Bonnaroo | 06.12 - 06.15 | Manchester

Words by: Sarah Hagerman | Images by: Rod Snyder & Dave Vann

Bonnaroo :: 06.12.08 – 06.15.08 :: Manchester, TN

Bonnaroo 2008 by Rod Snyder
"I hope each of you find whatever 'Roo you are looking for." –Sam Bush

I'm attempting to distill the memories from this weekend while I wipe the mud stains off my feet and apply aloe to my sunburn. It's been a popular pastime on certain music site message boards to kvetch about this festival, and indeed some complaints are justified. The unforgivably outrageous prices in Centeroo (with that in mind I would like to give a shout out to the fine folks at Bearly Edible, whose dollar grilled cheese in the campsites kept me fed throughout the weekend), the clashes that force you to make sometimes heartbreaking musical choices, occasional slow moving security searches, the odd technical difficulties and the prevalence of corporate sponsors (did anyone seriously get a shave at the salon?). But, the blank canvas and numerous tools this festival throws you give license to paint your weekend in whatever shades you like (musical or otherwise). I would point to the above quote by Sam Bush from the Bluegrass Allstars set – in the gently rolling Tennessee hills, thousands of people each set off on individual adventures. This is the story of one writer's journey through the mud and heat and back again.

Thursday, June 12

Walking by the cavernous What Stage on my way to the media area, the field was clean and the air was clear. Long tracks and thousands of stories would be dragged through this field before the weekend was over, but at this moment the space was a peaceful shrine. Thursday night offered serious substance on the smaller stages. I heard What Made Milwaukee Famous were excellent; "What Sparta should sound like," was quoted to me. Catching the end of Newton Faulkner, whose quirky hippie act came off as more grating than genuine, I am officially declaring that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is up there with "Freebird" in overplayed crowd pandering cover song territory. As Superdrag pumped out alternative rock nostalgia at This Tent, I wandered over to the Other Tent to watch Grand Ole Party. Riot girls may have a new queen in lead singer-drummer Kristin Gundred, whose wail is reminiscent of Corinne Tucker and Beth Ditto. Their funky/punky energy hit the first high note of the weekend for me. I traveled from their skillful channeling of the best Kill Rock Stars label influences to channeling the best classic rock influences with Isle of Man's Back Door Slam. Raw, timeless bluesy riffing when they covered CSNY's "Almost Cut My Hair" made an older hippie jump to his feet and start shouting and dancing in unbridled release.

Tyondai Braxton - Battles :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
Unfortunately, I couldn't feel this level of excitement about MGMT. They were a plane that never quite took off; stalling on the runway of rock tricks without offering a musical challenge. Although they juggled a few ideas, the combination of weak vocals, big beats and build-ups-by-numbers failed to live up to their hype. I sought refuge in the Troo Music lounge with The Weather Underground, who took a while to soundcheck (the first of several sound related issues over this weekend), but once their monitors stopped blaring feedback the emotional blaze of lead singer Harley Prechtel-Cortez shone brightly. By the end, he was sweating and shaking more than the audience. Their surface music is almost criminally catchy, but the literate soul and genuine conviction they bring to the project had a lot of folks in the lounge captivated.

The technological mind-fuck of Battles suggested Aphex Twin's younger, prankish brother. You could make a valiant effort to dance to the machine gun beats and the layers of prog noise but anytime they hit a steady groove they would throw a wrench into the machine. Glow stick wielding music this ain't. This pushes aside the "E" love fest in favor of synth dipped in the blackest acid. As the fire flares raged behind me from the "Art of Such and Such" area, Battles burned a hole in my brain and I loved it. Continuing the fire and brimstone was The Felice Brothers. This may have been the highlight of my Thursday, and set off a bands-of-brothers motif (we'll get to the Avetts and Lees later). Southern Gothic Springsteen dripped with dark zydeco, humid passion and a touch of misanthrope, The Felice Brothers told all the dishonest folk to get out of the tent. This is a band that walks in an arena of morality and isn't afraid to call you out on your bullshit.

Lez Zeppelin :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
From the confessional to the church of metal, my town of Austin's The Sword had the devil horns flashing and the heads banging in That Tent. They even looked the part with Flying V-guitars and manes of hair. They would slay Vampire Weekend's ass in a dark alley any day. Like MGMT, this band's hype has been almost inescapable. Where MGMT gets points for effort, I found VW to be irritatingly twee. Maybe after the emotional baptism of The Felice Brothers and the mental violation of Battles, I just was not in the mood for sugary songs about meeting chicks on the quads of college campuses.

Both the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin have made music that means more than what can be put into words, and Dark Star Orchestra and Lez Zeppelin keep those flames burning. It's always soul feeding to see Dark Star. Watching old Deadheads come alive with genuine joy, memories of shows and lots past flickering in their eyes, always touches me. But, I've seen Dark Star numerous times and only stayed for the first few songs, getting my dance on with opener "Not Fade Away," before dragging myself away to check the Lez get the Led out. As a woman who loves genuine balls-to-the-wall rock music, I was excited about this concept. Sadly, it didn't kick as much ass I wanted. Lead singer Sarah McLellan didn't let her vocals out enough to match Plant's scream (to be fair few can, but if you are in a Zeppelin cover band you should at least make the effort) and songs such as "Dazed and Confused" were played loud but markedly slower than the originals. And last time I checked "Sunshine of Your Love" is not a Zep song. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I didn't quite find the rock sisters I was looking for.

I ended my evening at the Somethin' Else Tent, whose lineup this year featured all New Orleans musicians. Although you had to pay to get in, the money was all going to charities that help NOLA musicians, so I was willing to fork out and join the NOLA dance party that had booties shaking to Porter-Batiste-Stoltz. It felt like a secret backroom party as these three funk masters had the plywood dance floor pounding long into the night. But, the combination of ear bleeding bass levels and the knowledge that I had several more days to go led me back through the campgrounds, where the shakedowns were starting and the domino-effect of cheers rolled across the endless sea of tents.

Friday, June 13

Umphrey's McGee :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
"Bonnaroo, this is your motherfuckin' early mornin' wake up call!" Patterson Hood preached before the Drive-By Truckers launched into "The Living Bubba." It was a rollicking, emotionally-charged set to start the day under the baking hot sun, but the Truckers were consistent and strong and helped us power through the heat (as well as those girls behind me who kept spraying me with water – I've never been so happy to see a super soaker in my whole life). Ripping through material from the new album and hitting classics like "Puttin' People On The Moon," the set was landmark Truckers. Hood introduced "18 Wheels of Love," as he usually does, with the story of his mom and Chester the truck driver. But this time, there was an extended version of the tale. Chester nearly died recently, miraculously recovering to return to the road and his lover's arms. According to Hood, Chester and his mother were driving to see the daughter Chester thought he would never see again while we were partying down. I will not attempt to recount this word for word - there are some wells of feeling too deep for writing to illuminate - and typing this is choking me up as I think back on Hood screaming, tears in his eyes, "You may not believe me but every word of this is the goddamn truth!" As my brother said later that day, "I have never cried at a festival before."

After the cathartic sweat and tears of the Truckers, I caught the end of the Fiery Furnaces. Cardboard cutouts of Furnace siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger floated about the crowd assembled in That Tent. It didn't move my soul (although after the Truckers any band would be hard pressed to do so), but the fast tempo changes and the change-ups between delicate and heavy sounds made for a fascinating listen. But, the sun was catching up to my head and I needed shade, water and a chance to check out Umphrey's McGee.

The Raconteurs :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
There was some upset over UM not being given a coveted late night slot, but they approached this afternoon set with ferocity and epic fervor. There were stirring heights that broke down into driving beats and metal screams with a seamlessness that I have always been told is there by friends who love this band but had never quite witnessed myself. Subsequently, I have always written them off as "too proggy" at the odd show or festival slot I'd caught, but they completely won me over with this set. Say what you want about this festival, but (most) musicians bring their A-plus game to these stages. Their impressive technical skills ripped and rolled with enough whimsy to make the sound warm, and they looked like they were having as much fun as the grooving audience. UM were joined by Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) who added his sax to the stew as I was being drawn towards the Other Tent and The Bluegrass Allstars.

This was a rare and wonderful chance to see these masters of bluegrass – Sam Bush, Luke Bulla, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas and Bryan Sutton – together on one stage. The relative intimacy of the Other Tent gave good sightlines to appreciate their picking skills, and as I approached the edge of the crowd, Douglas' throaty dobro was calling. The mutual respect and love between these musicians is obvious, and their infectious sense of fun, led by Bush's hilarious stage banter, spread to the audience. Bush introduced "Polka on the Banjo" by saying Fleck had invented a new genre of music "that combines polka and bluegrass. What do you call it Bela?" Fleck stepped up to the mic and dryly replied, "Poke ass." New songs that veered into jazz and free form territory were thrown in the mix with bluegrass standards such as "Molly and Tenbrooks" and "Sitting on Top of the World," with generous chances for each musician to solo. This music has been my bread and butter lately and I lingered for this entire set as the gray clouds overhead hinted at the weather that was to greet us after sundown.

Willie Nelson :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
Friday afternoon turned into a great wander, through !!!'s dirty dance party in That Tent (complete with frequently pantless frontman Nick Offer), Steel Train on the Sonic Stage (which failed to grab my attention although they had an energetic and fro-tastic stage presence) and Les Claypool's signature I-can't-believe-I'm-seeing-this bass, before finally settling on The Raconteurs on the main stage. Any chance to see Jack White play is welcome, and although The Raconteurs have never lived up to The White Stripes in my mind, what I saw at this set was solid, frenzied rock peaks with shadows of psychedelia. "Steady As She Goes" bounced with guitar crunch while "Rich Kid's Blues" was spacey without dwelling too long in that territory. White is perhaps too young to be considered a legend yet, but in a generation or so he will no doubt be introduced to main stages with the kind of reverence that was pervasive during this weekend of musical gods and monsters.

