Kanye West and Elton John are to headline this year’s Bonnaroo. What began as a folk and jam festival in 2002 is now one of the most renowned festivals in America, bringing thousands of fans into an almost 24 hour, 4 day never ending musical oasis that will run from June 12 -15 in Manchester, Tennessee.
West and John are an unlikely duo to be headlining Bonnaroo. West is back after being booed in 2008 for hitting the stage 2 hours late. And John is known for playing at top of the line arenas. Bonnaroo’s unpredictable lineup is one of the many reasons fans head to Tennessee in the heat of June. The festival has become a place where legendary acts such as Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have taken over along with lesser known bands such as Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers and The XX. What began as a small folk-oriented festival has now become one of the largest in the United States, attracting over 100,000 fans in 2013. The festival is also known for the many activities it provides its attendants. With inflatable slides, kid’s pools, team runs that resemble mini-marathons, artisan vendors, a theater, and short films and documentaries at the cinema. One of the most anticipated areas of the festival is the Comedy Theatre with comedians such as Daniel Tosh, Bob Saget, Aziz Ansari, and Pete Holmes hitting the stage in the past.
The organizers of the festival own a portion of the land, which has provided them the liberty to offer concert goers the option to camp on site. There are several campsites at the festival; the areas are separated based on the camping preferences. The general admission camp is included in the ticket price, while others are RV areas, as well as tent only and car camping. All of the areas have designated POD’s where there are washrooms, and drinking water. Showers are also available for a nominal fee; the accommodations along with the 4 days of around the clock music and activities, and concert tickets under $300 makes Bonnaroo the place to be.
This year’s Bonnaroo will continue blending new bands with past legends as well as current chart toppers. The festival is in the business to connect all arts with people of all walks. With 13 stages and over 100 acts that will also include an eclectic blend of artists such as Lionel Ritchie, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Kaskade, Lauren Hill, Ice Cube, City and Colour, Jack White and Broken Bells.
Bonnaroo is also hosts to many non-profit organizations that provide festival attendants with knowledge into environmental issues such as reducing carbon footprint, gardening and composting workshops, yoga classes, and human rights issues. One of the many initiatives they have taken is to have attendants return all recycling in exchange for prizes; the higher amount of recyclables, the greater the prize. Bonnaroo also provides free well and filtered water to concert goers. This is why having Kanye West and Elton John seems like a great departure from the environmental bohemian aspects the festival is associated with. They are both large names in popular culture for selling millions of albums and transforming their genres. West and John are also known for their exuberant spending, private planes, hotels and tour demands, all of which have been greatly documented in the media. Yet, that is what makes Bonnaroo so special; their musical inclusivity.
By Dony Lugo