Another year down makes one for the books. This was my third year spent here in Manchester, Tennessee and probably one of my favorites! I got a total taste of every type of music, weather, friendship and situation a festival had to offer. This year helped define myself in ways unimaginable, and sometimes getting lost in a crowd was exactly what I needed. There were times that I spent with people I’ll never forget and times I spent with myself that was beneficial.  

Now before I get started on the good times spent here at one of my favorite places I call home, I would like to call attention to something very sad that can be anyone’s reality. A very tragic event happened at the four-day fest, and a life was lost at Bonnaroo this year. Paying a tribute to someone I don’t know is very hard but I will go based on what I’ve read: his name was Michael Craddock, a 32-year-old Nashville local passed away in his car Friday morning. His sister Colleen said he loved his family, friends and helping others. Bonnaroo was one of Michael’s favorite festivals to attend and would go every year with his family and friends. “He passed at his favorite festival with some of his favorite people,” Colleen went on “I imagine he probably had the time of his life before his time came.”

As I choke up typing these words I can’t even begin to imagine what his family and friends are going through. From articles I have read, he seems like an outstanding man, and I hope everyone gets through this with some sort of ease. Shortly after Craddock had passed a family friend set up a Facebook page to help raise money to cover funeral expenses and every donation counts. The account remains active and any leftover money will be donated to homeless or youth sports-two causes that are close to Michael’s heart. Here is the link to make a donation: https://www.facebook.com/donate/397935267351067/10155499304923344/

As for the happy times I’ve had at Roo, they almost seemed to be endless. The energy…and the heat were as strong as they ever have been. More so this year than the last, (or so it seems.) I found the vibe to be almost nostalgic like I was a little girl again. I guess places like this tend to have that effect. It all boils down to one thing though, of course, the music. There are no words for the amount feels I felt at so many sets. “What So Not” an Australian DJ absolutely tore up the stage late Saturday night. It was my first time seeing the producer and hopefully not my last.

Another absolute favorite trap/hardstyle artist I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to was Valentino Khan. A very kind and gentlemanly producer and DJ that (luckily) threw down day one; I’m honestly not too sure I would have been able to bring all of that much-needed energy to the table by the end of the fest. This year the one and only Bassnectar had even headlined the 4 day festival and of course didn’t fail to represent the scene; it was my 14th time seeing him and the intensity of it all unmasked what it seems to be an evolutionary change to the way events are ran nowadays. EDM is definitely making a huge impact on festivals such as Bonnaroo which is an all ages event and a family-friendly festival. I saw families, teenagers, infants even, all enjoying different types of genres including electronic, country, alternative, and so much more out there this year. It really warms my heart up to see people of all ages enjoying and experiencing this, and to see so many young faces in the crowd that night.

 

To shine a bit of a spotlight on other music, I must say my inner 16-year-old self had died a little when Paramore walked out on stage into my presence. Her heartfelt sound and older songs (even new) filled me up more than anything I’ve felt in a long time. I must say, she’s still got it. I found myself crying when she played songs like “Ignorance,” and I found myself remembering times that were a little less hard, and a lot more simple. Headliners such as Alt J and Khalid were also something someone that would appreciate a little variety would love to experience.  

Jessie Reyez definitely holds one of the biggest parts of my soul when I think back on Bonnaroo this year, she spoke on dreams, she spoke on reality, she spoke on the “Me Too” movement that is happening to in the world and our scene and that has been happening for a while now guys. Her raw lyrics and truth spoke to me in so many ways, I remember her at one point saying “wake up” and there were chills on my arms, and anger in my heart. She performed a song called “Gatekeeper” and it’s based on an experience she had when she was a bit younger that had a great deal in shaping who she was as an artist. If you haven’t checked her out and would like to listen to something with meaning and soul I highly suggest Jessie Reyez. Last, but certainly not least…the one and only Eminem. He was beyond everything I could have hoped and dreamed for, bringing out guests like Dr. Dre, Skylar Grey, and many more, his performance exceeded expectations. Although some were not a fan of his gunshot sound effects throughout the show, having played a song or two off of every album made him a high candidate for my number one spot.

 

As always, I’m looking forward to returning to my home away from home on the farm. Until next time! I love you Bonnaroo!

Bonnaroo-A New Orleans French Creole slang phrase meaning “best on the streets.”

Photo Credit: AmberLynn Anderson