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LIVE: BONNAROO MUSIC FESTIVAL – JUNE 11-14, 2015 (Manchester, TN)

| 30 June 2015 | Reply


Venue: Great Stage Park

City: Manchester, TN

Date: June 11-14, 2015

Review and Photographs by: Jeffrey Everett


Bonnaroo wrapped up its 14th year with a final performance by the legendary Billy Joel. The festival had over 100 bands performing on 7 stages during the four-day event (complete lineup For a little background, Bonnaroo is held on a 700-acre farm in rural Manchester Tennessee about an hour outside of downtown Nashville. The grounds are partitioned for RVs, tents and some who simply sleep in their cars. This year had nearly record temperatures, each day in the mid 90’s. There was a threat of thunderstorms that never came, leading to dry and very dusty conditions. This did not affect the 90,000 in attendance that in typical Bonnaroo fashion “radiated positivity.” Despite massive crowds and diverse types, this is the friendliest festival you will ever attend. Bonnaroo has a pit area for each of the main stages that holds about 1500 people and is cleared for each show. This assures general admission is given first priority ahead of any VIP location. In addition to music, there is a comedy tent with stand up acts, a cinema, Ferris wheel, water slide, 5k run, yoga and more. Having attended before, I learned this is a festival where you simply can’t possibly see or do all you want. There are always conflicts and the sheer size does not allow hopping from stage to stage. In my relaxed approached, I saw about 4-5 bands per day, ran the 5k run, and took in the some of the Centeroo market vendors.


Thursday started things off with mainly newcomers. Unlocking the Truth, a group of teens from Nashville, kicked things off with a rocking set at This Tent. I next caught the British indie group Temples. Formed in 2012, they have toured extensively and played at several major festivals. They were followed by Glass Animals, who took the volume to “11” on their set. Standing close to the front, the sound literally vibrated my entire body. Their performance was insane and they had the crowd in a frenzy. The final act for me was Courtney Barnett. The Aussie from Melbourne plays indie rock and has received much acclaim for her performances. She is clearly one to watch as an up and comer.


Friday had more acts as things really got going. The British rock group Royal Blood was one of the acts I was looking forward to. Voted best new British rock group, they did not disappoint. They were animated on stage; crowd surfed, and played nearly every song from their debut Royal Blood.  Nashville based Moon Taxi followed with a spirited set. Crowd favorites, they were all over the stage, released Mylar balloons and finished with a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up.” Next up was Alabama Shakes. They packed the main What Stage with the crowd extending back to the food vendors. Brittany Howard was amazing both on the guitar and her bluesy vocals.  Last up was the 80’s throwback Tears for Fears. The duo played all their hits as the crowd of baby boomers sang in unison. Saturday started early with the Roo Run, a 5k race around the farm. After recovering, we headed out to Trampled by Turtles a bluegrass group from Minnesota. The crowd slowly grew as Hozier came to the stage. He concluded his set with the huge hit “Take Me to Church.” Co-headliner Mumford and Sons returned to Roo after having canceled their last performance here in 2013 when bassist Ted Dwane had emergency brain surgery. They more than made up for it with a two hour set that included guests Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Hozier, Dawes, and others. The night concluded with SuperJam, a musical collaboration with a variety of artists that lasted past 4 AM! This year’s theme was ‘80’s music. This was one of my favorites with artists playing out of their genre. The highlight was DMC and Cherub’s Jason Huber performing “Walk this Way.”


For Sunday I kept things simple and stayed at the What Stage for the day. TwentyOne Pilots started things off after a short delay. Lead singer Tyler Joseph apologized saying he had to sign waivers, agreeing not to climb or jump on stage. That didn’t stop him from crowd surfing, running out into the crowd, and scaling the soundboard scaffolding. They were followed by Spoon, an indie group from Austin. Next up was Florence and the Machine. She was nonstop motion, whirling and dancing. She also scaled the speakers, ran out into the crowd, and electrified everyone. She was nothing short of amazing. Last up was Billy Joel. With no other conflicts, the field was packed. He played all his hits, and even picked up a guitar to do an AC/DC cover! The four days is grueling but an experience like no other. If you enjoy camping, music, and food/drink, Bonnaroo needs to be on your bucket list!






Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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