Like the festivals that helped inspire its unique existence (Jazz Fest and Glastonbury),
the Bonnaroo Music
& Arts Festival has so much more to offer than just the music. This year's 9th annual
event takes place
from June 10-13 in Manchester, TN in Great Stage Park, and will once again draw 70-80,000
of the biggest music
fiends you'll find anywhere. Hell, you have to be half-crazy to pay money to endure this
kind of heat, but
coming from someone who's been to all but one Bonnaroo, I can tell you that this year's
king of American music
festivals, like all previous editions, will be well worth the trip. Let JamBase tell you
why with our list of
12 Must-See-Daytime-Bands, a run-down of late-night suggestions, and a few hints as to who
to see and what to
do in many of Centeroo's smaller cafes and activity centers.
Bonnaroo 2009 by Snyder
As in 2006, the event promoters have shaken things up with the event's first real
rap headliner (Jay-Z), the
youngest band to ever
headline (Kings of
well as a certain well-coiffed red-headed (unemployed) comedy icon MC'ing one of the main
stages and the
welcome addition of an all-night Lunar Stage devoted entirely to electronic
On paper, the 2010 edition reads like a synthesis of the last eight years with no musical
styling or amenity
unturned. Although one might not exactly be boiling over with excitement about some of
the bands at the top of
the bill, as always, there are infinitely more bands and activities than one could
physically be there to
enjoy. That right there is what makes a festival on the scale of Bonnaroo so enjoyable.
The phrase "to each
his own" captures the pioneering spirit of the Bonnaroo fan, and this festival is every
bit as much about
that person who makes it down to the front row to join the ruckus at The Melvins as it
is for that dude
hundreds of feet away getting chills at his first Stevie Wonder show or the girl who drags her boyfriend kicking and
screaming out of the
tent to catch the early Ingrid
Michaelson show (and that guy then tells his girl, off-the-record, of course, that
he kinda dug it).
The beauty of it all is that these people all get to coexist in a bizarro escapist utopia
and live out their
musical dreams amongst friends. So, saddle up and take our suggestions at face value,
because after all, as a
wise spray painter once tagged, "The Roo You Take = The Roo You Make."
Thursday, June 10
Over the course of four days and some very late nights on two big stages, three decent
size tents, and several
smaller café like settings, a movie theatre and a comedy tent, Bonnaroo will feature
around 160 artists. This
list can't even begin to cover a fraction of the talent on display this weekend, but it is
our hope that
artists highlighted here help you uncover a lesser-known, an up-and-comer, or perhaps help
you make a tough
decision at a certain time slot. Instead of giving love to well known headliners we adore
Wonder, Jeff Beck or The Flaming Lips, we're going to direct your
attention to a few bands
you weren't perhaps planning to see. You can check out the entire Bonnaroo schedule here.
1. Baroness ::
5:45-6:45 pm :: The
For those set up to get down early, these ferociously sharp South Georgia metal warriors
might just blow your
mind wide open right from the first licks of "A Horse Called Golgotha". The band's highly
Record has brought them into the limelight, and with a stop at Coachella this year
already under their
belt, you'll be seeing a lot of these guys on the festival circuit for years to come.
Natives :: 7:00-8:00 pm ::
Gorilla Manor may be the strongest, most accessible indie rock album to come out in
the last year, and
these guys made a name for themselves after wowing the masses at this year's SXSW. Local
Natives should be a
nice change of pace for those who check out Baroness, and the lustrous vocal harmonizing
should beam out nicely
under the setting Tennessee sun. Those not familiar with the band should check out their
cover of the Talking
Heads "Warning Sign" that made it on the band's debut album, along with the excellent "Sun
3. Miike Snow
:: 7:30-8:30 pm. ::
A little baffled that this one didn't get a slot after sunset, but nonetheless the DJ duo
has made a name for
themselves under the moniker of Miike Snow and this one will likely be the first of
several hot, raucous and
youthful get-downs at this year's festival.
If you arrive before the music gets cracking in the main tents, don't miss dexterously-
gifted Australian guitar
19), who is playing as well as attending his first Bonnaroo. Robinson told JamBase, "I
can't wait for the
always fun challenge of winning over a new audience." Having already wowed over the likes
of Steve Vai and the
late great Les Paul with his uniquely outstanding talent, we can confidently say that a
trip down to the
Troo Music Lounge at 1:00 p.m. would be the perfect way to start the weekend. For
those who can't make
it, Robinson told us he'd be picking with his buddies, the Nashville jam band Elmwood on
Saturday in the Troo Music
Also, Thursday night has always been the best night to go exploring all this ephemeral
acreage has to offer. So, spread your wings, grab a comfortable chair, meet your
neighbors, and set up shop
for a big weekend.
