Bonnaroo 2010: We Know What You're Missing

by BILLY GRAY · June 10, 2010

    Hey, Bonnaroo 2010 officially kicked off just a half hour ago! Not in the wilds of Manchester, Tennessee at the moment? Neither are we, sadly. But we can still share what we've learned from the festival before the first band has even left the stage.

    You cannot write about a music festival and not mention Woodstock: "Bonnaroo is a cultural phenomenon. It's a real mash-up – part Woodstock, part rock 'n' roll jam, part comedy concert, part film festival and more," said the American Chronicle on June 3rd. In an AP article about Bonnaroo, Jake Coyle starts off with "It's often joked that more people like to claim that they were at Woodstock in 1969 than were actually there." LSU's student paper calls Bonnaroo "an evolution of the Woodstock vision" in a headline.  Finally,  Ben Sisario of the Times describes the conflict of Bonnaroo:

    "To be a cultural touchstone known around the world, yet — unlike Woodstock — to be efficiently run, with smoothly flowing Interstate traffic."

    You'll be able to cut the mushroom cloud of pot smoke in the air when The Flaming Lips play "Dark Side of the Moon" with a gravity bong and serve it as...mushrooms.

    Jay-Z will release a lo-fi indie psychedelic record by the end of the year: The endearing and somewhat unlikely alliance between the Titan of Hip Hop and lily-white indie rock went into high gear last summer when Jay-Z, with Beyonce, checked out the free Grizzly Bear show at the Williamsburg Pool Party. Recently he nodded off to the mellow, minimal beats of XX at Coachella, where he did a set of his own. He's also playing Bonnaroo. Expect an inaccessible noise rock album soon.

    Branding matters, no matter how authentic you want your festival to be: Before Bonnaroo kicked off in 2002, organizers held another festival on the same grounds. They called it Itchycoo Park. It didn't go very well.

    Hippies will shop at Wal-Mart if they're stuck in middle-of-nowhere Tennessee: Sisario notes that earlier this week "pilgrims had begun to arrive in Manchester, with drum circles forming in the Wal-Mart parking lot and teams of dreadlocked, flip-flop-wearing fans taking turns going in the store to stock up on beer." Wal-Mart sells beer? Maybe New York needs one after all. Speaking of our lovely city...

    ...New York will have its moment soon: I once asked why New York couldn't throw a decent music festival. Plans for All Points West III might have gone south. But even though it's smaller than Bonnaroo, which is not necessarily a bad thing, the Northside Festival will bring dozens of today's finest rockers (and movies) to Brooklyn at the end of the month.