Bonnaroo 2010: Words & Photos

The 2010 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is now in the history books!
Enjoy our reverse chronological run-down of this past weekend below, or skip directly to a day by using these handy links:

Thursday, 6/10 :: Friday, 6/11 :: Saturday, 6/12 :: Sunday, 6/13



Words by Wesley Hodges, Photos by Dave Vann

Sunday, June 13 – Day Four

"We had the best time at your party" -Ween

John Butler Trio by Dave Vann
The final day at Bonnaroo was all about survival as temperatures neared 100 degrees by midday and produced a fairly subdued Sunday crowd just trying to stay vertical and manage to catch many of the can't-miss acts closing down the fest (and, as per usual, conflicting with one another). Bonnaroo veterans John Butler Trio opened a technically flawless set on the What Stage with "Used to Get High," and the Aussie frontman graciously thanked the early crowd for braving the oppressive heat to check out his set.

Next, it was off to The Other Tent for Blues Traveler, where a crowd member challenged John Popper to a harmonica duel with a handmade sign after "Run-Around," to which Popper replied that they would need to take it outside after the set. This was the band's second appearance at Bonnaroo (first since 2003) and the set was both well received and well attended in the smaller Other Tent. After an interesting, dubbed-out reading of Radiohead's "Creep," it was time to head on back over to What Stage, where John Fogerty was making his Bonnaroo debut.

John Fogerty by Dave Vann
The 65-year old still has the same vocal talents that accented Creedence Clearwater Revival's signature swamp rock sound in the early '70s. The legend showed off his often overlooked chops on "Green River" and ran through a mix of the CCR catalogue as well as a number of tunes from his most recent solo record, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, which I strongly recommend.

Listening to the bare bones, stripped down Kris Kristofferson performance while laying in the grass in front of the tent was a fairly transcendent way to spend a lazy Sunday. After seeing John Prine on Saturday, it'd be hard to pick a favorite between the two monster talents of the songwriting universe. There was something very raw and exceptionally soothing about listening to one man slowly play his guitar and sing into the mic after seeing so many varied musical displays throughout the weekend. Sometimes less is truly more.

Ween by Dave Vann
Next, things heated up over at Ween, who highlighted the final day of this year's 'Roo, while deservedly playing in front of a large Which Stage midday crowd after a few previous Bonnaroo appearances in the smaller tents. We arrived just in time after a short stop at the aggressive Dropkick Murphys set to catch "Roses Are Free," "Voodoo Lady," "Your Party," a bangin' "Buckingham Green," and an excellent cover of David Bowie's "Let's Dance." You could tell the band recognized the opportunity to win over hordes of fans in the crowd unfamiliar with their music, and they didn't hold back on busting out the big guns while playing a set with added gusto.

Medeski Martin & Wood had a fun little sit-in by Bonnaroo scenester and unofficial mascot Beatle Bob, who was goofily gettin' down and playing one of Billy Martin's many percussion toys during a dark, heavy improv exercise. Travel arrangements caused for an early departure, but not before catching Phoenix's set in front of an enormous crowd comparable to Weezer's the previous day. It was a cool early evening scene with a colorful, picturesque sunset and numerous red and black balloons floating around at the front of the audience. The band's most intricate arrangement from the Grammy-winning album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, "Love Like a Sunset," was appropriately placed in the set just as dusk was beginning to sweep across the Manchester skies and was a beautiful way to cap off the weekend.

The cultural phenomenon that is Bonnaroo once again produced an amazing four days of diverse artistic offerings, and for the fifth or sixth year in a row, the weather wasn't too much of an issue (once you get over the heat part). Here's looking forward to the 10th Annual Bonnaroo festival in 2011!

Top 5 Shows of the Weekend
1. Jay-Z
2. LCD Soundsystem
3. The Flaming Lips with Stardeath and White Dwarfs performing Dark Side of the Moon
4. Dr. Dog
5. The Melvins

Favorite Random Artist of the Weekend
Nortec Collective presents: Bostich and Fussible

Best Day
Saturday. Getting to see Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, John Prine, Steve Martin, Thievery Corporation, Jeff Beck, The Melvins, Jimmy Cliff, and Conan O'Brien in the same day was exceptional, even for Bonnaroo.

What This Year's Bonnaroo Will Be Remembered For
1. 80,000 hands moving along with Jay-Z
2. The diversity of talent on display, balancing Bonnaroo's free spirited neo-hippie vibe with sounds of the present
3. Excellent weather
4. Conan O'Brien MC'ing What Stage throughout the weekend
5. A legendary Saturday
6. The addition of the annoying Lunar Stage
7. The absence of a Panic, Phish or a Dead-related headliner
8. Stevie Wonder's long overdue debut appearance at the festival.

Who would YOU like to see headline in 2011 at Bonnaroo's 10th Anniversary? Share your thoughts in our comments section. Never know what happens when you dream aloud!


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