The BONNAROO MUSIC FESTIVAL is an absolute trip. Since its inception in the early 2000s, the fest has become one of America’s greatest sweethearts — turning Manchester, Tennessee, into a glittered-out hippie haven that offers its own hit of early summer goodness. Its jam band aesthetic has obviously shifted towards fidget spinners and millennium blasts of pop, rock, and trap but as this year’s edition showed, it is still bent on shuffling through Skull And Roses and showcasing acts that exude star power. On Friday (June 8th) alone, Paramore punked it up in their backyard; Sturgill Simpson ripped through a birthday set; Sheryl Crow bonded with Tumblr kids; and Denzel Curry and Playboi Carti hit em high and gave Merriam-Webster a new definition for the phrase “die lit”.
The highlight of the day however was the Bonnaroo Superjam. My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Callahan led a greatest hits tribute to Tom Petty which resulted in everyone from Cage The Elephant to Vanessa Carlton and Hayley Williams knocking out renditions of “Breakdown”, “Learning To Fly”, and “Into The Great Wide Open”. It was mesmerizing to say the least as seeing Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon do 1981’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” recalled what it was like to dig through your parents’ cassettes and hear songs that made you feel things. Our group is still head over heels for the opener that was, so throw on Damn The Torpedoes and scroll through our live stills below courtesy of photographer Wendy Wei.
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