ROCKING THE SILVER TWINKIE AT BONNAROO

Last summer, we did what any 20-something music fans would do—piled behind the wheel and made tracks for Bonnaroo, the iconic four-day music festival in rural Tennessee.

Except we’re not 20-somethings. We’re middle aged-men with wives, children and mortgages. One of us even has children with mortgages. And the wheel we piled behind was that of a Land Rover LR4. Which happened to be towing a gleaming, 19-foot Airstream Flying Cloud. (Both were generously provided by the manufacturers in return for us having a good time.) Also, we were documenting it all for RoadandTrack.com.

Pulling out of Land Rover Nashville

Pulling out of Land Rover Nashville

We flew into Nashville, where we picked up our rig. The Land Rover was up to the job. We can’t tell you how know we know this, but with the Silver Twinkie (as we came to call it) in tow, it was capable of a frisky 14.1-second 0-60. And even at 70 on the freeway, the trailer was as steady as a neurosurgeon’s hands.

Jaws dropped as we swung through the festival gates. There were other RVs and trailers there, but we nestled among others like a swan among a flock of ugly ducklings.

The Silver Twinkie was equipped with AC, hot water, fridge and microwave. All of which were useless for us until late the first night when a Bonnaroo technician dug up the electrical adapter we did not know we would need. But once it was humming—luxury.

Clad in riveted aluminum, the Airstream is as solidly crafted as the jet fuselage it resembles. The interior materials wouldn’t be out of place in a Gulfstream G5: Wood floors and cabinets. Stainless steel sink and refrigerator. A Hilton-worthy mattress, tapered to fit the trailer’s iconic curve. Satellite television. LED lighting. And a bourgeois bathroom, with its commodious commode and a stall shower bigger than some Japanese apartments.

The 19-footer is suitable for a whole family, as long that family contains an only child. We drew straws. Dave got the full-sized mattress; Roger was the only child. But neither of us could complain, and we slept soundly in the heart of Bonnaroo’s pop-up city of 90,000 fans.

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Bonnaroo co-founder Jonathan Mayers (center) stops by the Silver Twinkie for a chat with Dave and Roger.

The festival is a marvel, a bustling 750-acre compound presenting 150 acts on five main stages and in many smaller venues. The vibe is Woodstockian—easygoing, friendly, with a pervasive hint of funny-weed permeating the June humidity. It can be muddy or dusty—sometimes both—but, while tent campers queued for public showers, we were among the best-scrubbed Bonnaroovians, thanks to the Silver Twinkie’s accommodations.

We may not have been in the target festival demo, but the music was, well, music to our ears: Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Wilco, Jack Johnson, ZZ Top, Billy Idol and many other Boomer-friendly acts.

Sir Paul McCartney had 90,000 Bonnaroovians on their feet singing and celebrating for nearly three hours!

Sir Paul McCartney had 90,000 Bonnaroovians on their feet singing and celebrating for nearly three hours!

With good, cheap food plentiful at the festival, we didn’t put our kitchen to the test much, but the fridge was up to the task of keeping our soft drinks and beer chilled and ice ready for our bourbon (this is Tennesseee, after all). And the microwave easily handled our late-night popcorn needs.

A 19-footer will never be a palace, but on the other hand it’s pretty easy to maneuver, from hitching and unhitching to threading the campground’s narrow byways. As Tom Petty strummed the festival’s last chords, and the first drizzle turned into a downpour, we made our way out of the soon-to-be ghost town toward Nashville.

You might think a raucous, four-day music festival is just for the youngsters. But we proved those youngsters can be well on in years, as long as they have a comfortable, luxurious place to lay their weary middle-aged bones down for a good night’s sleep at 2 AM, as the party continues without them.

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By | 2017-07-21T18:24:48+00:00 March 15th, 2014|Blog post, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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