Category Archives: Bonnaroo

Kristen’s 5 Most Anticipated Acts of Bonnaroo 2012

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  1. The Silent Comedy

Favored sons of San Diego have come a long way in the past year or so. To see their unique brand of ground-stomping, soul-stirring  folk rock at my favorite festival will be an unforgettable experience for sure,  one that I’m looking forward to more than any other at this year’s event.

Catch them Sunday 4pm at The Great Taste Lounge and again at 6:15 at The Sonic Stage.

 

2. Needtobreathe  

One of the best shows I’ve been to this year was Needtobreathe at Club Nokia. This band from South Carolina is absolutely perfect for the Bonnaroo audience. I can’t imagine anything but a tent-raising good time.

Catch them at Which Stage Friday at 2pm.

 

3. The Lonely Forest

I’ve been itching to see The Lonely Forest again since their record, Arrows, came out last year. This indie rock band from Anacortes, Washington puts on a great live show. I still regret missing them at SXSW two years ago…I will not let an opportunity to see The Lonely Forest pass me by again!

Catch them Thursday 5:30 at This Tent

 

 4. We Are Augustines 

I’m still buzzing off the We Are Augustines set at Coachella. These boys from Brooklyn made a great impression on me out in the desert. I’m sure they will cast a similar spell on the planes of Tenessee.

Catch them Saturday at The Great Taste Lounge at 10:40 and again on Sunday at the Sonic Stage at 2:15.

 

 5. St. Vincent

I love St. Vincent. Any chance I get to see Annie Clark perform, I will be front and center (well, as much front and center I can manage).

Catch them Friday 7:45 at That Tent

 

 

Other acts on my list to see:

 

See you at The ‘Roo!

 

~ Kristen

5 Things I Learned at Bonnaroo

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I was reading a few blogs and sites and was inspired by their “Top *insert number and subject here*” and I thought I’d do the same. Here are the top 5 things I learned at Bonnaroo this year.

1. Plan to Have a Plan (and then change it)
The thing about Bonnaroo is that you can plan your day down to the minute if you feel so inclined. What you might not realize is that there might be extenuating circumstances that will require you to change your plan (and sometimes, it’s for the better.) For example, we wanted to just sample some music at the Ford Focus Lounge before journeying off to a tent. Instead, we found ourselves in air conditioning, with a bandana full of ice, on a comfy car bench, listening to great music from people we never heard of. It was a great way to beat the heat and discover some new bands and tunes. We walked by our intended tent a little later to find it packed to the brim and all the shade taken. I’m fairly certain we would have died from being in the hot sun with nary a breeze to cool us down.

2. Port-a-pottie Musts
With events like Bonnaroo and Coachella, there are no real bathrooms, only port-a-potties (unless you are staying in a house in which case, goody for you). The thing about port-a-potties is that they suck. So I have a few suggestions for a better port-a-pottie experience.

1. Find the least populated port-a-potties: Sounds like a given right? Or maybe too much of a hassle? It pays off. Most of the stages aren’t too far away from each other and generally have a cluster of bathrooms to go with it. If you end up at a stage with a really popular act, the bathrooms around there will be packed at best. I wandered around a bit and found some with a smaller line and some that were hardly used! So much cleaner.

2. Bring wipes: They get nasty in there and generally don’t have seat covers. While I was dumb enough not to think of this, I saw someone with an wipe cloth. Such a simple and smart way to try and add some cleanliness to an otherwise disgusting… device.

3. Realize spatial constriction: If you are carrying around a backpack (like myself) don’t expect to take it in there with you. It just won’t fit. Use a larger port-a-pottie if possible or chance leaving it outside. I usually hid mine under my towel.

4. Go before it gets dark: While this might seem obvious, it’s really not. No matter how much artificial light they have outside, it will not be enough illumination. Go when it is still light out so you don’t risk running into something nasty.

3. It’s ok to sleep during the festival
It gets hot there. Crazy disgustingly hot there. And you will be woken around 7 a.m. sweating in your tent having only gone to bed a few hours ago (maybe more). Not a problem! Music at Bonnaroo doesn’t start till noon. You can wander in after being rudely awoken by the heat, find a shady tree, lay down your towel and sleep. How else are you supposed to have all the energy needed for your music packed day?