Continue reading for JamBase's recommendations for Friday...
Friday, June 11
1. Dr. Dog ::
4:00-5:15 pm :: The
The prolific Philly-based vintage rockers just released their sixth excellent full-length
album in less than
ten years back in April. Shame, Shame is a little more polished production-wise,
and the boys bring the
guitars to the forefront this go-round following 2008's harmony-heavy Fate. A
summertime day set with
these festival scene staples should be nothing short of spiritual and will likely summon
those "Shadow People"
out from the woodworks that bassist/vocalist Toby Leaman sings about on the band's
new tune. With the
new album peaking at #44 on the Billboard charts, these guys are finally getting the
deserved for a few years now.
2. Edward Sharpe &
Zeros :: 2:30-3:30 pm :: The Other Tent
Founded by vocalist Alex Ebert previously of the late-90s L.A. pop band Ima Robot,
these guys flew onto
the radar in a big way with the commercial success of their single "Home" and the recent
"Janglin'" in a Ford commercial. The folk-psych tunes and communal vibe of the ensemble
members at any given time) will hopefully bring back a little taste of the Old
Bonnaroo, even if just
for an hour.
3. Trombone Shorty
& Orleans Avenue
:: 12:00-1:00 pm : Which Stage
At the age of 24, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is already a well-known artist in large
part to his recent
appearances on the hit HBO show Treme (where he plays himself) and vocal approval
by the likes of Bono.
Born and raised in the Treme, Andrews has been entertaining fans in the Big Easy since
he's been barely old
enough to walk. Andrews and his band is more than your standard New Orleans jazz show.
We highly recommend
you start your Friday at the Which Stage (you know, the one with the bobble heads).
Friday's Late Night Picks
The Black Keys
:: 12:00-1:30 am ::
That Tent / Galactic :: 2:00-3:30 am. :: The Other Tent
Lots and lots of great choices on what is generally the apex of the weekend. On Friday,
you've still got fresh
legs and the ability to go all night long and this year's late-night lineup is as stacked
across the board as
it's ever been, and with The Flaming Lips doing Dark Side, Daryl Hall & Chromeo and the
dance party that will
surely ensue at LCD
you can't go wrong anywhere. But our pick is to check out The Black Keys playing in That
Tent and then head on
over to Galactic down at The Other Tent. Galactic's legendary 2005 epic late night
Krewe de Carnivale
indicated what these guys are capable of when given the limelight of the after midnight
show. Even though
these guys have been out on the road for about 15 years now, they proved this year during
Mardi Gras at
Tipitina's that they can still make magic well past the break of dawn. Bassist Robert
Mercurio gave JamBase an
idea of what's in store for the Galactic set.
"We're bringing in some extra production lighting-wise. It's gonna be our most
extravagant light show and
stage set-up that we've ever done. We really just decided that we're gonna go over-the-
top this year. We're
excited to see it, too; we haven't really seen it either," laughs Mercurio. "Our Lighting
Director has been
working hard on it and programming it and it should be really a spectacle beyond what
you've ever seen from a
Galactic show. We'll have Corey Henry
and Cyril Neville
with us at the
Bonnaroo show like we've had on the entire Ya-Ka-May tour."
Other Suggestions For Friday
Go see Steve
Martin & the Steep Canyon
Rangers tear it up at the
acoustic-based Sonic Stage from 2:15-2:45 p.m.
If you are rolling along towards the break of dawn, head down to the Lunar Stage where a
bumpin' club scene
will be spinnin' wild from 2-6 a.m. at Crystal Method and Lee Burbridge.
Continue reading for JamBase's recommendations for Saturday...
Saturday, June 12
1. Dave Rawlings
Machine :: 3:15-
4:30 pm :: That Tent
Most are probably familiar with Dave's wife and Bonnaroo veteran Gillian Welch,
but this flat-picking
lyrical genius is finally getting his day in the sun with the long overdue release of his
debut A Friend of
A Friend last year and a nice mid-afternoon slot at this year's 'Roo. Rawlings has
played guitar in
Welch's band for years and the roles are being reversed this time. The energetic, free-
wheeling live shows are
always full of surprises and the only time I got the chance to see him Norah Jones stopped
in for a tune and
the show closed with an impromptu "Friend of the Devil > Just Like Heaven > Friend of the
Devil" that I think
even left the musicians themselves a little surprised. Definitely got that wholesome
Carter-and-Cash kind of
good feelings vibe.
