Kanye crowd behind me, all the more complicated by the attacks he shot back at them.
The anxiety of pissing in such an open spot ** and the overwhelmingly negative
vibe of Kanye’s set and its reception barraged my delicate mind and started to
throw the trip off the tracks. But I held on and tried to re-align that train,
resolving that I’d go off and find some other music to watch and enjoy the
night. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be seeing my friends again tonight, and I was
shirtless, shoeless, and carried nothing but a Bonnraoo schedule in my pocket.
I was tripping far, far harder than
I ever had before. And it’d only been an hour and a half.
** (Not to mention the body load and distortion I
felt made it very, very hard to determine what flesh was actually my unit and
what was my hand, and at the end of the urinary experience I was pretty sure I
had “marked my territory” all over my own board shorts)
I trudge my way through the Kanye crowd and try to get to the other stages to
see some other acts, as the Kanye area is super negative and cramped. The worst
downsides of Bonnaroo are the crowd and the nagging commercialization of it
all. Too often the 85,000 people make it feel like you’re at an apocalyptic carnival
I’m tripping really hard now.
No, literally, I’m tripping. Like I am physically tripping
over my own feet. I feel as if I’ve only got a couple more steps until I keel
over and curl into a ball to unsuccessfully prep for the storm that is a
full-blown ego death in the middle of the most sensory-overloaded square mile I’ve
ever been in.
Ohh...I’m nervous. As I walk dazedly through the festival
grounds, I pass groups of people that in my disfigured auditory hallucinations
appear to be prodding me.
“Man, look at Thomas, he’s fucked up…Wow that kid’s tripping so hard, he looks retarded. Wow what a fucking idiot, look at that
kid, he can’t even walk..” I struggle to maintain my sanity, and this trip starts
to feel a lot less recreational and a lot more like a self-destructive nightmare.
I resolve to sit down, but as soon as I do, I over-think my position and think
that I’m in a walkway, and hurriedly get back up. Looking back, I must have
looked like a squirrel who’d forgot where he’d buried an acorn…repeatedly sitting
down and then stumbling around in frenetic circles. There’s a sense of brooding fear building up
in me that I won’t be able to make it to a “safe spot” before this inevitable self-dissolution
comes raining down on me. I don’t know if I’d ever been this terrified, if
somewhat illogically so, than I was at this moment…
And it was right then when a friendly brown-haired guy
bumped into me on the path and smiled, stretching his hand out in a measure of
goodwill and introducing himself as Dave.
“Hey man, what’s up? I’m Dave. You look lost, man.”
“Haha…yeah. You could say that. I sort of, don’t know where
I am. I lost my friends…” I mumbled, caught totally off-guard. I don’t really
know if I said this, or if I just spewed some unintelligible discursive bullshit
in his direction. Regardless, he seemed to know what I was talking about, even
What he said next rung with a purity unparalleled throughout
my whole weekend at the festival.
“Haha, don’t even worry about it man, at Bonnaroo, you never
lose your friends.” Dave said, beaming with reassurance.
“I, uh..yeah. Yeah, man, yeah! I’m Thomas, great to meet you
dude! Thanks so much, man!” I had never had a moment go from hell-impending
terror to universal bliss so quickly. I looked into Dave’s eyes and we both
seemed to know something about each other, we knew that we were in this
together…as festivalgoers, but also as people navigating this organic ball of rubble
we call Earth. I thanked him for his kind words and we parted ways when I
politely told him that I now knew where I was.
I walked off rejuvenated, and felt as if a huge burden had
been lifted off my shoulders. The resonance of his statement was mind-blowing.
He was right – all this time I had spent fearing and guardedly trying to shut
out my surroundings could be cured by looking up, regaining psychological
traction by embracing the beauty of the moment…that all these folk had come
together to share in the bliss that is music and companionship, and I just
needed to relax. I began to successfully regain mental peace.
Dass’s “We’re all just walking each other home” quote comes to mind. I still
think of how much Dave helped me in this moment, and he almost seemed like an
angel in a way.
2:00a: I make it to the stage where Ice Cube is
performing, and find a spot of grass to sit down in, on the outer fringe of the
multitudes of people swarming the stage. Ice Cube’s set sounds awesome, so I
stand up to get a better look. All I see are wild OEV’s of pyramidal flames
(the stage was red) and a huge open-eye visual of Ice Cube’s mug re-created by
my subconscious in the stars, about 1,000,000 times life size. It was if my
whole visual field was a frame and his smug face was cramped into it with just
enough space. I chuckled heartily at the sight, and for the remainder of the
trip enjoyed some serious euphoria and blissful awareness of my artistically charged
The rest of the trip entailed a slow coast back down to reality, glowing with
appreciation and excitement to be where I was. I remember wandering up to
stages and watching various artists perform, feeling as if I was a small part
of a whole in the crowd, like a singular fish in a school, all moving to the
current of the beat.
Chance the Rapper’s set was perhaps my favorite musical performance
that I’ve seen to this day. It went on from about 2:30-4:30am, and was the last
show of the night. There’s something about the last show of the night at a
festival, something desperate and glorious about it. Like everyone’s decided to
leave it all out on the court, so to speak – the whole crowd just throws off
any remaining chains and surrenders their whole to the music. There’s
unrestricted, booming energy in the set. Everyone’s screaming at the top of
their already voiceless lungs, smiles wide as can be, the emotion in the air as
palpable as the oxygen it circulates. All of the festivalgoers who were
lingering at other artists’ closing songs begin to shuffle toward the last
still-going performer, and Chance’s audience includes everyone left in the
festival center. Everyone’s into it. I’m about 40 rows back from the front, in
the belly of the beast. I’ve reached that reflective, ecstatic part of the trip
where life seems altogether too perfect, too beautiful to behold. I’m crying
with bliss, even before Chance’s heartfelt monologue about how his fans have
allowed him to do what he does, which literally lights up my being. It is a
feeling vastly understated by mere words on a page.
I wander back to my tent around
5:30am, an appreciative smile glued to my face, one that I get again while writing
this. Much love to you all. Thanks for reading, hope it was somewhat