If you think about it, Bonnaroo—which draws crowds of nearly 100,000 to the festival grounds in Manchester, Tennessee—is the biggest music festival this country’s got if we’re going by classic definitions. South by Southwest has reshaped the record release schedule, promotional model, and music industry at large; Coachella’s turned the southern Californian desert into a musical oasis for some; Outside Lands, Sasquatch and Newport Folk all push the limits of genre expectation when it comes to unimaginable artist pairings and unpredictable moments that speak to fans of every age and demographic. With Bonnaroo, festival patrons are required to put their fandom on the line and push it past the brinks of reason and comfort (those Porta Potties, I’m telling you) as they lose themselves in sound for hours at a time in the middle of a field not unlike the green sprawls of Glastonbury or Bethel, New York. We were there this past weekend (full recap coming soon), and here’s a gallery of some of the people and things that caught our eye.
Words by Hilary Hughes. Photos by James Joiner.