2. Mumford &
Sons :: 5:00-6:00 pm
:: That Tent
With Mumford following Dave Rawlings Machine and John Prine following them, one could just camp out by That Tent
for the afternoon and
do just fine. These Londoners have quickly made a name for themselves in 2010 with a
reputation for incredible
live performances following them around the globe. After hearing their excellent album
Sigh No More,
we're hopeful this will still be a well-kept secret (if there is such a thing at Bonnaroo)
and a great chance
to get a decent spot up front. Also, we have a feeling that "Dustbowl Dance" is gonna
stir up the crowd in a
3. Jimmy Cliff :: 3:30-5:00 pm :: Which Stage
Even though he's a world-renowned, generation-spanning artist, Cliff seems to fly under-
the-radar with a lot of
twenty-somethings and younger. That's a shame because Cliff is one of the most soulful
artists ever. In most circles, Cliff is best known for his 1975 hit single "The Harder
They Come" and a cover
of "I Can See Clearly Now" from the Cool Runnings soundtrack, but there's far more
to this legend than
those soundbites. Come see for yourself.
Saturday's Late Night Picks
Corporation :: 12:00-2:15
a.m. :: That Tent
The downbeat international collective headed by the production duo of Eric Garza
and Eric Hilton
bring their ethereal club grooves to the Manchester late night scene for the first time
and it's a mystery why
it took this long to happen. These guys reportedly stole the show at 2006's one-off Echo
Project and dropped a
fire late night show at the House of Blues at last year's Lollapalooza. This one's a
can't miss pick.
GWAR :: 2:30-3:45 a.m. :: The Other Tent
Sometimes there are no words to sufficiently express a thing. Just watch the clip below
and imagine yourself
on the front lines of this craziness.
Other Suggestions For Saturday
They'll be showing the World Cup opening match between the good ole Red, White, & Blue vs.
England at the Lunar
Stage starting at 1:30 p.m. Enormously important soccer game at a music festival…things
could get rowdy.
The snide, fast-talking Aziz Ansari of Funny People and Parks and
will be doing stand-up in the Comedy Theatre from 6:00-7:15 p.m. Shouts of
"RAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNDY" will be not
be in short supply. Ansari's recent comedy album Intimate Moments for a Sensual
Evening even included a
track called "Bonnaroo," so you know he's been around this block before.
The Silent Disco: First made popular in the European club scene, be sure to hit up the
Silent Disco over near
The Other Tent at any point of the day or night, for any amount of time, and you'll be
glad you stopped in at
this fun mashup club scene. Always an invigorating AND disorienting experience.
Continue reading for JamBase's recommendations for Sunday...
Sunday, June 13
1. Worst Conflict of the Week :: 4:00-6:30 pm :: What, Which, This, That & The
It happens every year, and 2010 is no different, at one point there will be at least two,
three, or even four,
must-see acts playing at the same time, and this year there are FIVE! This weekend, the
crossover occurs late
Sunday afternoon. Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman/60s icon John Fogerty
(What Stage :: 4:00-5:30
p.m.) has still got it, and his familiar voice still sounds like its beaming out of
an AM radio. This
year he'll be making his Bonnaroo debut on the main stage (he's also an extremely
underrated guitar player).
Also, from 5:00-6:30 p.m., Ween
will be playing over on Which Stage. We don't have to tell you to at least stop in. The
set which should
perhaps spark the most curiosity out of this quintet would have to be aggressive Boston
rockers Dropkick Murphys
(This Tent :: 5:00-
6:15 p.m.), who have promised to scare off the hippies with their aggressive, bag-piping
brand of punk rock.
Should be interesting to see a band even try to get a dog-tired Bonnaroo crowd riled up on
afternoon. Next, the all-time great tunesmith Kris Kristofferson will be in That Tent from 4:30-6:00 p.m., and
things will likely get
legendary. Finally, you've got the campy, cheeky post-punk rockers They Might Be
Giants over in The Other
Tent from 4:30-5:45 p.m. to make the decision even tougher. Guess there could be worst
choices to make.
2. Phoenix ::
7:15-8:45 pm :: Which
One of better live acts currently touring, if there is one band that can bring back the
along, Glastonbury-type scene one last time before DMB closes it out it's these Versailles
established themselves in 2009 as a force to be reckoned with in popular music with the
release of the aptly-
named Grammy-winning album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Phoenix's brilliantly crafted
rock songs are as
catchy as they are sophisticated, and a lot of up-and-coming synth-y indie bands should
take note of Phoenix's
subdued usage of the synthesizer - just the right amount in just the right places without
3. Medeski Martin &
Wood :: 6:15-
7:45 pm :: The Other Tent
Kinda weird, but also kinda nice to see MMW playing at the festival's smallest of the
major venues. Those
looking to get a head start on the traffic out before the Dave Matthews Band are gonna
wanna stick around for
one last blowout with these uber-talented jazz pioneers and who, along with Les Claypool,
DJ Logic, Umphrey's
McGee, John Butler Trio, Galactic, Ween and Norah Jones, make up the returning alumni from
the Bonnaroo charter
class of 2002.