4. Make water and shade a priority
I don’t care if you’ve been waiting years to see a band play, you will not enjoy it if you are on the brink of passing out. Before Bonnaroo even started someone was laying on the ground in the line to get in. Also, my travel partner Kristen was light headed from not having enough water/food before getting there and needed to lay in the shade before she ended up like the girl in the line who needed a medic. Now, I know it can be a pain in the ass to carry around a water bottle but it’s for your own good! And try to go to the fountains before and after the noon rush hour. It will insure you won’t wait in a jumble of people for 20 minutes with low water pressure or a broken tap. Filling up your bottle should be first on your list when you get in!

Also, shade may not be abundant, but it exists. If you can’t make it into the tent and the sun is blistering your back (there were some seriously lobster red burns!) go sit in the shade. You can still hear your band play and cool down enough not to be so sweaty that you can’t apply your much needed sunscreen. And if that doesn’t do it for you, revert back to rule #1.

5. Explore
The great thing about Bonnaroo is there are many activities and vendors to explore. In a single day you could; do yoga,  build your own drum, learn to dance with a hula hoop, eat potstickers and samosas, buy some sandales made from recycled materials, and of course, enjoy lots of bands. There is much to do and see at Bonnaroo. It even has it’s own post office! There is much to be explored at Bonnaroo and your experience there will be far better if you see all it has to offer.

 

Just be sure to remember these notes for next year :)

Top 5 Acts of Bonnaroo 2011

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1. The Decemberists at What Stage

The Decemberists have been on my list of bands to see ever since I first heard “Engine Driver” playing on a speaker system at my local Borders bookstore back in 2005. Finally seeing Colin Meloy and Co. play through some of my favorite tunes like “We Both Go Down Together” and “16 Military Wives” was a dream come true and the band delivered on every note. For an extra bonus, Sara Watkins was playing with them (filling in for Jenny Conlee). Her version of “Won’t Want for Love” (off 2009’s Hazards of Love) gave me chills!  The band seemed as happy to be there as the audience was to have them and the playful and easy interaction created a joy that rippled out over the crowd of thousands relaxing in the grass. Thinking back to all the sets we saw, The Decemberists at What Stage is the one that sticks out most clearly in my mind, representing the epitome of my Bonnaroo 2011.      ~ Kristen

Another one of my favorite Decemberist songs:

 

2. Eminem at The What Stage

Truth be told, Eminem was probably the artist I was most looking forward to seeing at Bonnaroo. When Kristen and I first saw Eminem at Epicentre in Fontana last year, we were skeptical with an attitude of, “let’s watch him just to say we saw him.” We were subsequently blown away with his performance. I was hoping for a repeat and got so much more. Eminem’s show features a car crash backdrop and an LED screen alerting the audience that we are witness to his “Recovery.” After the powerful opening of “Won’t Back Down” he took us on a ride through his extensive discography playing hits like, “Airplanes Pt. II”, “Love the Way You Lie”, “So Bad”, and “Till I Collapse”. He also brought out Royce da 5’9″ and they rapped a few songs from their new project Bad Meets Evil. And unlike some artists who only play new and current songs, Eminem took us back to his very beginnings by doing a mashup of, “My Name Is”, “The Real Slim Shady”, and “Without Me”. Perhaps the best part was his consistant chatter with the audience and dedications to the fans coupled with his intense focus on stage. It gave the feeling that he was there in the crowd with you rapping instead of up on stage in front of thousands of people. With an encore of “Lose Yourself” and endless gratitude to the audience at the close, Eminem was definitely a top act of Bonnaroo 2011.    ~Amanda

 

3. The Head and the Heart at The Other Tent

I’m not really sure what to say about The Head and the Heart. It’s hard to define what exactly it is about them that makes them special. It could be that this Seattle based six piece offers a folksy soulful outlook on life or their unique sound filled with shakers, piano, and violin in addition to the standard guitar, drums, and bass. It’s definitely not something I can easily put words to but seeing them again re-affirmed my love for this band. The first time I encountered them was at SXSW where they were playing a small stage in a bike shop. I was unfamiliar with the band and how largely popular they are. The Head and the Heart had no problems filling up the tent and they handled the larger stage with such ease, it seemed almost second nature. They are currently set to join Death Cab for Cutie in Germany and the UK and then tour with The Decemberists while attending festivals such as Calgary Folk Festival and Austin City Limits. If given the opportunity, this band should be at the top of your “to check out” list. After all, they made it to #3 on our Top 5 Acts of Bonnaroo.    ~Amanda

 

4. Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons at The Ford Focus Lounge

