By Linzy Scott
This year’s Bonnaroo was my first time ever going, so it’s safe to say that I had no idea what to expect and no standards to measure it by. Essentially, I came in with no expectations, though my friends had no problem telling me over the course of the festival how this or that was different from past Bonnaroos. For anyone reading this, I have confirmed that the best mindset for entering anything is to have no expectations, so take heed.
As for Bonnaroo itself, I had some fun man. My best advice for people who are new to camping, or aren’t really feeling the whole camping thing is to just get over that because 1) you’re not camping for real and 2) I feel like everyone should attend this thing at least once. The food is wild overpriced but that’s why you pack the cheap snacks, water is a must, etc. Everyone’s going to be looking dusty after like, one day, so you just need to be prepared for the dustiness.
Now, the most important element of the festival, the music, was quality all around. I don’t really care about Pearl Jam too much so LCD Soundsystem was the big draw for me, and they definitely delivered. Shouts to them for having all of us in the front section dancing to dance-punk from 2005 shamelessly, they really set it off. Vince Staples won the fashion award of the festival when he came through looking like the best-dressed Martin side character ever. His set was incredible, as he tore through numerous highlights from his excellent Summertime ’06 album, and then closed with “Blue Suede” which made me very happy, and others too probably. The energy during the whole song was outrageously high, and it was nice to be in the middle of it. Crowd energy was high at Fidlar’s set as well, and the mosh pit was open as they played through a solid show; at this point I’m starting to suspect that I will never get tired of hearing “No Waves” live so my needs were met. The fact that I tragically missed Waxahatchee (whom I love) Beach Fossils (they’re good!) Hundred Waters (love em) and Dungen (wow) didn’t even get me down because I still got to see so much wonderful music, so Bonnaroo definitely had a lot to offer. I mean I saw Blood Orange (shouts to Dev!) live, so needless to say, I was blessed.
I even got to flex (slightly) and act all Hollywood when I went (slightly) behind stage to see Post Malone, whose love of Fleetwood Mac was really admirable. Whilst back stage I spent my time dancing to “Monte” and a few other songs before I realized everyone back there was too cool to dance so I wised up and constrained myself to figuring out if I was standing behind Miguel (I was indeed) who had much better backstage access than me in retrospect. Also in retrospect, I should have asked Miguel about getting me a record deal so I could become the next industry plant. Regardless, I would see Miguel again later in the day during the Superjam, which was billed as a “tribute to Tennessee” and was led by the supremely talented musician Kamasi Washington and his friends. We witnessed Kamasi bring out Miguel to perform the American pop classic “SexyBack” live man, so you should know these were not some normal things we were seeing. Superjam was fantastic because it felt like everyone was bringing something to the table, which is really Bonnarro’s whole thing, thanks to all the interesting acts. There was something for everyone, and I could drink some water, chill at a table, and still see diverse acts like Natalie Prass and The Internet easily. Plus, the smaller attractions like the Silent Disco and the electronic music mini-stage, Kalliope, were too much fun. I got dragged over to see some random upstart DJ at Kalliope very late in the night and did not regret it at all.
So I would definitely recommend Bonnaroo to people, because you’ll hear a lot of great music, have fun with friends, and eventually have to pay way too much money for a smoothie but it’ll be alright.