Always great music and this year, even more art and comedy
Summer’s almost (officially) here, festival season is in full swing, and for many that means a trip to Manchester for the 14th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. For four days the 700-acre farm, now known as Great Stage Park, will host our region’s biggest party of the year.
Imagine a population equivalent to that of a small city camping together around multiple stages on which a bunch of awesome bands are performing, and that will give you an idea of what this event is like.
A few of the artists featured this year are Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, DEADMAU5, Florence and the Machine, My Morning Jacket, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Bassnectar, Flume, Hozier, Slayer, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Flying Lotus, STS9, Belle and Sebastian, Ben Folds, Tears For Fears, Alabama Shakes, Spoon, Childish Gambino, and Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn.
Installation sculptures will be put up by David Korins Design, a firm out of New York City that works in theater, opera, film, TV, music, and festivals. Korins’s festival designs are futuristic, electric, and whimsical, adding a sense of other-worldliness to the environment. Visitors to last year’s Bonnaroo might remember his psychedelic LED clock tower that dominated “Centeroo,” the festival’s main crossroads area. Centeroo is home to a slew of vendors, food and beverage merchants, and interesting environments like the Fountain, a mini-water park where overheated festival-goers can splash around and cool off.
This year’s Fountain artist is Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea, a New York-based designer, illustrator, and graffiti artist whose bright neon murals are characterized by geometric shapes and graffiti writing. See her art at the start of the first-ever Roo Art Walk, led by Bonnaroo’s head of visual design Russ Bennett from the Fountain on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Diehard festival goers (known as “Bonnaroovians”) have a long-standing tradition of having wacky-themed parades and costume parties, and you never really know when a glow stick war will break out. The festival will host two Art Cars, “Big Red” and “Mirage,” which will be roaming around the farm causing random dance parties.
New this year is “The Grove,” a patch of forest in the campgrounds equipped with hanging hammocks, soundscapes, and a color string installation. The center of this area will be home to an interesting installation entitled the “Portal-potty,” 16 porta-potties gutted and laid out in a ring. At times, the doors will be unlocked for people to enter into a performance space where they can experience intimate performances by magicians, musicians, and other surprises.
A star-studded lineup of comedians, including Ralphie May, Chris Hardwick, Reggie Watts, Jeff Ross, Ari Shaffer, Nick Thune and Natasha Leggero, will be cracking jokes at the Comedy Tent. With this much talent and entertainment in one place, the biggest problem to expect at this year’s Bonnaroo is the sometimes-awful task of having to choose what to do. For more info, visit bonnaroo.com