One of those gods was Willie Nelson, who audibly could not quite compete with the sound bleed from M.I.A.'s That Tent set despite it being at the other end of Centeroo. That made it difficult to fully appreciate Willie's style, whose instantly recognizable dryness crackles with untold heartbreak and hard living. "On the Road Again" and "Always On My Mind" were greeted as old musical friends, and the guy behind me was imploring everyone to hush up during "Always" ("Everyone shut up and listen to this song!"). Although I hated leaving Willie's quiet revolution after "Take Back America," the Third World revolution coming from M.I.A. was making total absorption in the set impossible.

Chris Rock :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
I came to M.I.A. in time to see the stage invasion, and as the dancers were brushed off the stage at the behest of security, M.I.A. implored the sound guy to turn her bass down. It hardly made a difference. Nevertheless, her cutting edge beats and worldly energy shone through the sound issues, thumping with the muddied tribal beats of "Galang." Since this was apparently her last gig for a while, I'm glad I got to see her before she takes a purported break.

The best comedy comes from anger, from the Jeremiad shout, and Chris Rock was in many ways a fitting choice for a year when no one could quite block out the outside world with climate change, gas prices and a presidential election on everyone's mind (and on a lot of musician's minds considering the amount of times I was implored to vote during this weekend). Chris Rock having a main stage slot worked better than I thought it would, although not all of his new material is quite up to par. He reappeared later to introduce Metallica. I am not a huge fan. I feel they rely too heavily on predictable metal tricks, but I will give credit where credit is due. They played an enthusiastic show and seemed genuinely moved by the crowd reaction. "We support live music," James Hetfield made a point of saying, in an effort to quell negative feelings still left over from the Napster fiasco. Their set roared through the numbers everyone was waiting for – "Justice for All," "Nothing Else Matters," "Enter Sandman" - with Kirk Hammett's thrashing fretwork and Hetfield's demonically possessed stares. And in spite of the worries about meatheads taking over Bonnaroo, I found the Metallica fans I encountered were respectful and curious about the other music (I think I saw at least one Metallica shirt at every show I went to).

My Morning Jacket :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
The rain came in spits and spatters and occasional heavy pours during Metallica and continued into the late night, with the ravenously anticipated My Morning Jacket slot. It's a rare and privileged moment to feel you are watching something that has the potential to go down in musical history, and this monster had that feeling etched in stone. MMJ came out to a glow stick war and the chills I was feeling weren't just from the rain. The air was electric and lightning was about to strike. They consistently elevate rock 'n' roll to dizzying heights of gut wrenching beauty, and Friday night's four-hour plus beast of a slot was out of the stratosphere. The new material from Evil Urges is as solid live as any MMJ classic, especially the rip roaring "Highly Suspicious." Kirk Hammett joined the band just before the setbreak for "One Big Holiday." But what made this set was the daring funk and soul covers, including "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and "Across 110th Street" complete with a horn section and Jim James sporting a cape and some slick moves.

I did wander away at times, driven into the tents by the rain, to catch some of the Super Jam and The Disco Biscuits, walking by Tiesto, who had This Tent dancing hard. Super Jam started half an hour late, and I couldn't wait in the rain knowing MMJ were tearing it up a few hundred yards away, even with rumors that Tom Waits was going to appear. The jam ended up being most of Gogol Bordello and Claypool, which sounded, when I wandered back later, like, Bordello with more complex basslines. The Biscuits, not surprisingly, opened with an aggressive "M.E.M.P.H.I.S." and kept That Tent packed and moving with what I heard was a tight, cohesive set that included a fantastic cover of "Killing In The Name Of." But I was drawn to Which Stage again and again. Perhaps my best memory of that night was putting my face up to the rain during "What a Wonderful Man" and just saying, "Fuck it, I can't possibly be any more drenched." There was something transcendent in that moment as MMJ pushed me on in a moment of stubborn grace. Editor's Note: My Morning Jacket's Bonnaroo performance is available for download here.

Saturday, June 14

Two Gallants :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
I began Saturday by soaking up some of the fiery troubadour flavor of gritty duo Two Gallants and the literary-minded folk of Mason Jennings, both of whom proved with their respective outfits that there is indeed unique territory to explore in the overstuffed world of singer-songwriters. But I wanted to see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, whose pure booty-shaking soul made me want to feather my hair and shop for bell bottoms and platform shoes. She commanded the stage with her enthusiasm, encouraging the crowd to back up her belting vocals, and the Dap-Kings kicked it old school with funky horns and deeply authentic grooves. Then, in one of those total musical 360s that is a mark of Bonnaroo, on my way to see Abigail Washburn in This Tent, I caught some of Against Me!, whose big scream-along power punk was voiced by gravelly singer Tom Gabel with fervor.

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck began with an atmospheric, moaning fiddle over Washburn's Chinese incantations. She explained the words meant, "We are one big family and our language is music," an appropriate sentiment for this festival. Their meditative, hypnotic sound is acoustic spiritualism of the highest order. I was transfixed by Washburn's lilting yet powerful vocals (and command of Chinese folk songs), and the easy slides between atmosphere and fast picking. Seeing Fleck play with another group drove home how versatile his constantly evolving banjo skills truly are – he is not one to rest on his laurels. Fiddle player Ben Sollee was also a standout in this awe-inspiring group, and performed his song "Bury Me In My Car" with sweet conviction. It's music that leaves you at an utter loss for pat descriptions.

Troy Sanders - Mastodon :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
My husband's affinity for all things metal drew us to check out Mastodon, who combined dense lower-end complexity with heavy metal guitar fretwork. Like The Sword, this was another group who came on like an axe in the face. Umphrey's McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss was watching some of their set from the side, perhaps taking some mental notes to further metal up his band. But, one of my favorite sets of the weekend came from North Carolina's The Avett Brothers. A passionate following packed the Other Tent, and although the Avetts certainly have shades of bluegrass, they are hardly pigeonholed in that genre. There were tinges of aggressive folk rock reminiscent of The Pogues, shimmers of gospel in their heart-rattling harmonies and lip biting, bare-it-all honesty in the lyrics. I've never seen an acoustic group move so much onstage. I absorbed the sun and the rousing salvation. This is a group you can throw your sins at and feel renewed and forgiven.

Since he is pushing on in years, I felt obligated to see some of B.B. King. Perched on his chair, the Buddha of blues, he let his guitar roll and reflected on his age with "I Need You." He mused, "I recorded this in 1949." But the sound was far too quiet if you weren't in the front throng of the What Stage, and although I appreciated the opportunity to see King, I made my way back to the Other Stage for another old time legend, Levon Helm. As dusk drew in and the Tennessee sky gradually faded to pink, I easily willed myself to dance to the brass-tinged blues-rock that opened the set. When Helm's outfit turned to his solo material, the Ramble On The Road band took us down the winding dirt paths in the heartland of America. Salt of the earth music, Helm played mandolin on several songs while his band took turns singing lead showcasing Teresa Williams' organ-worthy set of pipes. He saved The Band material for the end of the set, with "The Shape I'm In," "Chest Fever" and closer "The Weight," a song that never stops plucking my heart strings no matter how many times I hear it. He had the audience drawn in tight and it was the kind of set where you turn to your neighbor, slap them on the arm and are spontaneously inspired to start singing along together.

Jack Johnson :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
I skipped out on Jack Johnson to regroup, although he seemed to have drawn quite an enthused crowd (he's pleasant enough but I just can't get excited about beach bum folk). Returning from my campsite, I found the main stage was packed for Pearl Jam, who drew a noticeably larger crowd than Metallica. This set was a personal experience for me, as Pearl Jam was the first band I was ever obsessed with as an adolescent, and I have recently come to re-appreciate their body of work. They have the staying power that has eluded nearly every other band from the Seattle scene, and this powerful show proved why. They still bring gusto to the stage, whether on new material or radio staples from Ten. I was running to the stage when I heard the opening notes of "Corduroy" and they drew me in instantly with a thunderous set that shifted through brutal versions of standards like "Animal" and "Why Go," stopping to occasionally meander on a Mike McCready guitar solo or an extended jam, but moving with quick pacing. That is until Eddie Vedder's usual awkward, wine-fueled stage banter took over in the encores, but the sea of thousands of lighters raised for "Better Man" made him pause and muse simply, "That's beautiful," before continuing.

Late night Saturday once again consisted of wandering back and forth to and from Which Stage, where Phil & Friends played a joyous set. I hadn't seen this current lineup of Friends yet, and I was pleased with how well each member complimented each other. Although Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz can pepper the music with an '80s Dead sound, the rest of the lineup keeps the music tight and driving enough so the keys don't feel obtrusive, and the Dead's music remains alive, breathing and evolving. Chilling versions of "Loser" and "Dark Star" and a rousing "Stella Blue" provided rest from the dance, but this was Phil to get down and funky to.

Kanye West :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
I did manage to catch some of Sigur Ros, whose anthemic build-ups and frozen soundscapes are perhaps best appreciated when they don't have to compete with dance parties happening elsewhere, but they commanded the audience deep inside That Tent into reverential awe. Their sound requires a level of total absorption to truly appreciate, and I couldn't linger as much as I would have liked. Meanwhile, the best light show of the weekend has to go to the sinister, sexy electronic aggression of Ghostland Observatory. Lead singer Aaron Behrens embodies suggestion with his dance moves and wailing voice, and This Tent was turned into a latter day version of Studio 54, where it was tempting to seek out the darkest backrooms.

The late night set everyone was waiting for was Kanye West. I was interested in the spectacle, but his ego-driven decision to push his set back from 2:45 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. was blatantly done to make sure no other performers would compete with his stage time. I gave up waiting and threw in the towel, but reports came in quickly Sunday morning that when he finally made fit to drag himself be-grudgingly onstage he proceeded to play for less than an hour. As my brother's friend enthused the next day about how Talib Kweli and Lupe Fiasco, both true hip-hop artists, brought such love and true urban credibility to their sets, I thought, it's time to officially declare Kanye West a hip-hop has been. If we are lucky he shall be consumed by his own gravitational pull and catapult off to another planet, glow in the dark or not. There was palpable fury, and the presence of "Fuck Kanye" signs the next morning spoke to his stark contempt for the people who have gotten him where he is in the first place. There is a quote from Lester Bangs that nicely sums up his set: "The ultimate sin of any performer is contempt for the audience." There may not be enough atonement in music heaven and hell for West.

