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LIVE: BONNAROO 2016 – June 9-12, 2016 (Manchester, TN)

| 21 June 2016 | Reply

Promo Image

Venue: Great Stage Park

City: Manchester, TN

Date: June 9-12, 2016

Review and Photographs by: Jeffrey Everett


Bonnaroo celebrated its 15th anniversary with several changes to the farm. To improve viewer experience, Roo added permanent water lines, more water stations, flushable toilets (replacing portables), and more built in showers. They were a welcomed addition in the summer heat that reached the mid 90’s. Spread over 4 days, the festival is known for its diversity of entertainment with something for everyone. With over 150 acts, all genres of music were represented as well as comedy acts, cinema shows, yoga, a 5k run, and much more.


Thursday highlighted up and comers in the Tent stages. This year Bully and Borns were the must sees, each putting on great shows to huge crowds. Friday sees the opening of the main stages and headliners. Notable performances included Halsey who put on an amazing show, including guest performance with St. Lucia, and a cover of Fleetwood Mac. Chvrches had an amazing set as well; they brought out Paramore’s Hayley Williams on “Bury It.”


Friday’s headliner was LCD Soundsystem who brought their dance party to the farm. The evening was far from over, with several late night sets following. Tame Impala’s psychedelic show was one of the four sets to choose from. Their act included confetti and glow sticks making a fun atmosphere even at 3AM!


Saturday built on to Friday’s momentum. Grace Potter opened the main stage with her typical high-energy performance. Two Door Cinema Club, HAIM, Ellie Goulding and Macklemore followed making conflicts inevitable. Mid show of Macklemore’s set, a lightning delay saw the stages evacuated for an hour. Kudos to Bonnaroo for having things pick up right where they left off with no cancellations! Pearl Jam headlined the evening and started around 12:30 AM after the delay. That didn’t hamper them a bit, playing a full 2 hours and for me the best show of the festival. In addition to their own material they covered one of my all time favorites “Comfortably Numb” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Saturday night was just getting started. The Super Jam followed Pearl Jam. This year’s theme was Tennessee, highlighting songs or artists from the state.  This collaborative effort included Third Eye Blind, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kamasi Washington, Miguel, GRiZ, and many more.


Sunday started early at 12:30 with acts such as Civil Twilight, Jason Isbell, Death Cab for Cutie, and Ween. The festival concluded with a 2 set performance by Dead and Co., featuring John Mayer on guitar and vocals.


Though the official census has yet to be released, 2016 appeared to be one of the least attended of Bonnaroo’s 15 years. This was apparent from the traffic coming into the farm and supported by the open space in the fields during the shows. There are likely several reasons. Festivals have become over saturated with many within driving range, and often with overlapping lineups.  The headliners this year each have a huge dedicated following, but they do not overlap and many were not willing to endure a 4-day festival just to see them. Hopefully this was just a blip on the screen and not a sustained trend. Bonnaroo is one of the staple festivals in the US. Its unique vibe and massive lineup set it apart from the others. Having been to Coachella, Hangout, and several others festivals, Bonnaroo remains my favorite due to the focus on music (not appearance), collaboration of artists on sets and Super Jam, and “positivity” of the crowd. Hoping to see Bonnaroo around for many more “anniversaries”!






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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