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June 20, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-06-20

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Monday, June 20, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Bonnaroo's diverse music leaves reality behind


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nessee's festival Not enough? Take in a movie fol-
lowed by a Q&A session with the
ompasses genres likes of Zach Braff, Aziz Ansari or
Kareem Abdul Jabar. Prefer to be
By DAVID RIVA bombarded with jokes that induce
Daily Arts Writer side-splitting laughter? Easy solu-
tion: Socks are regularly knocked
oden fence lines the perim- off by comedians whose influences
the Bonnaroo Music and range from politics to marijuana.
stival. The plywood struc- And for the more adventurous at
vides amateur artists and heart, a giant water slide constantly
attendees alike with an awaits spontaneous belly flops and
I canvas to paint carica- swan dives.
festival headliners, display No, this is not reality. This is
of performers from years Bonnaroo.
ray generic graffiti and But behind all the glitter and
otes ranging from nonsen- gloss that most experience at the
rofound. festival is an intensely well-planned
ps the most noteworthy event that has evolved into a pre-
the wall reads "Reality is miere destination for live enter-
nce of Bonnaroo." tainment. Over the past ten years,
n earshot of this spotcomes the organizers of Bonnaroo have
ad of techno beats mashed worked out all the kinks and turned
lines from "Star Wars." A a jam-band dust bowl into an oasis
p to the source reveals an of art to satisfy anyone's pallet.
d cuckoo clock towering One of the festival's keys to suc-
unfathomably large camp- cess is the attention to detail that
that balloons Manchester, can turn an exhausting or frus-
population from 8,000 to trating day into an undeniably
for four days each June. enjoyable one. For example, a new
raction? How about the mechanism for audience arrange-
lectic conglomeration of ment that brings in a fresh group
acts assembled anywhere of people at the beginning of each
orld running the gamut of main-stage set allows attendees to
om classic to modern rock, camp out for artists without having
to electronic, to-fi surf pop to get dangerously sandwiched and
metal and practically any sweaty in the process.
'surdly named genre con- Similarly nice touches car-
by the blogosphere? ried over from years prior include

eloquently framed band names
on giant poster boards displayed
onstage during shows - which
come in handy in the instance of
a lost schedule or confusion with
stage names - as well as something
as simple as the sandy ground under
the performance tents that lends
itself well to burrowing feet and
tired toes.
All of these minor touches com-
bine with the aforementioned, more
obvious draws to create aone-of-a-
kind atmosphere.
Musicians and festivalgoers
equally contribute to this conta-
gious dispensation of good-natured
Slug, of the hip-hop group Atmo-
sphere, described why this is so
"There's a vibe at festivals - but
especially at one like this - that's
real communal," he said at a press
conference last Friday. "To be able
to see a bunch of people who don't
know each other from Adam come
together and enjoy what we do - to
see them get on the same page with
their hands in the air or using their
voice together - you know, this is
as close to church as a lot of us are
goingto get."
Although hip hop acts are a
newer addition to Bonnaroo's rock-
based roots, Atmosphere was not
the only group throwing down
beats and rapping vocals.
Lil' Wayne and Eminem head-



The fence outside Bonnaroo 2011 is covere
lined Friday and Saturday night,
respectively, and the industry
giants provided a contrast of why
people both hate and love live hip-
hop music.
Weezy's set - regardless of
technical difficulties outside of his
control - was unremarkable with
a lack of cohesion from the few
instruments onstage and a heavy
dose of prepackaged samples.
On the other hand, Detroit's
own Slim Shady created a stunning
stage show both visually and soni-
cally, belting out hit after hit from a
back catalogue that has rarely been
performed live in the past several
years. A surprisingly complete band
produced a consistently tight sound
and was supplemented by scenes
from Eminem music videos and
other images made specifically for

yoga /i Oo 5
215 S. State St.
2nd Floor
Ann Arbor
www.rUSSayO g .com

d with the artwork of festivalgoers.
the show, bringing the songs that
so many know so well to life. And to
top it all off, Marshall added unbri-
dled energy into the entire set.
"I think the reason Bonnaroo
is so open-minded to (hip hop) is
because it started as a jam band fes-
tival," said Warren Haynes of Gov't
Mule, The Allman Brothers Band
and The Dead at the press confer-
ence. "When the jam band move-
ment started, my only complaint
was, it needs to be more open-mind-
"It needs to include other genres
(like) bluegrass, jazz, blues, hip hop,
reggae, whatever, because the only
thingyou need to be a jam band is to
improvise and have a mindset that
goes along with this," he added.
Needless to say, the festival had
its fair share of guitar-driven acts as
well with mind-blowingsets from
My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire
and The Black Keys.
In usual Bonnaroo form, the
lineup paid tribute to the past
with singers like Wanda Jackson
and Mavis Staples being booked
this year. The two legends used
their songs as a backdrop to tell
their life stories, fillingin the gaps
between music with anecdotes
about personal experiences rang-
ing from Elvis Presley and Martin
Luther King Jr. to Jack White and
Jeff Tweedy.
After four days of a diverse
sonic landscape, intellectual 6
stimulation, comedic relief and
water works, festivalgoers were
forced to enter back into reality.
Although the grounds are left dor-
mant, the abstract, yet intoxicat-
ing concept of Bonnaroo, remains
as a tiny reverie in the back of 0
peoples' heads, collectively count-
ing down the days until a field in
Tennessee erupts with creativ-
ity and positive energy once again
next year.

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