By Joshua Mellin | June 17th, 2011
No matter how much you think you know about music, there’s always more to learn at Bonnaroo. After attending the past several years as civilians, we were privileged enough to be granted press credentials for the Tennessee festival’s 10th anniversary — and what a celebration was had!
The arch, which is freshly decorated every year, featured mirrors, spotlights, a disco ball, and was topped off by Dr. John’s trademark Night Tripper cap, complete with a gigantic feather. Other new additions included a cuckoo clock that didn’t actually tell time and street art-influenced murals of past performers along the festival walls.
In the press tent, we were treated to shows featuring eclectic pairings, from Grace Potter cracking up alongside Lewis Black as he hurled obscenities, to Eugene from Gogol Bordello’s theories on sexual vibes emitted by the festival, to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar looking on as Stephen Stills explained how he penned “For What It’s Worth.”
One of the most interesting panels included Bonnaroo founders Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment and Jonathan Mayers of Superfly reminiscing about surveying the empty land some 10 plus years ago, deciding on naming the stages, and most encouragingly, explaining their vision of the future of the festival as fostering a strong community experience.
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Running across the sprawling 700-acre farm through crowds of 50 to 70,000 and managing the long, hot, dusty days presented its own unique challenge, but in the end paid off with a slew of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and amazing rock shows. Chronicled here are a few of the finest.