In case you’re heading down or thinking about making the trip*.
For the uninitiated. Bonnaroo, held in Manchester, Tennessee June 11 – 14th, is more than an enormous crowd singing along with Billy Joel.
Thursday is a great to day to arrive and familiarize yourself with the layout and operations, catch a comedy show Kurt Braunohler (Comedy Theater, 4 pm), watch the NBA Finals (Cinema Tent) and see the first bona fide rock set of the festival from Strand of Oaks (This Tent, 7 pm). The band is fresh off sets at Primavera and Governor’s Ball.
Friday afternoon, you might just post up at the Other Tent, starting with Unknown Mortal Orchestra (The Other Tent, 4:45 pm). For feeling good and dancing, try Sylvan Esso, (The Other Tent, 6:30 pm). Later, check out the orchestral pop collaboration with Ben Folds and YMusic (The Other Tent, 8:15 pm).
Saturday morning ease into a long day with instrumental music from So Percussion (The Other Tent, 12:45 pm). They will perform Music for Wood and Strings written by Bryce Dessner of the National. Phox offer charming, pop songs from Bon Iver’s home state, Wisconsin (The Other Tent, 2:30 pm).
Woods, a perennial guitar favorite shift you into the rock block (This Tent, 3:45 pm). A recently released live video from Pickathon last year.
If I were making the trip, I would check out two artists I haven’t caught yet, Sturgill Simpson, (That Tent, 6:15 pm) and D’Angelo and the Vanguard (This Tent, 1 am)
The War on Drugs create a big sound that belongs on an equally big stage (Which Stage, 5:45 pm).
Alabama Shakes are coming into their own. Have a lIsten to a live recording from last weekend’s Mountain Jam (What Stage, 7:30 pm).
Late night, check out Tycho and their gorgeous light show (That Tent, 12 pm).
Early Sunday, looks a bit like the Nelsonville Music Festival.
If you’re looking for alternatives, at 10:00 am Bela Fleck shares How to Write a Banjo Concerto in the Cinema Tent and Reggie Watts, who is an incredible comic and musician performs in the Comedy Theater at 1pm.
Hiss Golden Messenger (This Tent, 2:30 pm), are my DO NOT MISS recommendation. The band has recently opened for both The Tallest Man on Earth and My Morning Jacket, and will be bringing along William Tyler to join the band for this show. They are currently locked into an impossible-to-resist groove.
Caribou (The Other Tent, 7:30 pm) make a rare US appearance (and were another Primavera favorite). Remember the music can’t do without you.
You can balance big stages with small ones by watching for details about the Ford Backyard, small ‘garage’ sized performances.
*There are Nashville shuttle tickets/passes available.