For years, I have heard one word that is synonymous with a good time – Bonnaroo. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN is a yearly festival that features some of the best musical acts in the world. This year I was able to make the journey to Manchester to see what the festival is about. Having returned safely, minus the sunburn, I am now able to share my favorite experiences from four days of music, art, and good times.
The first thing that caught my attention was the “art” of Bonnaroo. Walking to the main entrance, you walk past “the wall”, featuring drawings done by festival attendees. The entrance to the festival grounds features the imposing “arch”, which is a brilliant white color during the day and Technicolor at night. Obscure artistic features such as giant bobble heads and a dragon-topped clock tower also were present.
The music at the festival was varied and featured many different talents. Some of the fun bands were the “unknown’s” that nobody really knew, but were intriguing to watch. Half of the fun was finding new bands to fall in love with.
Some newer acts that caught my attention were:
3. Up and Comers
- Foster the People – Their dance influenced songs got everybody jumping.
- Childish Gambino – His spit-fire lyrics amazed the crowd.
- Fun. – A lively performance with infections tunes.
You may have heard their top hits on the radio, but after seeing them live, these bands have plenty more to offer. Check out tracks from Fun. like “Some Nights” and “Carry On”.
Then, there are the crowd favorites that everybody was dying to see. The headliners did not disappoint the 80,000 people in attendance.
The headliners included:
- Radiohead – A mesmerizing show with new songs and old favorites.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers – Their fast-paced show filled the crowd with energy.
- Phish – Their four hour long set was the perfect way to end the festival.
There were other big name acts that drew large crowds too.
- The Beach Boys – Their classic surfer tunes got everybody singing.
- Skrillex – The new face of techno music kept everyone up with a late night show.
- Ludacris energized the crowd with a number of hit songs.
- Alice Cooper performed a midnight set, complete with theatrical costumes and props.
These acts did not disappoint and were the highlight of many of the festival goers.
Leaving the festival grounds on the last night, one thought went through my head. “I have to come back here! Is it 2013 yet?” My first Bonnaroo was a memorable experience to say the least. It is hard to put into words the full experience of this festival. There is so much happening at any given time it’s hard to comprehend. All I can do is give one piece of advice. If you are thinking about going to Bonnaroo, go. You will not be disappointed. I, for one, will do everything I can to make it back there next year.