Headstash's BONNAROO Review Guide
- By Chris Mocharla
- Published on June 15, 2011
June 9-12 – Manchester, TN
10th year – Estimated attendance: 80,000
2011 Lineup: Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, The Black Keys, Buffalo Springfield feat. Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Rick Rosas and Joe Vitale, My Morning Jacket, Lil' Wayne, String Cheese Incident, Robert Plant and Band of Joy, Mumford and Sons, The Strokes, The Decemberists, Ray Lamontagne, Bassnectar, Iron and Wine, Girl Talk, Primus, Dr. John and The Original Meters performing Destively Bonnaroo, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Pretty Lights, Florence and The Machine, Superjam feat. Dan Auerbach and Dr. John, Explosions in the Sky, STS9, Gogol Bordello, Beirut, Big Boi, Scissor Sisters, Gregg Allman, Ratatat, Global Gypsy Punk Revue curated by Eugene Hütz, Robyn, Warren Haynes Band, Deerhunter, Opeth, Atmosphere, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bootsy Collins and The Funk University, Wiz Khalifa, Matt and Kim, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, The Del McCoury Band and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mavis Staples, Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, Chiddy Band, Javanotti, Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers, Loretta Lynn, Cold War Kids, The Walkmen, Devotchka, Wanda Jackson, Neon Trees, Portugal. The Man, Sleigh Bells, Amos Lee, Best Coast, Dãm-Funk, The Sword, The Drums, The Black Angels, School of Seven Bells, J. Cole, Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea, Wavves, !!!, Junip, Freelance Whales, Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Bingham, Deer Tick, Band of Skulls, Sharon Van Etten, Abigail Washburn, Omar Souleyman, Twin Shadow, Kylesa, Man Man, The Low Anthem, Alberta Cross, Railroad Earth, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Smith Westerns, The Head and the Heart, Karen Elson, Beats Antique, Phosphorescent, Clare MaGuire, Hayes Carli, NOFX, Galactic, G. Love and Special Sauce, Black Uhuru, Shpongle Presents Shpongletron Experience, Daniel Lanois' Black Dub, Allen Toussaint (with Dr. John and The Original Meters), Anthony B., Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, Ben Sollee, Graveyard, Dennis Coffey, Forro in the Dark, The Knux, Naomi Shelton and The Gospel Queens, Futurebirds, Hangaii
Festival Website: http://www.bonnaroo.com
Not surprisingly, hot and dry. A little rain on Saturday but not enough to stop anybodies party.
STS9 Sunrise "Circus." Great way to end Saturday's festivities with one of Sound Tribe's most beautiful songs in a gorgeous setting. Goosebumps.
Buffalo Springfield. Didn't know what to expect but was not disappointed. Neil Young may have some years on the rest of the artists at Bonnaroo, but he reminded everyone age is just a number with a rocking set.
MiniBoone. It was their first time playing at Bonnaroo and you could tell they were super excited and it definitely translated into the performance with a lot of energy and goofiness that was fun to watch. I am not usually into indie rock or whatever you want to classify it as, but they definitely walked away with a ton of new fans.
Pretty Lights. Premiered his new set for the summer. Let's just say that America should get ready for some reworked songs that do not disappoint. Could Derek Vincent Smith actually be getting bigger and better?
The 30-foot Water Slide. Definitely a lot of fun. Had to get there early, though, because of all the dirty hippies (myself included). A cheap (and necessary) way to cool off.
Not surprisingly, the size. Walking around was rough and trips to the campsite to re-fuel (beer-wise) had to be made sparingly. With a lineup the size of Bonnaroo, you have to make some tough choices both musically and otherwise.
Also, though I wasn't aware of it at the festival, the fact that at least two people died on the grounds is senseless and sobering. Most people seemed to be partying responsibly and keeping hydrated. It's truly a tragedy that people died at Bonnaroo.
Feeding off the Heat. I was surprised by the ability of attendees to disregard the heat and still have the energy to have as much fun as it seemed everyone was having.
Strength in Numbers. Despite the incredible attendance numbers, it didn't seem as crowded as you'd think. With so many shows at one time, all the stages and tents provided ample room to move around and space to cut a rug.
Dusty Trails. The amount of dust that went down my shower drain when I got home. I even showered at the festival but my bathroom could have been the scene for a Swamp Thing monster movie Monday morning.
The demographics changed as the days got later. The younger people stuck around the festival into the wee hours of the morning while the older people seemed to come for a few headliners and fade away with the sun.
During the day, most people just listened to the music because it was so damn hot, but as it got cooler, people put their rage faces on and boogied down.
Eminem: "Love The Way You Lie"
I overheard a few girls talking about how they wanted to marry Neil Young. I'm sure he would have loved to hear that.
Check out complete coverage of Bonnaroo 2011 here.
What did you think of Bonnaroo? Let us know in the comments below.