On June 13, cars began arriving in Manchester, Tennessee to get in line for entry into one of the biggest music festivals in the state. Filled with anticipation and excitement, everyone arriving had been preparing for months to experience the best weekend of their summer. With a lineup including favorites such as Griz, The Band Camino, Kendrick Lamar, Paramore, Odesza, Louis the Child, and more; how could people not be thrilled!
As Outeroo (the campgrounds) grew larger and larger leading up to Centeroo (the festival grounds) opening on Thursday, it was apparent that this year certainly had more attendees. With 40,000 people estimated last year, Bonnaroo over doubled the amount of attendees by having around 90,000 in the festival this year. Heavier crowds came with louder applause, longer bathroom lines inside Centeroo, more creative totems, and thicker moving crowds when leaving a set. Getting to experience a huge festival with a ton of other people who radiative positivity, love, and acceptance is an amazing thing to be a part of!
The food tasted great and the lemonade stands everywhere were a savior from the hot sun all day. While food items could be pricy, they made up for it in flavor and uniqueness with what was on the menu. With over 50 merchants around the campsites and in the festival grounds, there was a huge urge to break the bank on things like pashminas, festival hoods, artistic blankets, handheld festival fans, jewelry, and so many more things! So if you tend to be a spontaneous buyer, beware of shakedown street; which is basically the road a good amount of people end up walking to get to Centeroo and back to their campsite. It has about twenty merchants and around eight vendors that have a perfect location for business. While the food, merchants, and bigger community this year were amazing, the music was certainly the big factor.
Jazz Funk EDM artist, Griz, completely stole the show on Friday night with his set. The line for Griz’s pit began forming about an hour and a half before his show, because everyone there knew since the lineup dropped months ago that he was the artist to see. Incorporating Funk and Jazz into his music, he provided everyone there a night they would never forget. Always keeping the energy fresh, alive, and new each show, Griz is an EDM artist who’s on top of his game and its no surprise why. Giving Bonnaroo his all, he performed his set with a crowd fully enveloped the entire time. As he always does, Griz brought out his saxophone for a good 50% of his songs which was most definitely a treat for everyone. He plays with passion and pride in what he’s created as an artist and you can feel it in the notes he plays. While having plenty of talent on his own with saxophone, Griz loves to bring out other members of his group to play even more powerful pieces for his fans. Having a trombone, trumpet, and phenomenal rapper on stage with him, he is able to create an experience as a whole for his entire crowd. Griz of course made sure to play his top hits, obviously including ‘Vibe Check,’ which caused some of the loudest crowd interaction along with a beautiful display of lasers, sparks, flames, and yes; FIREWORKS! Using his platform to spread love and kindness to the world, Griz always makes sure to talk to his fans during his set and remind them they matter and are accepted no matter who they love. Sadly, he has recently announced a hiatus on his touring for the foreseeable future starting after his last festival in October. So if you want to make lasting memories with an insanely unique and inspiring EDM artist, make sure to check out his schedule in the next coming months to see if any of his dates work for you!
Alt-Indie favorites, The Band Camino, were finally able to take the Bonnaroo stage on Saturday after having been scheduled for the festival twice in the past and not being able to do either show due to unforeseen circumstances. Filled with happiness and excitement in getting to achieve what they wanted for years, Jeffery Jordan and the boys were able to give their all for the thousands of fans who showed up. The good news about this being their first time performing at Bonnaroo was the fact they were on the second main stage! If they had performed a few years ago, their following wouldn’t have been as big to allow them that stage; so it was a really cool moment for not only the fans, but the band themselves. Performing right before golden hour, the sun hit the stage perfectly to create a beautiful golden glow to the air. It was a perfect setting for The Band Camino, especially when they performed a beloved older song titled ‘California’. That song was one of their bigger hits when they were first growing into the industry and isn’t played often during their tours; so the whole crowd was ecstatic to hear and see it performed live on the Farm. While they played a few older songs from their early days, they still made sure to bring out some of their most recent releases. Bringing vibrant colors of blue and red with their lighting and background visuals, The Band Camino did not disappoint a single person at their set. The energy, stage presence, and overall stamina the boys had kept the whole crowd involved and moving during the full hour time slot. Long time fans, along with new ones, gathered together as one to watch Jeffery, Spencer, and Garrison take the Bonnaroo stage for their first time in a set that was just as fulfilling for the band as it was for the fans.
Closing the What stage on Saturday was none other than Odesza, whose show was filled with powerful percussionists to create depth in his music and presentation. The marching of the snare drums was in sync and clean in the way they moved together. By creating this atmosphere using percussive marching band instruments, Odesza was able to showcase his set with uniqueness and individuality. Having songs filled with futurist bass and indie dance music, everyone there was in for a euphoric treat. Not slowing down once, his set was filled with complete energy from the crowd of at least ten thousand people. And while the crowd size may have been huge, Odesza made every single person have a good view by putting on an insane laser show along with flames and fireworks to end the night for The What stage. He truly knows how to encompass his audience with good vibes and fascinating transitions in his music.
Following Odesza, right before midnight struck, Louis the Child brought their euphoric future bass EDM to The Other stage. Playing some of their biggest hits behind the famous giant LED crown logo, the whole crowd was just as alive as they were entering the festival grounds 8 hours beforehand. While the crowd was certainly hyped to see yet another big name in club and EDM music, Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett of Louis the Child were just as excited for the massive crowd they had attending their midnight set. The energy and vibes flowed electricity through the crowd, providing the full concert experience all around you. Having four led screen towers in the sides of the crowd, the visuals shown were able to be a fully immersive experience for viewers who were closer in the crowd. Louis the Child did not miss a beat on any of their bass filled drops; accompanied with insane laser shows that left the crowd in awe of the visual geometry and colors presented. Bringing out a few guests during their set, they fulfilled fans’ dreams of hearing one of their collaboration’s live with both artists on stage. One of the artist they brought on stage was Zachary Knowles, who sings in their highly popular song, ‘Daybreak’. The crowd gave him just as much energy as they gave Louis, which made for a perfect moment to experience in person. The best part about EDM artists is that every view is a good view. Incorporating lasers, screen visuals, flames, fireworks, and smoke; Louis the Child were able to create a full experience that allowed all fans to have the same viewing opportunities. That combined with the energy and overall crowd interaction, Louis the Child’s midnight set was one that no one wanted to miss.
As Bonnaroo came to a close with the Foo Fighters performance on Sunday night, the realization that the weekend was over started setting in. Unluckily, a storm was heading for The Farm that night, which sadly cancelled Alesso’s eclipse set scheduled after Foo Fighters. A good amount of people started tearing down camp early to be ready to leave quickly when they woke up. But as the night came to an end, and everyone left Centeroo for the last time this year, no one could help but reminisce about the last 4-6 days of pure amusement and bliss by being in one of the most welcoming and loving festivals around.