Getting there on Wednesday night made for a good camping spot. Correction . . . a GREAT camping spot, because it just happened to be next to Scott and the boys from Abita beer. They were great neighbors and kept us well hydrated the entire weekend.
Knoxville Southern rockers The Dirty Guv’nahs, officially kicked off Bonnaroo for us and after that we drifted from stage to stage. The Lonely Forest, The Cave Singers, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Casey Driessen and Moon Taxi were a few of the bands playing. We then settled in for the full Alabama Shakes show and the powerful voice of lead singer Brittany Howard who did not disappoint.
On day two the beautiful weather continued with The Avett brothers being one of the best shows of the day. They paid a nice tribute to bluegrass legend Doc Watson, who died last month, by playing “Down in the Valley to Pray.” There was something for everyone with Ludacris, Foster The People, Sam Bush and Needtobreathe. Childish Gambino was back for a second year in a row. Radiohead was the big show and the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bassist, Flea was apparently in the audience. If you could stay up late enough (we couldn’t), then there was Umphrey’s McGee, Dumpstafunk and Big Freedia ending the night at four (as in a.m!)
We started day three with The Devil Makes Three, moved on to Flogging Molly, Trixie Whitley and then to a fantastic picking party thrown by the Punch Brothers on the “Which” stage. We got to see Texas native, Robert Ellis for the first time and I hope it won’t be the last. Then it was back to camp to rest up for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Chili Peppers played 15 songs with an encore of three. At the beginning of the encore, Flea came out walking on his hands for an amazingly long time and they ended the show with “Give It Away” while fireworks were eruptding in the crowd. But the night was just getting started. Nashville.com photographer Brad Lykken made his way over to “That” tent to see a 62 year old Alice Cooper rock as hard as he ever has while I moved over to the “Which” stage to watch the dubstep beats of Skrillex. It rained glowsticks through most of the show and the DJ paid tribute to Beastie Boy MCA with his remix of the hit “Sabotage.” It actually started to rain towards the end of the show and continued to lightly rain until about nine on Sunday morning.
Day four was filled with ominous clouds but there was no rain for most of the day. Scheduling was challenge but we hit as much as we could starting with Black Box Revelation and then Gary Clark Jr., The Black Lips, Kathleen Edwards and then over to the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys sang all of the hits to a deverse crowd of all ages with a few naked people running around to keep things interesting. Ben Folds Five was right after that playing at the same time as Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers brought out surprise guest Lionel Richie to sing “Lady” and “All Night Long.” Then it was on to see husband and wife team, The Civil Wars with a very pregnant Joy Williams. Phish closed out the festival with a four hour show bringing out Kenny Rogers to sing “The Gambler,” and ending the night with “Rocky Top.”
Over all it was the best Bonnaroo ever and we made many new friends. We can’t wait until next year!