I am not old enough to remember Woodstock when it happened, but as a kid I was certainly influenced by the artists and amazing music that was created on that farm in upstate New York. So when we got on invitation to attend Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN we were giddy at the prospect of going to the nation’s largest music festival.
Our accommodations were certainly over the top. We were part of a package called Total Access, whereby guests are given rock star treatment. We were assigned a Prevost motor coach in one of the only shaded areas on the 700 acre farm that provides the backdrop for Bonnaroo. Our “campsite” included a 24/7 open bar and a buffet serving concert goer favorites like grilled filet mignon topped with portabella mushrooms.
There were over 100 bands performing on five different stages. Furthermore there were various comedians, artists, lectures, food, “merch” (e.g. overpriced t-shirts and stuff), a hair salon, yoga sessions, etc.
Here is a run down of the bands and comedians we saw:
Lewis Black and Friends (honestly I thought Hannibal Buress stole the show. Funnier than Lewis in my opinion)
The Decemberists (Best in show for me!)
Ray Lamontagne (overlapped Decemberists – only heard four songs. Packed house. I am a big fan!)
Florence + the Machine (Packed to the gills! Venue was too small. They needed to be on main stage. Awesome)
My Morning Jacket (eh…)
Arcade Fire (bummed that we actually missed seeing them but heard the show from our motor coach)
The Low Anthem (aside from seeing them play a “saw”, this we could have missed)
Donald Glover and Friends (Donald was awesome, but Bill Bailey was right with him)
Black Uhuru (I am a huge reggae fan and love this band…but it was obvious they didn’t want to be there. The only one into it was lead singer Derek “Duckie” Simpson).
Alison Krauss & Union Station (I bailed on Black Uhuru to catch Alison. Only saw them do five songs. Wish I would have been there from the beginning)
Mumford & Sons (Incredible. Young, passionate and they had a blast. Stay that way lads!!)
The Black Keys (I was bummed that Jack White was no where to be found at Bonnaroo but man am I glad I was introduced to this duet. These two brothers had plenty of energy to fill the void. It was the best straight up rock and roll I heard at Bonnaroo).
Buffalo Springfield feat. Richie Furay, Stephen Still and Neil Young (I went to see Stephen Stills. I didn’t see that Neil Young was there because the awesome Bonnaroo app I was using had … for the rest of the title. I am staring at a greatly aged version of my childhood idle saying “that’s really him isn’t it?”).
Eminem (Great show all the way around even though I am not a real fan. Lights, energy, sound – it was all dialed in. He takes this deal seriously. We were told that he showed up on Thursday to do a complete sound check with his crew and then hung low until Saturday night).
G. Love and Special Sauce (This is the only show we had time for on Sunday since our flight was at 4pm. He was awesome. With both his guitar and harmonic strapped on, G. Love was very engaging – “high fiving” people in the front row and running up the center of a sectioned off area of the crowd. So glad I caught him before we left).
Check out my Bonnaroo Facebook photo album here