Most people celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving, or even Halloween. Running around feverishly collecting gifts, candies, and decorations to celebrate the festivities. We at Dead Audio celebrate those holidays as well, but none is anticipated moreso than.. The Second Weekend in June. This glorious time marks the arrival of the Music and Arts festival, Bonnaroo. The night before is restless; Weeks in advance we scrounge together any and everything to prepare ourselves appropriately; And every day of the year The Farm crosses our minds multiple times. For us, as for so many others, Bonnaroo is the must-attend festival annually. It constantly attracts major national and international acts, and a strong comedy lineup to boot. Personally I have attended seven times, making 2016 my eighth. With stellar lineups and good vibes (the fest even has it’s own code that includes the advice of Radiating Positivity to enhance your festival experience) Bonnaroo attracts upward of 100,000 attendees over the four-day period.
Manchester, Tennessee, in Coffee County 61 miles southeast of Nashville, is transformed to a community of ten times it’s population. A study in 2005 calculated that the festival generates $14 million in local business revenue annually. Roo’s 2014 Census showed that twenty-five percent of census participants visited Tennessee for their first time for the fest. Also, 35% had voted in the most recent election, 54% believed in astrology, and an overwhelming 21% had fallen in love at Roo.
Creole for “A really good time”, or more specifically “The best in the streets”; Bonnaroo attempts to embody some of the Mardi Gras mentality that co-founders Kerry Black, Jonathon Mayers, and Rick Farman encountered while attending Tulane University and doing booking for Tipitina’s in New Orleans.
Formed in 2002, this year marks the 15th anniversary of Bonnaroo.
Since it’s inception, Superfly Productions (consisting of the aforementioned Black/Mayers/Farman + Richard Goodstone) along with Ashley Capps’ AC Entertainment have controlled the festival. However, in April 2015 Live Nation purchased the controlling stake from Superfly and AC. Now, 2016, will mark Roo’s first year where the lineup is in the hands of the world’s largest music promoter.
For us, the listeners, that means the possibility of practically any and all artists performing this year. Previous attendees, have no fear. The Founding Fathers of Roo have spoken and said that the partnership with Live Nation simply means access to greater resources and improvements to the festival’s site. We are confident that the founders have struck a deal that leaves them in control of the things most important to the Bonnaroo Community. This could mean anything from better restroom facilities to less sound bleeding between stages.
Regardless, we have learned over the years that Bonnaroo is about much more than the sum of it’s lineup or the commercial sponsors it attracts. It is about the sense of a community that rises up from the Tennessee dirt for four days. It’s spending time with like-minded peace-loving individuals, talking politics without getting into a heated debate, staring up at the stars together, and possibly meeting the love of your life that keeps us coming back for more. In my first couple of years of attendance I walked away exhausted, not knowing if I would return the following June. Now, however, I know that is a ridiculous thought. As long as Bonnaroo maintains it’s magical spirit, I hope that I am able to be there with my 100,000 friends.