Sunday, June 15

Solomon Burke :: Bonnaroo 08 by Snyder
As anti-Kanyism spread throughout the festival, we were luckily graced with another day of music that proved Mr. West was the glaring exception to the level of gratitude and energy most performers brought to their Bonnaroo sets. The Lee Boys started the day off right with the a-freakin'-men of their sacred steel, gospel rock that had That Tent moving like James Brown's jumping church in The Blues Brothers. That Tent on Sunday was an arms waving, hands clapping affair with sets by Robert Randolph's Revival, the legendary Solomon Burke (who literally sat on his throne and schooled us in soul) and the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival. The Lee Boys were a perfect conversion to the congregation.

Afterwards I caught some of Serena Ryder and Ladytron. The earnest singer-songwriting and studied synth of each, respectively, weren't quite what I needed after my Lee Boys baptism, so I headed over to Orchestra Baobab. This was ideal Sunday afternoon music, as this hard-working Senegalese collective let their world of organic influences wash over the sunbaked grass, taking us from Cuban nightclubs to distant African shores. However, the Sunday afternoon set I was most excited about was Yonder Mountain String Band on the What Stage, and the boys didn't disappoint.

A. Krauss & R. Plant :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
A What Stage spot for a band like Yonder is a chance to win over new fans, and I think the kinfolk fold got bigger. "We will play our whole set," Jeff Austin reassured the crowd in a not so subtle Kanye diss, adding later in the set, "We'll do a damn glow in the dark set and won't blow it." The set was a strong choice of mostly Yonder originals, from an "Out of the Blue" kickoff that slid into a distortion heavy "East Nashville Easter" where Austin showed visible glee playing with feedback from his monitor. After a tasty "Angel" > "Follow Me Down to the Riverside" > "Angel" sandwich, a rollicking "Casualty" and so-fun-it-should-be-illegal encore cover of Ozzy's "Crazy Train," and my sandals were worn out from digging grooves in the dust. It spoke to Yonder's unique ability to draw everyone into their celebratory release that inspired a dancing throng despite the brutal heat.

It's been said before and it will be said again that Bonnaroo is often as much about what you miss as what you saw. I missed the acoustic Phil set due to almost complete exhaustion (readers, this is your chance to comment...), but regrouped in time for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss featuring T Bone Burnett. Krauss' silky voice was the perfect compliment to Plant's writhing. The vocal beatings he took during Zeppelin means he can't always hit those high notes for sustained periods, but his voice has aged with richness and gravity. Burnett's guitar was the extra twist in the cocktail as the fiddles and strings made for a set that felt spacious and grew to moments of rolling thunder. Revisiting Zeppelin to fit in with his co-conspirators, Plant still managed to strut with mic in hand during "Black Dog," the cocky rock star he once was tempered with wisdom and gratitude.

Since they rarely play together, I did hotfoot it to catch the tail end of Broken Social Scene, who led the audience in a scream along to "Personal Therapy." The audience in That Tent was a jumping sea of waving arms obviously feeling the breakthrough. But as the final day of Bonnaroo drew to a close, I had the fortune of catching Jake Shimabukuro in the Blue Room Café at the back of the What Stage area. If the ukulele is not an instrument you have ever considered seriously, Shimabukuro will bring you around. He made it sing with jazzy picking and lovely rolls through classical pieces and covers of "In My Life" and "Going to California." "There's nowhere else in the world I would rather be," he enthused, and I had to agree as the audience settled in for a long evening with fest closers Widespread Panic.

Widespread Panic :: Bonnaroo 08 by Vann
Somehow in my musical journeys, I have never managed to see Panic live, and what better setting than Bonnaroo? My brother, a Bonnaroo vet, is a diehard fan and he grabbed my arm and yelled, "You're FINALLY fucking seeing them!" as they took the stage. Alongside My Morning Jacket, John Bell and Co. have become synonymous with this festival, and although their set started off slow, it picked up midway into stretching, rowdy jams that kicked many of us who were sitting to our feet, although Bell's meaty guitar lorded over guest Robert Randolph. Even if Randolph didn't always quite mesh, the second half of this set was played with assurance as Dave Schools' hair floated behind his towering stature and stormy basslines alongside Bell's distinctive, gravelly howl. Chilly, hungry and being held together by a thinly spun web of inertia, coffee and tobacco, I headed for the campsite, "Tall Boy" fading gradually away, sound tracking my parting shot. Although many of my Spreadhead friends speculate their best years are behind them, I hope the momentum can keep this outfit going for a while to reach potential new heights in an already proud career.

I was drawn back to Sam Bush's thoughts as I wandered to the packed car, bound to Nashville and the trappings of civilization. What Bonnaroo was I searching for? One where musical honesty, never-look-back risks and rare opportunities present themselves at every turn, while fellow live music freaks mutually support each other through an often trying landscape. I am happy to report that Bonnaroo does indeed exist, and in spite of the inherent trials and gripes, there are countless inspired moments transcribed in my crumpled notebook. I'll paraphrase Patterson Hold here: You'll have to take my word for it, but every word I am saying is the goddamn truth.

Continue reading for more images from Bonnaroo 2008...

For lots of Bonnaroo YouTube clips, check out what the fine folks over at Glide's Hidden Track are offering. Images by: Rod Snyder

Thursday, June 12

Kristin Gundred - Grand Ole Party
Davy Knowles - Back Door Slam
Ben Goldwasser - MGMT
Adrian Quesada - Grupo Fantasma
Ian Williams - Battles
Ezra Koenig - Vampire Weekend
Ezra Koenig - Vampire Weekend
Sarah McLellan & Steph Paynes - Lez Zeppelin
Steph Paynes - Lez Zeppelin

Friday, June 13

Patterson Hood - Drive-By Truckers
Shonna Tucker - Drive-By Truckers
Ryan Stasik - Umphrey's McGee
Jake Cinninger - Umphrey's McGee
Stephen Marley
Stephen Marley
Les Claypool
Jack White - The Raconteurs
Brendan Benson & Jack White - The Raconteurs
Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello) - Super Jam
Les Claypool - Super Jam
Jim James - My Morning Jacket

Saturday, June 14

Adam Stephens - Two Gallants
Tyson Vogel - Two Gallants
The Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Brent Hinds - Mastodon
Scott Avett - The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
B.B. King
B.B. King
Sam Beam - Iron & Wine
Jack Johnson
Phil Lesh
Phil Lesh
Jackie Greene - Phil Lesh & Friends
Sigur Ros
Such & Such
Such & Such
Such & Such

Sunday, June 15

Orchestra Baobab
Post-Kanye Fall Out
Jeff Austin - Yonder Mountain String Band
Phil Lesh - Acoustic Set
Larry Campbell - Phil & Friends Acoustic
Susan Tedeschi - Soul Stew Revival
Derek Trucks - Soul Stew Revival
Alison Krauss
T Bone Burnett
Robert Plant
Robert Plant

Continue reading for even more images from Bonnaroo 2008...

Images by: Dave Vann

Thursday, June 12

Vampire Weekend

Lez Zeppelin


Friday, June 13

Umphrey's McGee
The Raconteurs Press Conference
Jack White - The Raconteurs
Chris Rock
Metallica Fans
Lars Ulrich - Metallica
James Hetfield - Metallica
Kirk Hammett - Metallica
The Disco Biscuits
Jim James - My Morning Jacket
Patrick Hallahan - My Morning Jacket
Kirk Hammett with My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket Fans

Saturday, June 14

Cat Power
Cat Power
Cat Power
Jack Johnson
Kanye West
Kanye West

Sunday, June 15

Jakob Dylan
Phil & Friends Acoustic
Robert Plant & T Bone Burnett
Alison Krauss
Robert Plant
John Bell - Widespread Panic
Widespread Panic

And don't forget, for Bonnaroo YouTube clips, check out Glide's Hidden Track.

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joolzen1 Tue 6/17/2008 01:43PM
+11 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


nicely written review, disappointed that Kayne would pull that shit and I don't even listen to him

Luthur starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 01:53PM
+9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Kanye Sucks!!!


Nice pics and review.

chidodger Tue 6/17/2008 02:01PM
+10 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Kanye West hates white people. Lolla Schedule was released this morning, and I'm totally skipping him for NIN. Glad Rothbury got SNOOP instead, can't wait for it......

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 02:06PM
Show -9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
surlybuf Tue 6/17/2008 02:13PM
+10 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Why the Kanye photo, and no Pearl Jam?

jordonimo Tue 6/17/2008 02:21PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


great pictures! never been a metallica fan but i wouldn't mind seeing them at a venue like bonnaroo, looks like they raged it

NatiMatty starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 02:37PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Bonnaroo was pretty fucking sweet this year. I took a few years off but remember why i love going! My highlight was The Racontuers! They killed it! and Recomended to ALL! As far a this whole Kanye bull shit! Its true he did make people wait around. Because he is a pompus Ass whole. We ended up bailing out to see Galactic with Charlie Tuna. Yes a Galactic suprise viisit! All in all Great time Great people! See you all at Rothbury and All Good! I love the summer! Fuck work! Im goin on tour!!!!

cmoore7 starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 02:42PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Ghostland Observatory changed my life. Do you have any pics of their set? Even you said it was the best light show?

j-bizzle Tue 6/17/2008 02:43PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


whoa whoa whoa!!!! Bonnaroo to Roth... please repeat that last line again. Coming around on Panic and MMJ within a few months of each other - well done.

