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Bonnaroo: A Tennessee Treasure

Yonder Mountain String Band featuring Sam Bush.

Yonder Mountain String Band featuring Sam Bush. Photo by Brad Lykken

Once again Bonnaroo proved through variety and talent that it is the premiere music festival in the country. The weather was the best anyone could remember which kept fans and bands alike at a high energy level. Music City was well represented in almost every genre.

Nashville’s own Bully kicked off the festival on the Miller Lite stage. “Happy Bonnaroo, everybody,” frontwoman Alicia Bognanno yelled out from the stage. “Everyone’s so nice here, I love it.”

From there we went to “The Other Tent” to see The Wild Feathers, another great Nashville based band that blends rock and country to make a modern day Eagles sound and left the crowd screaming for more.

After a short break for some “Spicy Pie” we hit “That Tent” to catch ZZ Ward in her first ever ‘Roo appearance. She was so good that we hit her acoustic show on the Sonic stage the next day as well.

As always there were many conflicts and we had to miss some bands that we really wanted to see and leave some shows early to catch a piece of another show. But we managed to catch a little of Cherub, Banks and White Denim before heading back to camp.

At camp we had some great neighbors and we’d like to thank Blake at Kentucky Ale and The Brooklyn Brewery for keeping us well hydrated.

Friday was one great show after another starting with Greensky Bluegrass, The Wood Brothers, ZZ Ward (again), Lily & The Parlour Tricks and Neutral Milk Hotel.

The Wood Brothers. Photo by Brad Lykken

The Wood Brothers. Photo by Brad Lykken

And then there was Kanye. It seemed as if the crowd was genuinely embarrassed for him as he went on long rants in between songs about his last ‘Roo” debacle, proclaiming his greatness and general whining. As the show progressed people started leaving by the hundreds.

Then we made our way over to the Miller Lite Stage for the insanity that is Diarrhea Planet. A great punk show that Sid Vicious would have been proud of. We over heard security calling for eight more people to handle the crowd surfing and moshing, which lasted the entire show. We then caught a little of the Skrillex show to get our fair share electronic dance music and glow sticks before heading back to camp.

Day three started out with some fine blues from Seasick Steve at the “What Stage.” Several of his instruments were made from old car parts. After that on the same stage was the Tedeschi Trucks band which proved to be one of the highlights of the “Roo.” Susan Tedeschi’s raspy blues melodies combined with Derek Trucks’ skillful slide guitar riffs gave us chills. The husband wife team let every musician in their sizable band shine with a solo of their own.

Then, it was on to the Drive By Truckers at “This Tent” followed by Chromeo at “Which Stage. A quick dinner and it was back to the main stage for Jack White with Lily May from the band Gypsy on fiddle. White talked to the crowd like they were old friends and showed much appreciation.

We ended the night at the Flaming Lips, which had the best light show of the festival not to mention about 400 pounds of confetti. We were hoping they’d do a little “Dark Side Of The Moon” as they did the last time they were at the “Roo” but it was not to be.

Day four came all too fast. We went straight to the Miller Lite Stage to catch Nashville’s Kansas Bible Company. The huge band could barely fit on the stage but sounded fantastic all the same. Then it was over to the main stage to hear Yonder Mountain String Band. They always sound good but with guest fiddle player, Sam Bush and John Frasier on mandolin it was over the top good.

We had just enough time after that to get over to “That Tent” to see the high energy of “The Lone Bellow.” We were pretty close to the stage but moved even closer after the show to be in good position for “Shovels & Rope”

Then it was back to the main stage for Bonnaroo veterans the Avett Brothers and then Elton John. Young and old sang along with all of his big hits while a steady stream of sky lanterns lit up the sky.

Four days went by like a blink of the eye and we are already counting down the days until the next Bonnaroo. A Tennessee Treasure.

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