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A Look Back @ Bonnaroo 2016: Part 1

09 Jun 2017

written by Croma


A Look Back @ Bonnaroo 2016: Part 1

Photos and Text by Tim Borland

While Mod Mobilian is busy exploring Bonnaroo 2017, take a look at some of our great coverage from last year’s event. Bonnaroo 2016 turned out to be another world class event for Manchester, Tenn. The constantly improving facilities now feature a few permanent restroom buildings in Centeroo, not to mention various new shower facilities among the campgrounds. These gradual additions help the festival to grow and provide a better experience for attendees.


There were a number of outstanding musicians outside of the headliners on the What and Which stages for discerning listeners to enjoy. Many artists were breakouts from the previous year. One such example is Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats who drew a large crowd to This Tent.

_MG_8193Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

2016 was a very positive year for female musicians as well. Standouts include the always great Grace Potter, who appeared performing tracks off her solo release Midnight. She of course did not disappoint fans, including numerous hits from her main band The Nocturnals.

_MG_8137Grace Potter

Another hot artist, Daughter, performed a warmly received set at That Tent. The bashful U.K. songwriter Elena Tonra blushed as audience members began singing along to the words of her hit song “Youth.” Not believing the size of the crowd, much less their enthusiasm, the performer smiled and laughed as she entertained the eager audience.


Indie audiophiles were able to get their fix with musicians such as Death Cab for Cutie. Songwriter Ben Gibbard looked almost unrecognizable as he performed onstage displaying dramatic weight loss and a new hair cut. The band pleased fans with songs like “You are a Tourist” and “Soul Meets Body.”

_MG_8506Death Cab for Cutie

2016 also marked the return of jamband favs Ween. A large daytime cluster around the Which Stage enjoyed the aural output under the bright Tennessee sun. Sometimes the best act can be enjoyed earlier in the day, for those who attack the day before sundown.


In addition to music, Bonnaroo has a large amount of other attractions for guests. One of the most popular is the Comedy Tent, which draws exceedingly long lines every day as guests pack in to be entertained by comedians from all over the world. A great performer from 2016 was comedy magician Piff the Magic Dragon.

_MG_7988Piff the Magic Dragon

Bonnaroo is not strictly a young person’s event. Like all festivals, there will be a mix of all ages and ethnicities present. This mix of people from varied backgrounds is part of what makes festivals such a fun experience. Several families are getting their children and grandchildren introduced to the concert experience at an early age.


Various odd installations fill Centeroo, the place where all the magic happens. People often explore the Mushroom Fountain, the Broo’ers tent, and the air conditioned movie tent for a break from the hot sun. There are always numerous excellent vendors selling their wares.


Those who skipped out on The Claypool Lennon Delirium missed a truly unique performance. The supergroup consists of Les Claypool from Primus fame and Sean Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon. With such an unexpected combination, no-one knew what to expect.

_MG_8224The Claypool Lennon Delirium

 The band performed an eclectic set to the late night audience with selections such as “Southbound Pachyderm” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The colorful and random stage setup gave fans plenty to look at, while the performers themselves remained cloaked in darkness. Les Claypool thrilled with usual musical prowess on bass guitar.

_MG_8228Les Claypool

Fans at the main stages helped to add color and light to the event. Outside of the glow sticks (which are technically banned but somehow always find their way in) and the fireworks, many also light paper lanterns which float up into the sky during sets. In many ways the audience helps the festival become what its meant to be each year.


People get quite comfortable with each other when put in more challenging situations. Staying cool on a farm in Manchester, Tenn. in the middle of the summer is no easy task, especially in campgrounds established on old cow fields that thus result in little shade. Water misters, swimsuits, sunblock, cold drinks, and good friends can all be welcome aids to surviving the weekend.


Fans did not shy away from main stages either. With headliners such as Pearl Jam, Dead and Co., and LCD Soundsystem, finding a good spot at the What Stage can be a challenge. As everyone is wanting to have a good time, a little politeness can go a long way to navigating a thick crowd of music lovers.


Pearl Jam did not disappoint, performing epic grunge songs such as “Jeremy” and “Even Flow” alongside covers such as “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2.” A benefit of attending one of the largest festivals in the country is the varied musical genres which are represented. Rock, rap, jamband, EDM – Bonnaroo has it all, and more than one could possibly see in a weekend.

_MG_8318Pearl Jam

Mod Mobilian will be bringing more excellent photos and quotes from Bonnaroo 2017 artists. With musicians such as U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cold War Kids, Boyfriend, Cage the Elephant, Sweet Crude, and more, there will be plenty to document. Check back this weekend for A Look Back at Bonnaroo 2016: Part 2, featuring exclusive pit photos of Dead and Co. from last years event.

_MG_8335Pearl Jam


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