Bonnaroo 2013: Another One for the Books

My second year at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has come and gone and being back home in my air conditioned room makes for a wonderful time to reflect on everything I did and saw.

Manchester Tennessee was hotter this year, I was sweating all day long and into the night. Gross, I know, but true. We flew into Atlanta last Wednesday and picked up our rental RV in Lawrenceville, Georgia, driving about 4 hours to our destination.


Bonnaroo is always an experience. There are endless amounts of people-watching opportunities that go hand-in-hand with the dozens of shows you schedule for yourself. The hardest thing, I’ve realized, about Bonnaroo is getting all your friends to see a show together. I spent some time on my own, as did my friends, because there are just too many bands to see.

My favorite show of the festival was Portugal. the Man. They are a progressive rock band from Alaska, based in Oregon, that has a style and sound different than anything I have heard in a long while. Because I wanted to see them front row, I waited from noon (watching the Cults and Solange Knowles) until 5:30 p.m. in the scorching hot Tennessee sun. By the time they took the stage my water bottles were coming to a boil. The wait and near death experience was so worth it. Finally, I didn’t have to watch a screen to enjoy a concert. Please listen to them.

A view from the front. Yes, that is Weird Al on stage with them!
A view from the front. Yes, that is Weird Al on stage with them!

Headlining acts, per usual, were great. Paul McCartney played on Friday night and Tom Petty on Sunday. Mumford & Sons were scheduled to headline the Saturday slot but canceled last minute and were replaced by Jack Johnson- which I can honestly say I did not see.


Hip hop seemed to win the favor of the masses this year. Kendrick Lamar, R. Kelly (amazing show), Wu Tang and Nas all had people talking more than any other band, from what I picked up on. Next time, Bonnaroo needs to get a heavier-hitting lineup. Sure, sure, we had McCartney but the day acts left little to be desired. I sensed an urgency for more rock, less strumming on a guitar and crying. Ick. There’s competition these days with the likes of newer festivals such as Firefly booking top names in their first year.

Overall, if you are thinking about going to Bonnaroo, my suggestion is to wait until the lineup does come out to plan your vacation. We didn’t do that this year. It makes a difference. Here are some photos I snapped. I didn’t take as many as last year, le sigh, but nonetheless… enjoy!






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