I had high hopes for Wisconsin’s Cory Chisel before the festival even began. Fortunately, Cory and his Wandering Sons did not disappoint. Cory crafts my favorite type of soulful folk tunes and accompanied by delicate harmonies provided by Adriel Harris, it’s impossible not to fall in love. I enjoyed Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons so much that I ended up seeing them three times. The first set at The Solar Stage cemented my love and introduced me to his songs including the crowd pleaser and highly appropriate “Tennessee.” The second, nighttime set at The On Tap Lounge really got the crowd going and featured a guest appearance by Brendan Benson as well as a more rockin’ version of “Born Again.”  But it is the third set at The Ford Focus Lounge that I enjoyed the most.  It felt the most intimate. It was a stripped down set, featuring only Cory and Adriel. This made songs like “Never Meant to Love You but It’s Too Late Now” all the more powerful.  It was also more interactive with Cory taking audience requests and singing songs that I could, by now, sing along to. My enhanced enjoyment could also have something to do with the location, an air-conditioned and carpeted lounge where we could sit on plush seats with handkerchiefs full of ice. The set ended with Cory doing a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” I don’t think I could have had a better introduction to a new favorite band than seeing Cory Chisel at Bonnaroo.    ~ Kristen

 

5. Neon Trees at This Tent

I was super excited at the prospect of being able to actually see Neon Trees on stage at Bonnaroo. The last time I ‘saw’ them was at SXSW and I was relegated to the back of the pack for my lack of being there early with nary a visual. This time around, was a whole different story. I had managed to sneak in the side of the tent (which was a might bit too small for them in my opinion), and work my way to a comfortable spot in the shade. This was one of my most memorable shows at Bonnaroo. At one point in time durin their set, the sound went out and they kept playing their song. As soon as the sound came back, they did a reprise of the song so everyone could hear it at full volume. At one point in time, singer Tyler Glenn discussed the difference between love and lust and also admitted to having a crush on a girl but was a coward so he wrote a song instead. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when Glenn took off his pants, revealing his American flag boxer briefs and danced around the stage, telling everyone it was ok to be a freak. Either way, it was a show I will not forget.     ~Amanda

 

Amanda’s Honorable Mention: Kopecky Family Band at The Ford Focus Lounge

I was just hanging in the Ford Focus Lounge, trying to cool of and get some energy back when I heard people talking about this upcoming band and how awesome they were. I was at that point in the day for me when I didn’t really care much about who was playing, I just wanted to cool off and relax. This rather unassuming band came up and caught my attention. They reminded me of Fresno’s Fierce Creatures with a less ethereal and more jam band sound, but still with a captivating presence. The people around me were not wrong about the Kopecky Family Band I hope they come out to California soon because I would love the opportunity to see them again, in a less heated environment.

 

Kristen’s Honorable Mention: The Black Angels at The Ford Focus Lounge


It could have something to do with the intimate setting…or perhaps how the set started with the band announcing they didn’t have paper for setlists so they made some t-shirts with a list of songs they wanted to play and handed them out for people in the audience to wear. It could even have something to do with the fact that the guitarist broke a string (supposedly for the first time ever on stage) and the band had to improvise while he tracked down a replacement. For some reason, The Black Angels at The Ford Focus Lounge was the most fun I had at any set all weekend.  ~ Kristen

 

Kristen’s 5 “Must See” Acts of Bonnaroo ’11

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Tonight, we’re leaving for Bonnaroo!  I’ve done the usual; listen to all the artists, create my schedule, figure out how to pack a tent and a sleeping bag to take on a plane…  I don’t know what was more difficult, narrowing down the number of books I want to bring or narrowing down the number of bands to put on my top 5 “must see” acts of Bonnaroo ’11 list. But both tasks needed to be done.  There are so many acts that I’m excited to see, but here are my top:

 

  1. Deas Vail http://www.deasvail.com/

This band captured my attention at Warped Tour and I’ve been craving another helping of this Arkansas-based group ever since. Their uplifting melodies and calming vocals always manage to lift the spirit. Deas Vail is the kind of band that can take you to another, much better place. And that’s what Bonnaroo is all about (for me at least). It’s the physical representation of that mental place I go every time I see my favorite bands perform. And there is absolutely nothing better than seeing one of my favorite bands in this place…and that’s why Deas Vail is the group I’m most looking forward to seeing this year.

