Festival Preview: Bonnaroo


What Bonnaroo does better than any other North American festival is purvey that communal atmosphere of Woodstock. As great as the festival’s atmosphere is, let’s talk about some of the bands we’re most excited to see.

They’re not exactly a new band, in fact, they’re the complete antithesis of that, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least give a passing mention to the Beach Boys in their 50th anniversary.  Bonnaroo could be an amazing place to see the rock legends perform live. Imagine the rain sweeps through Tennessee, Mike Love starts into “I Get Around” as the puddles accumulate and you, a rugged individual concertgoer starts sliding through the mud. That would be the experience of a lifetime.

You want newer bands? We got Grouplove, who as you aware of, are one of the best new bands to hit the scene in years. What they’re doing is almost criminally good. Sure, they’re a bit weird and a bit disjointed, but don’t we seek a bit of chaos in our musical joy? Having never seen them live I can only imagine the amount of energy that it takes to play at such a high level.

The Avett Brothers are a band I have had the pleasure of seeing in person. They’re so good live that they’ve made it onto my top five concerts list. They drip sweat the way Bruce Springsteen does after a show. You would half expect a digit to fly with the sheer speed that they play their respective instruments. With a new album coming out sometime this year, they’re sure to play some songs you’ve never heard and perhaps, if you’re lucky, a cover or two like the backyard YouTube video they did of the aforementioned Springsteen’s“Glory Days.”


Who is Bon Iver? Or for those unadoring haters, Bonny Bear. He’s the Grammy winning Best New Artist, but that doesn’t mean shit. I didn’t love his last album, but mostly because it wasn’t particularly my style. The album so many people that considered it one of the best albums last year that I felt like I was in the minority of those that didn’t have it in the top five. Even if you don’t like Bon Iver what you can’t deny is that Justin Vernon is funny, engaging and a wonderful talent in a scene that seems thoroughly bereft of much of it these days.

If you thought I was going to leave out hip-hop, you thought wrong. Childish Gambino is gonna get on that as tags and destroy all the preconceived notions you had of a rapper, actor and a celebrity all in one fell swoop. I already thought he had one of the best albums last year and knowing that he’s about to blow the tarp off the Bonnaroo stage makes me shaky with anticipation.

If you’ve budgeted for one festival this summer, for one trip, make this the one. Get on a plane, take a train, find a bus, gas up the Prius and get your ass to Tennessee in June. Kudos to the organizers of this amazing festival, you’ve done it once again.