Best o’ Bonnaroo

16 06 2009

By Jill Menze (@JillMenze)

With this being my first Bonnaroo and all, I obviously have no prior event to compare it to. What I do know, though, is that everyone I’ve talked to who has attended in years past also had a blast this weekend, so I suppose that says something about the success of this installment.


What Stage, Bonnaroo 2009

I can’t say I saw a band or artist play a sub par set, aside from my own mood or disposition causing me to enjoy something less than I should have, and only that happened maybe twice (sorry, Animal Collective and Band of Horses). Performances by reliable favorites like Wilco, Jenny Lewis and Bruce Springsteen were solid and filled with surprises, while catching my first live shows from old favs like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy were as good as if not better than what I always expected. Then there were new acts like Phoenix and Dirty Projectors, who proved why they’re so buzzed-about to begin with, the latter converting me to a fan (live, at least) after I showed up ready to criticize.

Outside of the music, just being on the Bonnaroo festival grounds is an experience unto itself. It was great to see good friends, meet new ones and be a part of a collective vibe (however substance-enhanced) that was so chill, friendly and relaxed. It was a weekend I won’t be forgetting any time soon, and here are some of the highlights:

Best & Worst after the jump…

Best Show: Public Enemy
Believe the hype, folks. Watching PE get a tent full of festivalgoers so charged up was a sight to see. It’s been more than a decade since “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back” was released, but the full performance of the album didn’t miss a beat.

Best Dance Party: MGMT
Sadly I missed Girl Talk and Chewbacca, but I was up close for MGMT’s 2 a.m. slot. Rather than relying on synthesized electro to carry the group’s tunes, the band ripped out some sick-ass guitar work to keep the party bumping all night long.

Best Sign: “Snoop, hit this blunt.”

Best Pork Product from the Messy Hall: Cuban wrap
Though it was only offered one day (sigh). (Pulled pork a close second.)

Funniest Press Conference:
I only caught the very end, but hearing Robyn Hitchcock say he eats babies was nothing short of awesome.

Number of Offers for a Drug Simply Named “A Roll:” Seven (roughly).

Nights Slept Aided by a Pillow: Zero.

Number of Brand New Free Headphones Received for Absolutely No Reason: Two.

Coolest Non-Music-Related Thing on Bonnaroo Festival Site: Fire display .. thing
Anything pertaining to Burning Man culture is totally not my thing, but regardless, watching someone in a panda suit breathe fire up a skee-ball ramp was pretty sweet.

Coolest Non-Music-Related Person on Bonnaroo Festival Site:
I can’t get enough of this guy.




2 responses

7 07 2009


3 08 2009
Echo, Black Keys highlight APW day 3 « 2009 Festival Season

[…] I managed to walk out of the final day at All Points West muddier than I did after spending a week camping at Bonnaroo. Which is quite the accomplishment, I must say, but truly Jersey City’s Liberty State Park […]

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