Where to see them:  Friday 2:30 at Cafe Where

 

2. Eminem http://www.eminem.com/

One of my favorite things about Bonnaroo (and music festivals in general) is being able to see so many big acts that I would never pay to see individually (I go to way too many shows to pay big bucks for any one artist). There are quite a few big names I’m looking forward to this year, but none more than Eminem. I was never a huge fan of Eminem, but then I saw him perform at another festival (Epicenter). This man has a gift. I’ve been hesitant of big name rappers at Bonnaroo ever since that whole Kanye debacle of ’08, but I know Eminem will be more embracing of the Bonnaroo spirit and put on a show worthy of the event. Now that I’ve had a taste of this live performance, I cannot wait to get more!

Where to see him: Saturday 11pm at the What Stage

 

 

3. Lelia Broussard vs. The Sheepdogs
http://leliabroussard.com/ http://www.thesheepdogs.com/

I’ve been keeping tabs on the whole Rolling Stone unsigned artist cover competition. Although my faves, Chicago rockers Empire, are sadly no longer in the running, there are still two fantastic acts left. I’ve been going to Lelia Broussard shows for years now and have always enjoyed her songs and charming delivery. The Sheepdogs were introduced to me through this competition, but I pegged them early as one to watch (I have a weakness for southern rock). I’m excited to see them both perform and bring about a conclusion to this competition.

Where to see them: Saturday 2pm at This Tent

 

 

4. Mumford and Sons http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

As amazing as their album, Sigh No More, can be, the live Mumford and Sons performance is even better! As these English folk rockers continue to grow in popularity around the world, their performances become increasingly coveted. I don’t know if I could ever beat the front row at The Belly Up, but Mumford and Sons + Bonnaroo is an ideal combination and I am really looking forward to seeing them again.

Where to see them: Saturday 6:15 at Which Stage

 

 

5. Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons http://www.corychisel.com/

What would be the point of a big music festival, if I didn’t walk away discovering a great new band. I mean Bonnaroo is the event in where I first heard one of my LA faves, Carney. Listening to all the acts unbeknownst to me, I heard a lot of promise in Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons. Will they live up to my expectations? Will another unknown act steal my heart? I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

Where to see them:
Thursday 7:15 at The Solar Stage
Friday 9:20 at The On Tap Lounge

 

 

 

 

Other Highly Anticipated Acts for Bonnaroo ‘11

 

Hope to see you at the ‘Roo!

~ Kristen

Top 5 Acts of Bonnaroo 2011

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1. The Decemberists at What Stage
The Decemberists have been on my list of bands to see ever since I first heard “Engine Driver” playing on a speaker system at my local Borders bookstore back in 2005. Finally seeing Colin Meloy and Co. play through some of my favorite tunes like “We Both Go Down Together” and “16 Military Wives” was a dream come true and the band delivered on every note. For an extra bonus, Sara Watkins was playing with them (filling in for Jenny Conlee). Her version of “Won’t Want for Love” (off 2009’s Hazards of Love) gave me chills!  The band seemed as happy to be there as the audience was to have them and the playful and easy interaction created a joy that rippled out over the crowd of thousands relaxing in the grass. Thinking back to all the sets we saw, The Decemberists at What Stage is the one that sticks out most clearly in my mind, representing the epitome of my Bonnaroo 2011.      ~ Kristen

Another one of my favorite Decemberist songs:

 

2. Eminem at The What Stage

Truth be told, Eminem was probably the artist I was most looking forward to seeing at Bonnaroo. When Kristen and I first saw Eminem at Epicentre in Fontana last year, we were skeptical with an attitude of, “let’s watch him just to say we saw him.” We were subsequently blown away with his performance. I was hoping for a repeat and got so much more. Eminem’s show features a car crash backdrop and an LED screen alerting the audience that we are witness to his “Recovery.” After the powerful opening of “Won’t Back Down” he took us on a ride through his extensive discography playing hits like, “Airplanes Pt. II”, “Love the Way You Lie”, “So Bad”, and “Till I Collapse”. He also brought out Royce da 5’9″ and they rapped a few songs from their new project Bad Meets Evil. And unlike some artists who only play new and current songs, Eminem took us back to his very beginnings by doing a mashup of, “My Name Is”, “The Real Slim Shady”, and “Without Me”. Perhaps the best part was his consistant chatter with the audience and dedications to the fans coupled with his intense focus on stage. It gave the feeling that he was there in the crowd with you rapping instead of up on stage in front of thousands of people. With an encore of “Lose Yourself” and endless gratitude to the audience at the close, Eminem was definitely a top act of Bonnaroo 2011.    ~Amanda

