My interest in Bonnaroo has both waned and sky-rocketed over the past few years, rollercoastering as I hear negative views of the festival’s affiliations and positive reviews in respect to the music, and although I’ve never been, I feel comfortable putting my opinions in the hands of both friends and respected music critics. With that said, let’s get down to the basics. Bonnaroo’s site had this to say about what the festival itself really is:
“The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee every June. Bonnaroo brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival’s 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village. For its peaceful vibe, near-flawless logistics, and unrivaled entertainment options, Rolling Stone magazine named this revolutionary entertainment experience one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll.”
From my own festival-going experience (though, like I said, Bonnaroo isn’t within it), music festivals are all but peaceful, at least in terms of noise. Scanning the site, I’d agree that there are endless opportunities to entertain oneself here, and the mere size of the festival can’t be debated — It’s one of the largest music festivals in the country. Bonnaroo seems to be upping the ante with every aspect of the event.
Honestly, my reluctancy in fully supporting the festival lies only with its sponsors and where these sponsors may take the festival. In 2006, MTV joined the list of the festival’s corporate sponsors (which also includes AT&T). With a history of full jam-band line-ups, 2006 marked the noticeably first year in which the performances held significant variation in genre.
Everything said and done, however, Bonnaroo is holding its place in the music community and with line-ups like they’ve had, the experience would be more than worth stepping outside one’s jam-band box.
Location: Manchester, TN
Date(s): June 12 – 15, 2008
Tickets (80,000 sold; 4-day passes): First tickets – $209.50, First increase – $229.50, Second increase – $244.50
2008 Artist Line-Up: http://www.bonnaroo.com/