Set List Bonus: Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Erin Hanson
Radiate positivity. This was just one pillar of the "Bonnaroovian Code" — a very real understanding of behavioral conduct among Manchester, Tenn.'s 80,000 temporary inhabitants from June 12–15 at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Similar to other festivals, the 700-acre farm where Bonnaroo was held was flooded with an influx of people who were there for the supportive community, an escape from society and, of course, the music.
In the days leading up to the festival, wristband-wearing individuals in nearby Nashville, Tenn., emptied Target shelves of snacks, tarps and beer. Bonnaroo is for fans up for a four-day journey, who don't mind getting dirty, high-fiving a few hundred strangers, and navigating the multiple stages, all of which leave plenty of room for confusion with names such as What Stage, Which Stage, That Tent, This Tent, and The Other Tent.
My Bonnaroo experience was bookended by two British artists each experiencing their first U.S. festival performance — newcomer Sam Smith and the GRAMMY-winning legend himself, Sir Elton John. Smith, whose drew a large crowd despite his relatively recent emergence, seemed incredibly humbled to be a part of the weekend. In between songs, Smith shared with the crowd that his expectations of a low turnout left him now owing his manager "a lot of drinks." His set included a cover of Arctic Monkeys' "Do I Wanna Know?" as well as a stripped-down version of "Latch," his hit collaboration with Disclosure.
Other memorable performances on the full-moon Friday the 13th included Seattle's the Head And The Heart, whose lyric from "Another Story" — "The sun still rises/Even with the pain"— accompanied the sun breaking through the clouds for the first time that day. After an upbeat set from GRAMMY nominee Janelle Monáe, GRAMMY winner and newlywed Kanye West made his return to the festival with a closing performance that featured "Jesus Walks," "Stronger" and 19 other songs, plus a few rants in between.
Saturday featured better weather, a press tent performance by the Wild Feathers, and two sets by my current favorite band, Jamestown Revival. The Texas duo released their debut album, Utah, in February and performed once on the festival's completely sustainable Solar Stage during the Music For Social Change series of performances and discussions. During their set, the band talked about their desire for people to be more self-aware.
Other Saturday highlights included a performance by GRAMMY winner Lionel Richie featuring some of his classic hits, including "Endless Love," which garnered some crowd participation; an hour of pulsing beats from GRAMMY winner Zedd; and a powerful and extended headlining set by one of today's most innovative musicians, Jack White.
Sunday featured higher temperatures and a beautifully curated stage by the Bluegrass Situation that showcased GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz, among others. Ed Helms hosted a traditional Bonnaroovian superjam, featuring GRAMMY-nominated folk group the Avett Brothers, which capped the night at This Tent.
John closed out the festival with a hit-laden set to a sentimental crowd, complete with fire lanterns and glow sticks. His performance left me with thoughts of Bennie, the Jets and his bright-red piano to accompany my sore feet on the drive back to Music City. Until next year, I'll be radiating positivity and doing my best to uphold the "code."
(Erin Hanson is Nashville, Tenn.'s newest Los Angeles transplant and a former GRAMMY U Representative for The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter. She is a live music enthusiast and new USC alumna on the hunt for decent Mexican food and a new job in Music City. Follow her @erin__hanson.)