Bonnaroo Music Festival Preview

Author: Jake Walczyk
Bonnaroo is creole for “best on the street”, and on Music Festival Avenue, it makes a strong argument for it. For four days in June, a desolate farm in Manchester, Tennessee turns into a musical utopia. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill music festival. It is a transformative experience for all who witness its magic.

It doesn’t end with the music. It is a culmination of incredible musical artists, endless expressive freedom, and an overall optimistic outlook on life. They preach to “radiate positivity”, and each attendee takes this to heart.

Many consider Bonnaroo to be the best 4 days of their year. Some go even so far to say that it feels like a whole new world on the farm. After camping on the farm for four days constantly surrounded by positivity, creativity, and incredible performances, it makes sense that some think of it as other-worldly.

Though there are simply too many unique features to list, I will briefly discuss the food, activities, and music that make the farm such a special place.

This is not the typical carnival food. The farm goes beyond satisfying any foodie’s needs with unique offerings from innovative food trucks from cities across the country to traditional food stand staples. The “Broo’ers festival” taps craft beers from over 25 different breweries from around the nation. A perfect example of the festival’s integration of art into everything they offer is in Henri the Pig. Henri is a massive, fire-breathing metal pig that cooks various pork products in his belly for the stand “Hamageddon”.



If you ever get tired of listening to the music (which trust me, you won’t), there are always a plethora of activities going on on the farm. To begin with, there is art planted throughout the grounds that can make for a relaxing walk. If you like art but want a little more excitement, be a part of the Bonnaroo parade with unique vehicles and costumes. If you’d like to be a bit more active, you can always join in on a yoga class, 5k run, or a “twerkout”. If not, you can rest in one of the many ENO hammocks on the grounds. There are also stores and pop-up stands around the grounds to get some shopping done for things you can’t find anywhere else!

Bonnaroo boasts over 150 artists on over 10 stages. These are the three I’m most excited for…

Glass Animals
The indie rock band out of Oxford, England is making their second trip to Bonnaroo to promote their latest album How to be a Human Being. Each song on the album follows a different character, but consistently explores the perplexity of life.

This album contains songs with heavy electronic influences and are sure to make the audience get their groove on. Playing at such festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, Lollapalooza, and many more, they are seasoned veterans.

Portugal. The Man
This versatile rock band hails from Wasilla, Alaska. In the town with a population just over 7,000, John Gourley and Zach Carothers met in High School and began to play together.

These days, they are on the brink of releasing their 8th studio album. Their hit “Feel it Still” is climbing the charts at a rapid pace off their album Woodstock, which will be officially released at Bonnaroo this year. It will be an incredible Bonnaroo experience for Portugal. The Man this time around!

The Orwells
This rock band met at the High School next to my own in Elmhurst, IL. These guys made it on David Letterman when kids their age were still in high school. They have opened for such rock icons as Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, and Weezer. Their suburban-angst-filled album Disgraceland is followed by their latest album Terrible Human Beings.

There are passionate rock performers then there are The Orwells. Lead singer Mario Cuomo is notorious for thrusting into the ground on national television, getting into an on-stage fistfight with a sound technician, and getting their show shut down for making their Bonnaroo crowd too rowdy in 2014. What could this show possibly have in store for us?