No one lucky enough to attend the inaugural Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in 2002
could've foreseen the great
transformation and amazing growth that the event has undergone in its first nine years.
However, the seed for
growth and constant evolution was planted in the early planning stages of the first
edition of the festival.
The early focus of the event was centered mostly on musically boundless genres, with
revolving around improvisational jam bands, bluegrass, jazz, DJ's, funk and New Orleans
music. The creators
had a simple mission and that was to recreate the round-the-clock experience of Jazz Fest
with the late night
shows, food, and lagniappe, but instead of requiring hotels, the vision of Bonnaroo was to
create a small,
sustainable city for four days in the middle of nowhere in the dead of summer and invite
the world's finest
bands to master the ceremonies. The crazy thing is that thus far the wildly risky
experiment has paid off in
spades, producing some of the most indescribably enjoyable times most folks will ever
have. Bring an open
mind, see at least one act you've never heard of each day, and be kind to your camping
neighbors and they'll do
the same. Good luck and good times on the good road to Bonnaroo 2010!
Continue reading for Wesley Hodges' special Bonus Feature of Bonnaroo "A Timeline
Through The Years"...
A Timeline Through The Years
2002: The inaugural festival sells out 70,000 tickets well in advance without the
use of traditional
advertising methods, relying on word-of-mouth and far exceeding the promoters'
expectations. Widespread Panic
plays one of its final
concerts with late guitarist Michael Houser. Galactic's Robert Mercurio described the first 'Roo as having
about it, because people questioned how you can get 80,000 people in the woods and no one
get hurt. It was
unprecedented to have anything like that in the U.S." moe. plays a marathon late night set featuring special guests from
The String Cheese
Incident, Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits,
and Robert Randolph.
They would later be
recognized for the show with a Jammy Award for "Concert of the Year".
2003: James Brown, Bob
Dylan and Neil Young & Crazy Horse appear at the festival. Stages and
tents renamed What,
Which, This, That, and the Other, confusing Bonnaroo attendees ever since.
2004: Two vicious electrical storms followed by an abnormally cold summer night at
The Dead's set
blow through Manchester causing several delays and turning Centeroo into a mud pit. Sets
Winwood, a late night Umphrey's McGee set, David Byrne and the
resurgence of the The
Dead were highlights of the fest.
2005: Temperate weather and amazing late night sets by Galactic and Sound Tribe Sector
9 highlighted the
'05 edition. The Cinema Tent debuts showing Mike Tyson's embarrassing 7-round TKO loss to
Kevin McBride as
chilled-out festival patrons enjoy the tent's air conditioning.
2006: Mysterious smoke rings begin appearing in the Manchester skies and a turning
of the tides begins.
At the time, the addition of the iconic Radiohead was seen as a huge transition for the previously jam-
centric festival, but
this was just the beginning of a new era. Radiohead would play the longest show of their
career and one that
Thom Yorke still considers to be perhaps the band's best. G.R.A.B. (Trey,
Mike & The Duo) are
the surprise Superjam late night act and are joined by Phil Lesh for a few songs,
including "Going Down
the Road Feelin' Bad."
2007: The polarizing psychedelic hard rockers Tool are invited to headline, perplexing/angering Bonnaroo
veterans and hippies. Many
of these same fans go to the show and most become Tool fans. The Flaming Lips'
lands his spaceship, distributes thousands of laser pointers and waxes on about the war in
Iraq to thousands of
starry-eyed fans. The String Cheese Incident play Which Stage late Friday as part
of their Farewell
2008: "FUCK KANYE" becomes a rallying cry after rapper Kanye West
lobbies to get his "Glow in
the Dark Tour" headlining set rescheduled to 2:45 a.m. and subsequently doesn't take the
stage until 4:30 a.m.
amidst twilight and boos. My Morning
Jacket plays a cover-heavy set in the driving rain and almost no one leaves until
the show's completion
at 4:00 a.m. MMJ are joined by Jeff Coffin, Kirk Hammett and Zach
others. "Best show ever" is a common sentiment amongst attendees (including yours
2009: A dream fest for many, Phish finally headlines the festival playing a late night show on
the main stage on
Friday and closing out the festival on Sunday with Bruce Springsteen joining the band for "Mustang Sally," "Bobby
Jean"and "Glory Days."
Nine Inch Nails, moe., Yeasayer,
highlight one of the
best late nights in the festival's history on Saturday.
Join JamBase next week when we'll have pictures and insights from the 'Roo!
JamBase | Manchester
Go See Live Music!