Muffinman1 Tue 6/17/2008 02:45PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


In a scene that thrives on Band to Fan appretiation/respect, Kanye has lost all credability. Fuck you Kanye!

willydog Tue 6/17/2008 02:48PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Pearl Jam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

phisherman81 Tue 6/17/2008 03:22PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

If you have a ticket to Rothbury I would like to ask that you please stand up and give yourself a pat on the back for making a wise decision months ago...missed my first Roo this year and couldn't be happier

SlaveTotheDarkStar Tue 6/17/2008 03:24PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


First of all, when Robert Randolph started the "Kanye sucks" chant during the Bo Diddley tribute, I leaped for joy inside. Then my friend, who was on only one hit of the last Hoffman cid, tried to jump up on the stage and steal the bass out of Randolph's hands. I couldn't stop laughing when he told me that was him, but I truly believe that if he had gotten the bass, Bonnaroo would have been in for a surprise.

Secondly, I can't believe NO ONE has said anything about the Back Door Slam set.

Like come on.

Davy Knowles fucking blew the roof off. He ripped my soul out and shredded all over it.

Thirdly, My Morning Jacket is a fucking luxury, and I too found myself just screaming "Fuck It" when the heavens opened back up for the second time; I couldn't have possibly gotten more soaked... but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

jishman starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 03:33PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Awesome review Sarah, one of the best, most coherent and thoughtful recaps of a weekend (not an easy task) that I've ever read on this site. I'll have to make it next the meantime, MMJ at Red Rocks will be tiding me over.

keenan41 starstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 03:52PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Nice review. You couldn't hit in depth on everything, but it looks like you got something on mostly everything. Sounds exhausting! And Bonnaroo to Roth, finally turning around on MMJ??!? Can't wait for Radio City. Their set looked nice at this. Also, I'm glad Kanye f'ed himself over by being a total narcassist.

bhyman starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 04:05PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

What a sweet review. I chose not to Roo this year for 3 reasons, Metallica, Kanye, and Jack Johnson. The week before the festival I was considering going anyway, and now I am kicking myself. I somehow forgot that the joy of Bonnaroo is not in the main acts (although I will make an exception for Radiohead), but exists in the new, unexpected discoveries and inspired performances by the best live touring bands from around the world.

I would have paid $250 and stood in the rain in the middle of the night just to see MMJ perform that set.

I'll be back next year.

dreadyknowsbest starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 04:15PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Kanyeea Sucks

Mark Price former NBA star Tue 6/17/2008 04:47PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mark Price former NBA star

awesome review, the pictures were awesome, but that doesn't mean the music was great. It is obivous that MMJ are the best. WSP is always amazing, along with YMSB (my favorite) I did happen to watch the Yonder set on the live webcast and all I can say is amazing. Also Fuck Kanye

thehurricane23 Tue 6/17/2008 05:43PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


After reading some of the stories on Bonnaroo's site and here I'm glad I chose to stay home for the first time since 03 this year. Anybody watch the Panic set? They used to bring such EPIC sets to Bonnaroo and looking at the setlist it seemed about on par with last years performance which in my oppinion was mediocre. The whole Kanye debacle is laughable to me having not attended this year because of artists like that jackass being on the bill. From what I understand Phil was forced to cut his set short, his legions should have went over just to boo Kanye. I have a feeling Snoop will suck just as bad live at Roth, Ive seen him before and its pretty ugly. He would be wise to just pair up with George Clinton and do a funky musically driven set of both their material, that could be a blast. Cause the last two times Ive seen George Clinton that mofu hadn't been able to sing worth a shit! Too much time with the crackpipe,HAHAHA. Anyone check out the Dumpstaphunk late night or anything else in the Somethin Else?

thisiswhathappenslarry starstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 05:46PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


A Live MMj experience truly can be life changing. I'm lovin' that their set lasted 4 hours (did i get that right?) Can't wait for this friday's show at Radio City. It's gonna be DISGUSTIINNGGGG!

thehurricane23 Tue 6/17/2008 05:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


And yeah, I missed not being there but hey ALLGOOD"s just around the corner..and we happened to catch a smoking show in Indianapolis on Friday. Medeski Martin Scofield Wood followed up by Buddy Guy. And with the weather and Bonnaroo keeping people home there were about 500 people out there!!

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 06:02PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


hahah fuck kanye=MC d-bag

jmintz starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 06:08PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Kudos on a great review. Putting words to a festival is near impossible, and this writer has managed to do so in an eloquent, thorough way. I rarely read fest reviews because they tend to drag, but this was great. Well done!

NittyGritty starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 06:28PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Awesome festival, thanks bonnaroo. Screw yourself Kanye! and MMJ gets the best show award. Definitely rocked my ass off.

moemoe6434 Tue 6/17/2008 06:53PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Is Jack White purposely trying to look like Michael Jackson?

Mountain_Icculus starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 07:19PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Yea i couldnt imagine wat that mmj show was like...Just saw them last night in Toronto. Absolutely mind blowing...Congrats to everyone whose bout to experience what i did last night. Great Review!

curtbraski starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 07:27PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


that picture of lars ulrich looks like him yelling to all his fans about napster way back when... so bummed i missed this JACKET experience...hope louisville heals some of my wounds...

hookah420 Tue 6/17/2008 07:49PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The first 3 bonnaroos were cool. Now its g-dogs and college people. STICK WITH HIPPIES!!! Come to Nelson Ledges!!! Hippies ONLY!!

SnapHappy Tue 6/17/2008 10:48PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hey moemoe6434...

...I was thinking more like Liza Minnelli. But I think she has bigger chops!

1048 starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 11:03PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
radiohead85 starstarstarstarstar Tue 6/17/2008 11:31PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Yes! Nelson Ledges is such a great festival place! Went to my first Gratefulfest last year and had an amazing time. Saw Greyboy Allstars, New Mastersounds, Cornmeal, and Peter Rowan amongst others. Felt much more free there than at any festival before!

thehurricane23 Wed 6/18/2008 12:15AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


yeah nelson ledges is the shit the owners actually CARE about the scene

hagerman2 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 01:09AM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Why'd you tell everyone I cried at the truckers!?!

hagerman2 star Wed 6/18/2008 01:20AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
wastintimejp starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 05:17AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This was a wonderful review. The first review of Bonnaroo I have read that actually included music.

If anyone did see acoustic Phil, please let us know how it was. I am most curious.

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 05:19AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
lewiscipher Wed 6/18/2008 05:50AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
psogator43 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 05:57AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This was number 4 for me and while I wouldn't say it was the best, it definitely exceeded my expectations. I will admit...I was slightly hesitant going into this year but knew I would have no problem seeing great music at all times during the day. For once, I thought the band conflicts were not TOO horrible (they've been much worse in the past AKA last years late nights...SCI/Superjam on Friday and Lips/Mule/Galactic on Saturday...ARE YOU KIDDING?) Anyway, as everyone has been saying, great review. It has to be so hard to cover a festi such as Bonnaroo, let alone by yourself. I wish she had covered some other stuff but definitely no complaints. Here are some of my thoughts after another solid year at the Roo...

1. Despite no late night set, Umphrey's killed during the day and really seemed to embrace the crowd...Sonic Stage set was sweet...did they ever finish Bridgeless???

2. Was my first time seeing Drive By Truckers...really wanted to see what all the fuss was about around Patterson Hood and he definitely didn't disappoint. The crowd loved him and ditto on his story about Chester...very emotional.

3. Bluegrass Allstars...did anyone else feel like they were in heaven. Top 3 set for me

4. MSTRKRFT...WOOOOOOW! This is what Bonnaroo is all about...happened to walk up to That Tent and didn't leave until the party was over...incredible energy

5. Was anyone else disappointed with the Superjam lineup?

6. Saturday night (despite Kanye) was great for stage hopping...Phil and Friends, Chromeo, and Ghostland all impressed

7. Had no problems with unruly fans and am already looking forward to next year

Sorry for the rant...once again great review and pics!

psogator43 Wed 6/18/2008 06:00AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Also in response to wastintimejp...Phil and Friends acoustic...seemed kind of hard to hear and see from the back (as they were all sitting down)...favorites from that set were "Deal" and "Deep Elem Blues"...Phil was solid as hell this weekend

joeyb4 Wed 6/18/2008 06:25AM
Show -5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
O1Roggae starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 06:57AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I am so glad I didn't go this year, weak review and weak pics, how are you going to be a festival review writer for jambase and you haven't even seen WSP live once. Kanye West sums up what bonnaroo is becoming and its not getting better.

jazzfester Wed 6/18/2008 07:21AM
+9 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I have been to the last 5 Bonnaroos and I will never be back again. Although the music was comfortable, it is all about the money. There was no community.

The reason that the searches took so long was the unnecessary thoroughness. I had nothing illegal on me, yet our trailer was searched 3 times and I had to defend my prescription antihistamines. This asshole thought that he had found the mother load.

The final insult was Sunday night when I entered Centeroo and was subjected to a feeling from a security guy who clearly enjoys his job. I actually pushed his hand from between my ass cheeks after he touched the hole through my shorts. He giggled...I did not.

It says in the booklet that there are very few rules.... Keep smiling to my face, taking my money, and bullshitting me. Like the crowd noise that is put in the mix to make you think that everyone is cheering or clapping in unison. Has anyone else noticed this?

I will go elsewhere next year.

granola Wed 6/18/2008 07:33AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I was reading some news articles on bonnaroo and i thought it was funny how they blamed not selling out on the gas prices. They must be to ignorant to understand it was the mediocre lineup. Go back to your roots bonnaroo. Way to commercialized for me. I mean come on it was on fuse. Just out of curiosity i looked on there and the ten main bands fuse was advertising who were at bonnaroo were like MTV bands. They didnt even have Panic as a main band. Bonnaroo used to be a wonderful really magical place where good natured people could go for three years and now its turned into a giant duecebag frat party.

cajunmike420 Wed 6/18/2008 07:38AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


bonnaroo is dead. i have had great times at the roo, and still managed to have a good time at this one somehow. the metal really did kill the community and vibe and lead to much much heavier searches and bad attitudeds. f narcaroo

granola Wed 6/18/2008 07:40AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Sorry meant to say that Fuse didnt have Phil as a main one either. What a joke.