 

3. The Head and the Heart at The Other Tent

I’m not really sure what to say about The Head and the Heart. It’s hard to define what exactly it is about them that makes them special. It could be that this Seattle based six piece offers a folksy soulful outlook on life or their unique sound filled with shakers, piano, and violin in addition to the standard guitar, drums, and bass. It’s definitely not something I can easily put words to but seeing them again re-affirmed my love for this band. The first time I encountered them was at SXSW where they were playing a small stage in a bike shop. I was unfamiliar with the band and how largely popular they are. The Head and the Heart had no problems filling up the tent and they handled the larger stage with such ease, it seemed almost second nature. They are currently set to join Death Cab for Cutie in Germany and the UK and then tour with The Decemberists while attending festivals such as Calgary Folk Festival and Austin City Limits. If given the opportunity, this band should be at the top of your “to check out” list. After all, they made it to #3 on our Top 5 Acts of Bonnaroo.    ~Amanda

 

4. Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons at The Ford Focus Lounge

I had high hopes for Wisconsin’s Cory Chisel before the festival even began. Fortunately, Cory and his Wandering Sons did not disappoint. Cory crafts my favorite type of soulful folk tunes and accompanied by delicate harmonies provided by Adriel Harris, it’s impossible not to fall in love. I enjoyed Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons so much that I ended up seeing them three times. The first set at The Solar Stage cemented my love and introduced me to his songs including the crowd pleaser and highly appropriate “Tennessee.” The second, nighttime set at The On Tap Lounge really got the crowd going and featured a guest appearance by Brendan Benson as well as a more rockin’ version of “Born Again.”  But it is the third set at The Ford Focus Lounge that I enjoyed the most.  It felt the most intimate. It was a stripped down set, featuring only Cory and Adriel. This made songs like “Never Meant to Love You but It’s Too Late Now” all the more powerful.  It was also more interactive with Cory taking audience requests and singing songs that I could, by now, sing along to. My enhanced enjoyment could also have something to do with the location, an air-conditioned and carpeted lounge where we could sit on plush seats with handkerchiefs full of ice. The set ended with Cory doing a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” I don’t think I could have had a better introduction to a new favorite band than seeing Cory Chisel at Bonnaroo.    ~ Kristen

 

5. Neon Trees at This Tent

I was super excited at the prospect of being able to actually see Neon Trees on stage at Bonnaroo. The last time I ‘saw’ them was at SXSW and I was relegated to the back of the pack for my lack of being there early with nary a visual. This time around, was a whole different story. I had managed to sneak in the side of the tent (which was a might bit too small for them in my opinion), and work my way to a comfortable spot in the shade. This was one of my most memorable shows at Bonnaroo. At one point in time durin their set, the sound went out and they kept playing their song. As soon as the sound came back, they did a reprise of the song so everyone could hear it at full volume. At one point in time, singer Tyler Glenn discussed the difference between love and lust and also admitted to having a crush on a girl but was a coward so he wrote a song instead. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when Glenn took off his pants, revealing his American flag boxer briefs and danced around the stage, telling everyone it was ok to be a freak. Either way, it was a show I will not forget.     ~Amanda

 

Amanda’s Honorable Mention: Kopecky Family Band at The Ford Focus Lounge

I was just hanging in the Ford Focus Lounge, trying to cool of and get some energy back when I heard people talking about this upcoming band and how awesome they were. I was at that point in the day for me when I didn’t really care much about who was playing, I just wanted to cool off and relax. This rather unassuming band came up and caught my attention. They reminded me of Fresno’s Fierce Creatures with a less ethereal and more jam band sound, but still with a captivating presence. The people around me were not wrong about the Kopecky Family Band I hope they come out to California soon because I would love the opportunity to see them again, in a less heated environment.

 

Kristen’s Honorable Mention: The Black Angels at The Ford Focus Lounge


It could have something to do with the intimate setting…or perhaps how the set started with the band announcing they didn’t have paper for setlists so they made some t-shirts with a list of songs they wanted to play and handed them out for people in the audience to wear. It could even have something to do with the fact that the guitarist broke a string (supposedly for the first time ever on stage) and the band had to improvise while he tracked down a replacement. For some reason, The Black Angels at The Ford Focus Lounge was the most fun I had at any set all weekend.  ~ Kristen