Robusto Wed 6/18/2008 07:40AM
+7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Kanye has ALWAYS sucked. Is this news to you people?

psogator43 Wed 6/18/2008 08:01AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I will agree that the metal "vibe" went against what Bonnaroo is all about but if you surround yourself with good people then that shouldn't matter. I guess it really has to do with luck...some people had bad experiences with the crowd where as I wasn't greatly affected by them. Same idea with the security...all about the luck of the draw and who searches you. Some people couldnt care less what you bring in...others do.

And yes I will agree...Kanye sucked before this and his debacle further proves that point...cocky bastard

snausages starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 08:12AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


lol i didn't get to go this year- and judging by the review i'm honestly happy i stayed in my cozy little room up north in Chicago. Maaaannnn fuck Kanye! i could've told you that bastard was useless. He should've just stuck to making beats. I'm sorry for all you good people who was stuck waiting on his ass...yeah he's definitely gonna lose out at lolla. Esp since it just so happens that NIN is performing at the same time - (thank you festival gods for setting that up)

see you guys in August!

aquariumdrunk starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 08:13AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Jazzfester, I have also been to the last 5 Bonnaroos and, assuming the lineup agrees, will be back next year! We didn't encounter, see, or hear about any of the crazy security ordeals you seem to have dealt with. As for the crowd, it was fun and made for some incredible people watching. I didn't see anything that resembled violence, nor did I catch any negativity. Even the Kanye debacle was more humorous than anything else. Hell, I rode the afterglow from the Phil & Friends show over to the mainstage and danced my ass off for that 55 minutes of Kanye -- then it was off to the tent for a good 90 minutes of sleep.

The Bluegrass Allstars were spectacular, Orchestra Baobob soothed my frazzled Sunday afternoon vibes from that late Saturday night, Levon Helm & The Ramble on the Road brought down the tent, the Phil acoustic thing was very intimate, MMJ made the heavens pour, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Like anything else, it's all relative and based heavily on one's personal experience. My experience just happened to be great!

A hell of a well written review to boot!!

DiggityDawg starstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 08:41AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Great review, you really seemed to cover alot of turf. Despite price gouging the roo really does provide one with the most variety. Sweet ass pics too.

hoopdrums Wed 6/18/2008 09:32AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I don't understand how everyone who went didn't say Sigur Ros was life changing. Because they are life changing. and to see them at Bonnaroo must have been an experience I couldn't even imagine.

Great review, it must have been so hard to see so many bands and not be able to catch full sets, but that's Bonnaroo right?

I've been the past few years and I've found that it really is all about the experience, and you can't go expecting to see this or that band because you don't know what's going to happen. And whoever said this was right, it's not really about the headliners (besides Radiohead which put on the best show anyone will ever see currently at 06 'Roo).. its about discovering new music and meeting good people.

and thats outrageous about Kanye..... great little slam on him while boosting Lupe and Talib's true hip hop status. not all hip hop is bad live... ala Wu Tang or Roots

blower starstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 09:44AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Decent Review! Listened to the Metallica show. Say what you want about them but they rocked!

ScIFreak Wed 6/18/2008 09:49AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Watched the Webcast, so I wasn't at the Farm this time ( Line-up bs/ Rothbury ) The Music I got to watch was really good. I love Bonnaroo for what it was, and not for what it is now. They should just go back to old-school Roo.....

YEMolly starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 09:55AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Well, it was my 6th Bonnaroo, and I had a great time (as usual). Like someone said, it's all relative. No, it's not a festival for hippies anymore. It's a festival for diverse music lovers. If that's not your cup of tea, don't go. Ghostland Observatory was the highlight of my weekend. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! Why no pictures of them?!?! I don't understand!

psogator43 Wed 6/18/2008 10:03AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

^^^Ditto YEMolly...where are the Ghostland pics...that light show was unreal!

Hagermeister Wed 6/18/2008 10:05AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Thanks readers, just read through comments and wanted to set a few things straight...

Without going into details, there were some limitations on photography so unfortunately we couldn't get everything we wamted, but Rod and Dave did an excellent job in spite of that and deserve all the props they can get.

Thanks psogator43 and aquariumdrunk for the two cents on Phil - I agree he was on fire this weekend, this new line-up is really impressing me, and I was bummed I missed that set (Yonder wore me out completely, after a long weekend of being worn out by wonderful music). Also agree about the BGAS - heaven indeed! :)

Security was so-so for me, but a few people are always attracted to those positions just so they hassle people. You know, "Respect my authori-tie!" No matter where you are, if there's hired security there will be jerks thrown in the mix as well as nice folks just trying to do their jobs. It's an unfortunate luck of the draw if you get the jerks.

lewiscipher - There was a lot of hating in the run-up to B-roo re: Metallica fans being "meat heads" who would take no interest or respect in the other music going on, which is precisely why I made a point to address those issues. I stand by my opinions on Metallica's music - their role as pioneers (or, as you put it in an original semiotic twist, "innovations") of thrash metal is to be respected for sure (alongside Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeath), but that does not not mean their evolution as songwriters is necessarily reflective of that initial innovation. I did give them sincere props for rocking the show with enthusiasm.

And who is Robert Plant again? Is he in WSP?

Hagermeister Wed 6/18/2008 10:09AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"we couldn't get everything we WANTED" - I can also stand accused of failing to spell check before posting :)

cmoore7 Wed 6/18/2008 10:19AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
waa8 Wed 6/18/2008 10:22AM
+8 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The lyrics to kanye's song "stronger" pretty much sum up how he feels about bonnaroo:

"Bow in the presence of greatness

Cause right now thou has forsaken us

You should be honored by my lateness

That I would even show up to this fake sh*t"


Hagermeister Wed 6/18/2008 10:34AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


^Yes the sound bleed from MIA def affected Willie's show.

Curious if anyone else made it to acoustic Phil. I'll say it again, this current Phil incarnation been tearing it up since last year and I imagine pared down + Williams it was stellar.

aquariumdrunk Wed 6/18/2008 10:48AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


For the record, I welled up and whimpered on no less than three separate occasions this year: The Truckers (I'm as guilty as the reviewer's brother), The Phil acoustic set (There was this Dad, dancing around with his little boy during "Ripple" - I saw him tear up and I fell apart), and a song I didn't recognize during the Levon set...killed me!

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 11:04AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I hear you aquariumdrunk AKA JYD.....Bonnaroo rocked. the Patterson Hood story was uplifting....

Hagermeister Wed 6/18/2008 11:04AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


^Yet one example of the genuinely emotional experiences the Dead's music can inspire like no other. Thanks to those intrepid tapers I can keep up with what's going on in audio if I can't be there in person, but some amazingly graceful moments can never be captured on tape. Def bit my lip a few times during Levon as well.

Broesau Wed 6/18/2008 11:42AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Wow, I must be out of the loop, cause I've never heard of 75% of these bands. I didn't go, but I was pretty dissapointed in Fuse's coverage, I dont see how they don't broadcast a single performance by ONE jam-band, (phil, panic, YMSB, something) considering that that is the root of the festival. The "one big holiday" with hammet was played on Fuse, and that was sick. The Raconteurs....I don't get, I think they sound terrible, thats just me. Metallica wasn't bad. Jack Johnson, meh.

As the author of this piece stated, "Alongside My Morning Jacket, John Bell and Co. have become synonymous with this festival" I agree, expect about the MMJ part. This began as a panic festy, anyone who was there the first year could see that, yet with all the media attention it got, i didn't hear but a mention of panic. Anyway, not to be negative, I'm sure if you are into these bands it was a great time. They should really stop referring to bonarroo as a jam band fest that has diversified. and start calling it an alternative music fest w/ a few jam bands.

hookahfreak420 Wed 6/18/2008 12:08PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

After seven years the organizers of CommericalRoo finally stepped on their collective crank with golf shoes. Kanye West? Please. This ass clown couldn't even keep his foul, negative chili hole shut at the Grammy awards when he didn't win the best album of the year. Set aside the fact that his album wasn't the best of the year for a moment and consider that this punk ass bitch from the ghetto just acts so friggen entitled! Sorry dude, but you ain't exactly Jay-Z or Puff Daddy in the Mogul department and your miserable, selfish, whiny, me-me-me attitude just isn't going to wash with anyone other than the junior high gangsta posers who buy your records. I didn't go to Bonnaroo this year for several reasons, one named Kanye West, and another named Metallica. Putting Bonnaroo together was a stroke of genius 7 years ago. Getting all of the great bands from the Jamband scene together for a weekend of epic music and debauchery was brilliant, and of course made the orgaizers very wealthy men. Somewhere along the line, they lost their way and started inviting a bunch of acts that simply don't jive with the peaceful vibe of the Jam scene. At the last Bonnaroo I went to I witnessed half a dozen fights and and endless sea of sketchy losers roaming the campground shaking down kids for selling beer "on their turf." The only thing I am glad about is that Kanye's late night debacle didn't turn into a full scale race riot had Metallica's set been cut short because of it. Leave the rappers, punkers, emos, technos, gangtas, and the rest of the shitheads at home. Bring back the hippies and maybe your show will sell out regardless of the price of gas.

crescentvale starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 12:37PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Next year I hope they bring back what made the festival great. If it's not broke don't fix it, and bonnaroo has now seriously spilled the milk. I am happy to see riots didn't break out during Metallica, watching it online was like seeing the Nazis during WWII. The Les Claypool set looked amazing, the Yonder set was mediocre I heard. Robert Randolph is bonnaroo, let him headline next year along with WSP and MMJ. They have held this festivals head above water for years now, while other bands continue to sink the atmosphere of the gathering. I was there for the first two years and if you want another good year, bring back the bands who made it what it is today. Thank you to everyone who went and who stands up for they believe in, power in numbers will show the promoters whats what.

Smittea starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 12:53PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Looks like the industry has taken over a good portion of what this festival used to be.... Time to find another one. You know, kinda stay one step ahead of the "game".

jbanks14 starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 12:53PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i am so tired of hearing people on this website complain about the people who attend festivals like the alledged "sell out" bonnaroo as being aggressive and negative. it seems to me that the people who are negative and unopen to accepting peoples differences and inviting people to learn more about the jam music scene are the ones like hookahfreak420 who just want an environment that is condusive to tripping on acid for 48 hours straight. i am not a huge fan of mettalica myself but i guarantee if you were to ask many of the musicians who make up the majority of the festivals that are frequented by the more "hippie" crowd they would applaud them for their musicianship and longevity and may quote them as an influence in aspects of their music. if you no longer attend festivals based on the fact that they are able to invite a broader range of music, hence getting more people into music they may have otherwise not have discovered then you are sad and pathetic and go against the very essence of the jam band scene and are robbing yourself from seeing many great shows from artists who have been staples of festivals since their begginings. with that being said i enjoyed the pictures and review and wish i had gone this year and cant wait to see everyone at bonnaroo 2009.

ogsamurai starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 12:57PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i though the line up this year was decent. artists like robert randolph, ymsb, & umph keep the jammies coming back. unfortunately the addition of all the pop bullshit (jj, kanye, deathcab) makes it an undesirable fest for 08. Outsidelands & APW are better bets for this summer

Smittea starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 01:11PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


jbanks14 - Please do not take offense by my previous post. I am open to all types of music, I just also prefer smaller crows for a myriad of reasons - most of which is the actual pleasure in going. I find that when they get too large, they lose some of that jena se qua. I would love to see almost every act listed on this lineup, just not on a large video display when I am standing right there in the audience. Sorry, but once it gets that big it loses A LOT of its intimacy and fun. ...but that could just be my problem.

pdids starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 01:24PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Aquariumdrunk, I must of been standing right next to you, cuz i was also right behind the dad and young kid during the Phil acoustic set. The little dude knew all the words to every dead song!

Sarah, great review of a great weekend. I thought the Raconteurs were amazing and Umphrey's absolutely killed it. (great pick of Ryan too). I seemed to have missed the memo where everyone decided that Disco Biscuits are better than Umphreys, but oh well.

Just a few things I noticed reading through though. Iron and Wine played an amazing show. Starting off with their newer, spacey stuff that transitioned perfectly into some older more upbeat tracks. It was perfectly mellow and heartfelt. Also, I realize that Derick Trucks got off late and ran into the Widespread set, but he was shredding so hard! and the cover of The Band's "The Weight" was fantastic. And finally, while Yonder was dropping some subtle Kanye disses, Rober Randolph lead the crown in a beautiful "Kanye Sucks" chant from That Tent. It was hilarious to see the chant ripple out through Centeroo.

It was my first Bonnaroo and I had a blast.


soulive79 starstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 01:45PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


how bout grupo fantasma? came into bonnaroo with no idea about them and put on a awesome show...twice. mmj-sicknasty.

shanky95 Wed 6/18/2008 01:45PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

YES!!! I am so pumped I have a Rothbury ticket... to all those people that said Kayne would be awesome... I told you so! See you in the woods in Michigan in two weeks!!!!!!

ScIFreak starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 02:06PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Anyone who went to Roo in 02,03,04 seems to think Bonnaroo has totally sold out. The line up sucked, and I'm sure if it was you're first Roo, you did not experience ANYTHING like in the past years ( Musically, and Heads wise.) I/m glad Kayne fucked up, IN YOUR FACE SUPERFLY!!! Metallica, Pearl Jam, Fuck that! How about throwing some better acts on the main stage. Also this is the first year Roo DIDN'T SELL OUT their TIX!!!! Because the Line up is soo fucking shitty. Fuck emos, and wangsta's wannabe. Bring Back the HEADY JAM BANDS.!!

Deadphans starstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 02:42PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Ive been to 04, 05, 06, 07 Roo's This year I skipped cause the headliners weren't my cup of joe. This isnt a festival for hippies any more, its very corporate and has very diverse music. But, it was good for music lovers. Then again, I dont really like some of the indie acts they had. I cant say the whole line up sucked though, because Bluegrass Allstars are awesome, wood brothers, les claypool, dumpstaphunk, to name a few. Theres still those greats. Me personally I would rather see them at the hippie festival than bonnaroo. Specially when they bark Fuse TV and Garnier Fructis at ya. IDK, too corporate for me.

DubSaw starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 03:08PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


pretty upset i missed it this year. will probably be back next year. I love bonnaroo and i love DIVERSITY !!! where else can you see a jam band,and then go see an electronica band and then go see a hip hop group and then go see some bluegrass and then go check out some straight up rock n roll and then go see a fucking METAL band and then go see an indie band and then top it all off with a DJ set !?!?!!?! answer me that. (besides coachella) DIVERSITY IS KEY. DIVERSIFY YOUR MINDS HIPPIES !!!!!!!! Bonnaroo rocks and it always will (hopefully ) (minus the corporate bullshit) AWESOME REVIEW BY THE WAY!!!!!!!!

DubSaw starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 03:12PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


by the way im sure umphreys and moe both covered metallica songs at bonnaroo a few years back !? are they sellouts ?????? NO cause metallica rips it.

MarkBC starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 03:12PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I went last year, and was absolutely determined to make it back this year, I was totally convinced of it at the time. Who wouldn't with a SuperJam of ?uestLove, Harper and fucking JOHN PAUL JONES? OR the Gov't Mule and Friends show with JPJ shredding it on the organ!? Regina Spector's haunting voice coming at me from the front row! (More personal...) peaking at Ratdog and having them OWN MY SOUL with Franklin's Tower!? Everything about Bonnaroo last year was awesome, although I was worried about Tool being there. I saw a possible direction for Roo's future that I did NOT want to see happen, but at the time I sincerely doubted it. ---- Then the lineup for this year came out. I couldn't believe it. KANYE WEST!? Are you fucking kidding me!? I would dig any hip hop addition to Roo, but Kanye?? Oh and by the way, it's being aired on FUSE except it's only the alternative bands being played, when Bonnaroo is all about ALL DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSIC! You can't even argue with me and tell me that's not a Roo that's been MTV-ized. I'm more of a jam band guy myself, I probably would have had a great time at Pearl Jam and Jack Johnson, but Metallica... don't they have Warped Tour or something? So sadly Bonnaroo 2008 went in the direction I dreaded it would. I PRAY TO THE MUSIC GODS that Bonnaroo 2009 goes back to its roots, no more MTV-ization, no more Kanye!

psogator43 Wed 6/18/2008 03:13PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Hagermeister...Larry played fiddle or violin during many of the songs so it made for a great addition. Like I said before, it became hard to hear in the back and with the show being in This Tent, there was a lot of bleed. Put that show in The Other Tent (where Levon was) and it makes for a much more intimate show. I always feel like that stage should be reserved for shit like that...

DubSaw...100% agree. I said to many of my friends that even though there were many big jamband absences at the Roo this year (moe., Keller, Mule just to name a few), I knew I wouldn't have a problem finding something interesting to listen to. I found myself taking longer walks going to and from stages and tents just to hear what was going on elsewhere. That's what makes Bonnaroo the shit.

ALSO...for those who were at the UM set at the Sonic stage...did anyone play frisbee with Brownstein and Magner in the back?

blower starstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 03:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Never stops here! WSP has covered Metallica before, the Pearl Jam show was damn good. If you waited for Kayne then it was your fault. Get over yourselves, its a music fesitival. Plenty of other bands to see if you don't like one band. This hippy likes all kinds of music including metal and punk. Maybe losers like Hookahlover should stay away from fests so that the punks, freaks, bikers, hippies, rednecks, wristslitting emo's, shiny assed booty shaking funk goddessess can all rock out together without your pettyness.

Not to mention Phish shows had quite possibly the lamest wannabe crowds I have ever witnessed.

O1Roggae Wed 6/18/2008 04:01PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"This pushes aside the "E" love fest in favor of synth dipped in the blackest acid." I love these quotes the reviewer put into this review. By the way why does it matter who is at the fest as long as they aren't starting fights and riots with anyone else. People need to stop complaining about the different groups of people that attend these large festivals.

ScIFreak starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 05:35PM
Show -5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
BobbyShortcutShows starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 06:36PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


never went to a roo and im glad i didnt! who cares who plays and who didnt this festi and almost all of the festies are lame now anyways! The first coachella i went to had less than 40k people there, the first couple roo's were alright now look! The best way to vote is with your money and i choose to do it with this festi and others. im sure there were great segments though. and by the way ive been waiting for this to happen to kanye the whole time! Never let a suburban chi-town kat tell you about diamonds!

tlgo Wed 6/18/2008 07:08PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

SciFreak- No hula-hoopin' chances got you feelin' down? I liken Kanye as a modern day Trey. Bonnaroo 02 will not be duplicated. Go Panic or go hula-hoop.....

smokey82832 Wed 6/18/2008 07:56PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

6th Bonnaroo and overall if u are a music lover this fest kicked serious ass. All the artist went balls to the wall (well almost all) There is no doubt the people going to the 'roo has changed. Maybe for the better. Let 'roo be a GREAT example of how a music fest can be cool for everybody. This way we can pick any type of fest we like. If Bonnaroo ends up being a bust u can bet other fests will follow suit. Now is a good time to be a music lover peace see ya on the farm next year Hell yeah BOnnaroooooo

HarreHoood7 Wed 6/18/2008 08:15PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
moejoerisin Wed 6/18/2008 08:23PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"just saying, "Fuck it, I can't possibly be any more drenched."

haha i've done that soooo many times. awesome!

HarreHoood7 Wed 6/18/2008 08:24PM
Show -12 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
aquariumdrunk Wed 6/18/2008 08:39PM
+15 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



deepsoundchannel starstarstarstarstar Wed 6/18/2008 11:55PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I haven't got a caps lock key unfortunately, but did anyone see The Wood Brothers with John Medeski?

psogator43 Thu 6/19/2008 06:23AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Regarding the got to a point Friday night that I didn't know what the difference between wet and dry was. My shirt was so wet that it almost felt dry...very odd...

I think Smokey82832 put it best...this festival was great for music lovers, jambands or not...people are looking at the growth of bonnaroo as a bad thing. I agree...the corporate BS sucks. But if you go for the music and surround yourself with the right people, you make the festival as good as you want. Most of the huge jamband festivals today have looked at Roo as a model and now look whats happening...we're seeing these "jamband" festivals open up to include other types of music (electronica, dj, etc.) Let's see the lineups change as these other festivals get bigger...LONG LOVE THE ROO!

jewadamandtheisraelites starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/19/2008 08:38AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
pgeano Thu 6/19/2008 10:43AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I'll let you in on a little secret: Kanye West has always been arrogant. He thinks he's better than everyone; musicians and fans alike. Nothing he does surprises me.

damion2369 Thu 6/19/2008 11:19AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Bonnaroo has offically made me sick.......great way to ruin a good thing

allthink Thu 6/19/2008 04:04PM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
ClaysTribe Fri 6/20/2008 09:18AM
Show -8 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
nathann Fri 6/20/2008 10:18AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

wow so much hate on these boards regarding one festival. yes i was there in 03,04 and it was indeed amazing. Went back in 07 and the feeling just isn't on the ol' TN farm anymore. Too much corporate takeover and there is just no sense of community whatsoever. this was the premier festival of the summer in the US now w/ the over saturation of festivals throughout the US everything has to be BIGGER to be better in the promoters eyes to pull in the same numbers of people. Keep it simple folks. I'll be back at High Sierra 09

gmoo Fri 6/20/2008 10:48AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


It sounds like there are a lot of 'folks' on jambase with a lot of 'personal problems'. It's just a festival is what you make it. If you can't have fun at a festival like Bonnaroo regardless of the crowd then, well, you probably should just stay at home, read the reviews, and talk shit.

LewisIsGood starstarstarstar Fri 6/20/2008 12:57PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

People need to stop hating on Bonnaroo so much. This was my third Roo and I had just as much fun there as ever. To those speaking of corporate takeover: just ignore it! It isn't like it gets in the way of your festival experience that much, and it gives Bonnaroo more money to book sweet bands. The headliners have never been what I have gone to Bonnaroo for. Although they tend to go out of the typical hippie scene, just embrace it; it is still music and mostly still will rock your socks off. With all the money Bonn has, what are they supposed to do, bring back the Dead or Phish? No other jam band requires that much money to book, so they just go above and beyond. For instance, Metallica and Chris Rock both put on great, fun, Bonnaroo-friendly shows that were worth going to. And the festival is about the music really, and we're still getting classic festival jambands like Umphrey's, Claypool, Bisco, Panic, Phil Lesh, Robert Randolph, and this list goes on. Now as for Kanye...fuck Kanye. I am a huge fan of his rapping, but that show was not only ridiculously late but just a shitty show not fit for the stages of Bonnaroo. He literally didn't even care about the show. This was not Bonnaroo's fault though; if he had performed like Lupe it would have been an epic show, considering the fame and talent in his music! The way I see it, hippies should be happy, loving people who see the joy in what they are given, not hater bitches. Let's keep it that way and enjoy Bonnaroo for what is given, because to date it has never disappointed. Now Austin City Limits on the other hand--which has gone from an amazing festival to a hodgepodge of sub-par bands that don't fit the Austin or festival scenes worth shit (Foo Fighters?!?), can be complained about. Although this years lineup is better with a lil hiphop, Byrne, Volta, etc., that fest has really gone down the tubes from its first years. Be glad that Bonnaroo hasn't slipped in the way that ACL has.

larry Fri 6/20/2008 01:59PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Screw this BS. Bunch of Schwilly dope dealers is all that we have left for a scene. Quote whoever you want I am glad you could hear them over what was blaring on the next stage. Whoever put the schedule together should be fired. Treating Phil like that is unforgivable. Where are the Oakland A's when we need them. Man I miss Alpine when you could drive your bike up to the front gate. Panic did play a great set. So did Pearl Jsm. If this was your first time, i'm glad you had some fun. Try a real fest that doesn't have its head up its butt next time and you will see what little magic is left. Heck even Claypool was drowned out if you wern't close enough to the stage. Never again. Magfest is the biggest fest I am going to do from now on. I hope Phil hits the south so I can see a real show with the new band. They kept starting to cook untill the music from the next stage broke up any group energy or momentum. Let em book MTVs top ten next year and make some cash. I won't be there. BTW for what it was worth Kanye was not that bad. He must think he is G-d, and the sun was his lite show. I saw young girls in tears. I got a song out of it. Its all about an ego-maniac who does not have a clue. I had a few people the next day say that they really liked the song better then alot of what they heard at the fest. Yo freestyle with an acustic mising a string. I'll be the first one to pay for the ROOCLUB this year! I am trying so, hard not to use vulgararity. I guess superfly is just the newest in a long line of leeches. Peace and respect where it was earned.

Deadphans starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/20/2008 05:18PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Roo has to watch though. They are almost doing what ruined Woodstock. Booking metal bands (which attracts different types of people), with peaceful bands (which attracts different types of people). They are on opposite ends of the pole, and it is a recipe for a Woodstock disaster soup. Metallica does not belong at Bonnaroo, thats a concert you go to see at PNC Arts or MSG or something, or Warped Tour. Not Roo where there once was hippies that embraced Bela Fleck on the main stage. The main stream has tons of things already, why leak it in to the jam band scene where we don't want it. Now, I don't care about Bonnaroo any more, and thats my reason right there. I don't see how people cant understand why people are bashing Bonnaroo. Its very obvious. Especially when us hippies are the ones that made its success and got it to where it is today. Its a kick in the face.

grizaham starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/20/2008 11:30PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

That was my first Bonnaroo and the best one ever! :) I had zero problems.. I never waited in long lines to get into centeroo or was never touched in a nonspecial way. I thought the lineup was diverse and fantastic. I really loved wathcing all the spreadheads get into Metallica.. That is what its all about..

WLHart86 starstarstarstar Sat 6/21/2008 01:05AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"Dave Schools' hair floated behind his towering stature and stormy basslines alongside Bell's distinctive, gravelly howl. Chilly, hungry and being held together by a thinly spun web of inertia, coffee and tobacco, I headed for the campsite, "Tall Boy" fading gradually away, sound tracking my parting shot."

Im not sure it really matters how tired you are... You dont walk away from a Panic show... Your FIRST panic show at that.

toeknee420 Sat 6/21/2008 07:03AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I went from 02-04, and I'll never go back. This aint no festi. Conventry was a fucking festi. I bet these jerk off frat fags wouldn't have gotten their Escalades and K-Swiss dirty hiking a couple hours to see real music.

Take a look at the crowd shot in the pics above. Not one set of dreads!! How the fuck isn't there dreads up against the rail at any set durring Roo?

Manchester is to MTV, as Orlando is to DisneyWorld. Enjoy your $300 tickets to visit the wonderful, product filled, commercial theme park.

standingtaller star Sat 6/21/2008 07:33AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Did not go to Roo this year due to last year- could not hear anything, too many schedule conflicts, the thug life managing "Safety" and stealing/harrassing fans. When I saw Metallica was headlining, I knew it was over.

GUESS WHAT FOLKS? Roo did not sell out for only the second time in its history- they claim attendance was down 10%.

Who wants to spend massive dollars on a fest that has a hair salon, rap acts that breed negative vibes, and a metal band that sues its fans? There are much, much better fests out there (All Good, 10KLF, etc) that are keeping it close to what really matters- the music. I bet you'll hear Phil loud and clear in other fields.

The only thing that made me sad to miss Roo, this year, was MMJ! EviL Urges, baby.

standingtaller star Sat 6/21/2008 07:36AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I agree with the two posts above mine. HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU WALK ON YOUR FIRST WP SHOW? This artice has some good coverage, but anyone that is all about the music would consider this a disgrace! I saw the FUSE coverage and thought the same thing, "Take a look at the crowd shot in the pics above. Not one set of dreads!! How the fuck isn't there dreads up against the rail at any set durring Roo?

Manchester is to MTV, as Orlando is to DisneyWorld. Enjoy your $300 tickets to visit the wonderful, product filled, commercial theme park."

schofizzl Sat 6/21/2008 01:08PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


people with attitudes like bluntsnbisco are the reason we see so many feds and cops at shows. THANKS DUDE.

BooneRes Sat 6/21/2008 03:55PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
spaceface7 Sat 6/21/2008 10:16PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i think it goes music+party= community / i bet Kanye refers to himself in the third person.

damnisaidso Sun 6/22/2008 04:00PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

To jazzfester and sndtibefreak I couldnt agree more. I live just 30 min north of Bonnaroo and have been the last 4 years (couldnt get off work the first 2 years so i quit after the 3rd.) Bonnaroo has changed alot! Higher ticket prices (which someone said corporate pays for bigger bands.... um we do) tickets went from 160 I believe the first year at the highest price to 250 this year and with higher gas prices I am sure it didnt help Bonnaroo sell out but NEITHER DID THE LINEUP. The great community that we all know and love didnt make it to Bonnaroo this year because they werent allowing vendors to set up and sell without paying the hefty fee. And thats a damn shame they always have the best food around... Aside from the dollar grilled cheese. Bonnaroo is going to have to change some things for it to make it better. Its turning into Coachella and I havent ever wanted to go there. This year I made it down for Dereck Trucks and Susan who blew my mind! Then I saw WP and Sewing Machine was incredible. I know there are alot of haters of panic out there but this wasnt a festival created for one band there are alot of other great bands out there. The people who enjoy panic are probably bitchin about metallica and mastadon and the like. But i bet they didnt go see them. TO EACH HIS OWN. LET IT BE. However I think everyone agrees F@#$ Kanye. I never heard anyone say that had a terrible time at roo even I endured a terrible case of chafed rear but I enjoyed my 5 hours. Oh and one more thing my roomate collected a bunch of shows on his H2 recorder. If you love live music and want your own recording its cheap and you can put it in your front pocket and the sound is amazing. He caught the wood brothers and it sounds like it came from the studio they are very very good too check them out. Ramble on.

thedeazy starstarstarstar Sun 6/22/2008 07:19PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

What happened to the Beastie Boys? I was going to go this year but couldn't, although I thought the Beastie boys were supposed to be there?

trpnbily87 starstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 01:02AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I had a ball. Sorry if you didnt or think that Bonnaroo stinks and didnt even go.

Agreed - its a damn fine problem to have when there are 3 amazing sets going on and you have to pick and choose.

snausages Mon 6/23/2008 07:16AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


What's with the diversity bashin'???

Sure it originally began as a hippie mecca - but i mean c'mon isn't being a 'hippie' about peace, love, diversity and all that stuff??

what's wrong with mixing up the sound a little?

That makes a fest a hell of lot more interesting to me.

No offense to jambands & jamband lovers or anything - i love em too- but c'mon i mean you can only hear sooo much of it in a day let a long 3 or 4.

Chill. Hippies aren't really "original" anymore anyway unless your OG.

I call today's "hippies" nu-hippies. The type of hippies who drive around in the SUVS or gas guzzling cars and then go back home to a nice house to shower.

no disrespect to anyone - just keepin it real ;)

grasshole starstarstarstar Mon 6/23/2008 12:54PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

We hung out in the rear of metallica at the main stage at bonnaroo and anxiously watched the fireworks, moshing, explosions, and other extravagant spectacles that Metallica had to offer. I give the band the respect that is due, however they just arent my cup of tea. My morning Jacket began with a spitting rain, but it seemed like when the intensity of the music picked up, the rain did also. During the intermission the rain quit completely. Could all of that energy from the crowd have soemthing to do with that. My morning went on to play one of the most emotional and enlightening shows of my life. The lightshow, the rain, the crowd, the thousands of glowsticks, the baloons, jim james absolutely RIPPING the guitar and singing every song like it was his last- All made for one amazing show. The chills I was getting wasnt only from the rain, but from pure amazement. For those of you that live in the southeast, consider catching them in Louisville or Nashville in August, both are riverfront shows and are the first two sets they play after returning from their euro tour. My Morning Jacket really made my bonnaroo experience. Check m' out if you have the means.

-Catch some shows-

-Fuck Kanye-

z man starstarstarstar Tue 6/24/2008 08:57AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I remember watching the first season of the roo on dvd and they had the two guys who were tripping on the jared acid. the metal heads were in effect even when the bands weren't their. I think everyone just enjoys music outside of being labeled. Music is diverse and so are the people who listen to it. Metallica set a bar pretty high for rockin out the f out. But Kanye West? What is he doing their? He should stick to the city.

sami420anne Tue 6/24/2008 01:51PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



DrewF Tue 6/24/2008 06:51PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

ROO 08

YOU COULD MAKE THIS FEST WHAT YOU WANT. Cause to me it was still a mianly jam fest cause i saw...

Battles,DSO,Umphreys,Claypool,Raconteurs,Some Chris Rock,MMJ,BISCO,BB King,Levon Helm,Some of jack Johnson(Which wasnt that good),PJ,Phil Lesh and Friends(which i agree they would have momentum and then another stage would bleed over and kill it and Fuck Kanye for fucking his set up) YMSB,Phil Acoustic, PLant and Krauss, Some Derek Truck, Then WSP wich was great especially since i was in the pit robert randolph came out and when JB said the mushrooms tasted nasty in my mind that made me laugh

Im not sayin the fest hasnt lost some of the special feeling casue it had, but dont tell me this town aint got no soul, you just gotta poke around.

thehurricane23 Wed 6/25/2008 01:43PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Go to ALL GOOD, fuck Bonnaroo, all that are left are people selling fake or bad drugs, COPS and NORMAL people. The first couple of years I didnt see any coke or smack or bullshit, now its a buch of thugged out black guys selling fake coke, soapium, and bad acid. HAVE FUN KIDS!!!

"The heat goes on, where the head(s) have been, the heat goes on, and the heat goes on." Talking Heads

thehurricane23 Wed 6/25/2008 01:49PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I kinda wish someone WOULD have burnt down a vendors hut or something just to see AC/Superfly squirm. It'll happen eventually and I wont be there to see it. I knew when the thugs from Nashville started working the gates to centeroo instead of volunteers that all was lost. These $8 an hour goons hijacked all of our drugs one year and looking back on it we should have just kicked the living shit of the guy and took our chances with the courts! I was at the infamous DEER CREEK DEAD SHOWS with the gate crashers, and it will happen at roo eventually. ANARCHY AT ROO 09' ANARCHY AT ROO 09'

z man starstarstarstar Thu 6/26/2008 05:03AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I wonder if the stage gurus had any problem setting up for tools set last year? Since they had such a problem with Kanyes.

bigfro Thu 6/26/2008 10:11AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Molitz told me years ago that he hates the Dead and Dead heads, bt he thoughtthat Particle would always have an audience if he played with Mickey, Later Phil. he is a real douche bag and should be shunned.

shadybackflash Fri 6/27/2008 03:24PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i have been to all seven bonnaroos and given them thousands to be an "official" merchant. at different points i set up on shakedown (now "mc shakedown" since they shook down the renegade vendors) and i have to say i've seen this event deteriorate at a rather rapid rate. the producers have never been "from" tour, so it comes as little surprise that they never "got it" but the way in which they chose to promote themselves as the premiere "jam band" festival, and then be completely clueless as to what they were trying to create, has never ceased to amaze me. this year they went over the top. they not only continuted last year's policy of destroying the parking lot "micro-economy" but they did themselves one worse by allowing police to do pocket checks and confiscate cash from concert goers. (yes, i know of two people who had excess of $1,000 each stolen from them by police and bonded security.)

the kanye west debacle was so bad it actually brought to light the many lame aspects of this festival that have been needing to be scrutinized. kanye did not have the power to cut phil's set short. he could make his demands, but only the producers of the show had the power to cut short phil's set, and it was the producers who made that choice. they might as well have told the deadheads "we don't want your kind here anymore."

well, we'll go. and we'll take our micro-economy with us. and with that, the city of manchester will be hit the hardest. it's a damn shame, but it wasn't what the deadheads wanted. we could have policed shakedown with ethics if all they wanted to do was clean-up (or make more discreet) the open-air drug market. that wasn't what they wanted. they shut it all down, from the walking vendors to the grilled cheese vendors to the people selling hand made batiks. no problem. we'll spend our money elsewhere superfly!

the road to bonnaruin was made public by kanye west, but the time now is for us all to say that the show is not friendly to our crowd and that we all need to boycott-a-roo...

shadybackflash Fri 6/27/2008 03:33PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


for what it's worth, i don't bash "diversity"... it's part of what i still appreciate about this festival. what i bash is the corporate structure that takes a true community with a micro-economy and tries to streamline it into a managed economy where all money gets funneled to the top. tour, in the true sense, is an anarchistic organism with a sort of "participatory democracy" element to it. people vote with their dollars. and when we create a micro-economy, we spread the money to local retailers when we restock on food, ice, soda, beer, and we create an economy where we're able to sustain our travel, play, etc. when this economy gets managed in an authoritarian top-down manner, what happens is it not only kills the novelty of the event (see how the numbers have been dropping? it's not just because the line-ups have gone mainstream, it's also a direct response to the killing of the parking lot scene)... it also kills the spirit of the event. and that, too, kills diversity.

we can all give lip-service to words like diversity and community. superfly does it all the time in its promotional material. but let's be real... true community gives everyone a voice. top-down authoritarian measures are just another way of saying "police state." bonnaroo is more police state than community. and that, in turn, kills diversity no matter how diverse the line-up is.

Nick1257 starstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 09:34AM
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I went 2002-2005 (volunteer 2003 and staff 2004 and 2005) and had a great time but saw where the scene was going. RIP Bonnaroo, I hope all you have fun, but i can remember when every single person in the crowd was a music fan, now they are all just their for the drugs.

shadybackflash Mon 6/30/2008 07:25AM
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well nick, since you haven't been back since '05, let me give you an update: last year the producers finally got around to "cleaning up shakedown" and instead of doing it with a community in mind, they did the way any police state would do it: zero tolerance. so the scene has not gone that way you think it has. it has left. split. packed up its bags and moved to another town. and after giving phil the f-you by pulling him off stage an hour early, it'll have even less scene next year. so, yeah, they'll have solved the drug problem, at least on the supply side (the demand will still be there but only those who want to serve teeny-boppers will remain to serve them)... the real scene, where consenting adults provide goods and services (including some that the freds don't want to legalize) for each other will be long gone. the result? clueless kids and professional dealers. the nitrous people had no problem serving tanks this year, but no one could find weed.

theragman starstarstar Thu 7/3/2008 02:12PM
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Fuck Kanye! But other than that (or if he just let Phil finish his set!!!!) the festival was awesome. Levon Levon Levon!!! Did nobody else see this? Set of the weekend. And then Pearl Jam and Phil all three in one night. i was losing it. Would be satisfied if it were my last year though.

weenhead420 starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/14/2008 08:30AM
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DISCO BISCUITS and !!! stole the weekend. Best fun I have had at Bonnaroo since 2007, TOOL haha. It was memorable but nothing can ever top 2002, for me at least. WSP great closing set on Sunday. You couldn't ask for a more diverse festival. Next year who know what will happen. More Biscuits please.

weenhead420 starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/14/2008 08:34AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


ohh yeah nick your dumb, everyone was drawn there by some musician or another. Why spend 260 dollars to go to a drug market when you can do that from the seat of you living room for free. No one cares what you think happened to Bonnaroo. Let the truth be told from someone who has missed only one year, 2006, that this festival is far from dead.