Bonna-who? Bonnaroo! Recap of the 2019 Festival
This year, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival blessed close to 80,000 people with amazing music and great vibes. For four magical days, Bonnaroovians danced, wiggled, and giggled their hearts out over the 200+ acre farm. This year, amazing artists from all genres graced the stages of Great Stage Park in to bring together an experience like no other for Bonnaroo 2019.
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The Bonnaroo 2019 Experience
Every year, Bonnaroo turns the grounds in Manchester, Tennessee into a totally immersive experience for the attendees. From huge plazas spread throughout the campgrounds that cater to specific curated events, to barns, tents or pop-ups within Centeroo, there was something for everyone.
In the Plazas, there were new and returning experiences. Each plaza throughout the festival grounds were focused on their own individual experiences. Some of them were all day interactive experiences, others were focused on the music and late night sets. There were even special portions of plazas dedicated to daily yoga classes.
- Plaza 3: Coming back to the Farm for another year was The House of Yes and Little Cinema. This year, the events were bigger and better than ever, including bringing the first ever Bonnaroo Pride Parade to the Farm.
- Plaza 7: The traditional Grove for hammocking was still there with a new stage addition and art installations. However, over near Plaza 2 Bonnaroo created a bigger and better version of the Grove known as the Where in the Woods Stage. There were several late night sets that graced this stage over the weekend, including Mick, E-V and CID.
- Plaza 9: Bayou Libre put together by New Orleans entertainment collective FREEWATER also was a force to be rockened with. This totally emersive experience gave shade during the days and blew minds with secret sets at night including Whipped Cream and Ducky.
Within the main music venue there were the usual landmarks, The What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent, The Other, and the Who Stage. As well, the Silent Disco was grooving every night all night. Aside from the stages, this year’s mushroom design was beautiful, bringing together the colors and designs of this years lineup poster. Aside from the stages, there were also tons of vendors selling jewelry, trinkets, clothings, and hammocks. Cannot forget to mention that there is a huge Ferris Wheel that is practically an icon of the grounds that everyone should ride once. Centeroo officially opening on Thursday at noon, celebrated by a huge brass band that travels throughout the grounds.
For the Foodies
In addition to the music, there were hundreds of food and retail vendors throughout the festival and campground plazas of Bonnaroo 2019. The food options were incredible and ranged from Asian noodle dishes to pulled pork mac and cheese to vegan options to massive New York-style pizza slices to fried cheesesteak dumplings; there was truly something for everyone. Retail vendors varied from hippie and earthy to full-on rave outfitters and everything in between. The number of options made for a very interesting shopping experience and a chance to bring home something really special.
Many festival goers felt that this year’s Bonnaroo lineup was taking the festival back to its more authentic roots, boasting more diversity in terms of genres. This year, the festival brought in huge names like Phish, Brandi Carlile, Odesza, ILLENIUM, Grand Ole Oprey and Childish Gambino.
Being the dedicated EDM lovers that we are, The Other stage was a frequent location over the duration of the weekend. This stage is notably considered the EDM stage at Bonnaroo and where most attendees also flocked over the duration of the weekend. On day one, this stage went off. Opening the night was Dorfex Bros, followed by an unforgettable set by Hekler. Although Hekler was a common artists to grace the sound system in my car, this live set was breath taking. Not only did he play original songs, but he also played remixes of oldie songs that brought the crowd to a screaming peak while they sang along.
Taking the night to the next level were heavy hitting artists Eprom and 12 Planet. This was my fourth time seeing Eprom in the past year, but this set was something special. Not only did he play some new songs for the crowd, but he brought out his top hitting songs like Grenade and 9 to Ya Dome. Closing down the stage was the epic B3B with Space Jesus, Shlump and Eprom. This was an epic B3B that not only had the crowd screaming along with lyrics, but it had them breaking necks to their amazing heavy mixes.
As for the day one late night sets, Huxley Anne and Space Jesus B2B Freddy Todd took us all to the early morning 6:00 AM mark. This set could be considered the release party for Freddy Todds The Chrondor Era Mixtape EP.
For Thursday, things could be considered as going ‘mildly’. Starting off the day, the Avett Brothers were on the main stage. The show was amazing, even being far in the back. After that, things quickly progressed over to The Other to catch some absolute bangers. Jade Cicada was without a doubt one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, he played a heavy set with visuals that were just as hard hitting. Between Jade Cicada and Liquid Stranger, GRiZ’s set was live and grooving. Not only were there a couple special guests, but of course he broke out the sax and rocked everyones world.
Liquid Strangers set was a lively as always. After catching him while touring with Excision last year, this was a highly anticipated set. He brought the crowd to their toes, moving through several different genres of EDM, all while giving everyone what they wanted: bass.
Playing into the late night was none other than Ducky. She had played her new visuals set at The Other earlier in the day and ended up playing in Plaza 9 for the late night set. Plaza 9 was the Bayou Libre curated event by FREEWATER.
This was the running day. With so many artists, spread out over so many stages, getting to them all proved a task of itself. The Other stage popped off early that day with our girl, Whipped Cream. After seeing her for the fourth time this year, it’s safe to say that her sets continue to get better every single time. After she blasted the crowd, it was time to get ready for Odesza.
Odesza was going to be set up at the main stage and it was a highly anticipated act for Bonnaroo 2019. Safe to say, it was crowded. After camping out for about an hour, the show started and it was mind blowing. Their production level was outstanding. If this show is one that has not been on the list to see, it is highly recommended that changes. The Moments Apart Tour is going on its farewell tour next month.
After Odesza it was time to follow the hoards of people back out into the main venue. Space Jesus played his second set of the festival on day three and it was just as good as the first one. However, this set was cut short by the desire to catch Post Malone, back on the main stage. The Post Malone show was actually quite good and entertaining.
Closing down the night, The Other stage did not disappoint. Gramatik played the most amazing set. Although a surprise appearance from GRiZ did not happen, he did play some Grizmatik and boy, was the crowd happy. Following up to Gramatik was Zhu. This was another must see artist on the list for Bonnaroo, however, the set was not what was expected. He played more of his newer songs versus his older songs. But he also sang a good part of the set completely live, which was amazing.
This was the last day of Bonnaroo 2019 and by looking at everyone in the crowd, it was evident. Most people were tending more towards sitting and watching versus standing and dancing. Of course, there were the usual last day, go as hard as possible people, but most of the crowd was more mellow.
The final day closed out Bonnaroo 2019 with bangers such as Cardi B, Lil Dicky and Walk the Moon. However, in true form, The Other stage is where the majority of time was spent. AC Slater started the day bringing in some energetic house vibes that would slay anyone’s soul. Following up AC Slater was G Jones. His iconic black and white set was back in action, but with some new twists and additions that were a great surprise.
ILLENIUM closed down The Other with a beautiful set. He is an artist that continues to bring the heat no matter what set he plays, and it is clear that his fans adore him. Before the set there was an “Illenial” meet up and during the entire show it was easy to hear the crowd screaming lyrics over the music.
The Road Home
Bonnaroo 2019 was something truly special and magical to experience for music fans. The positivity and kindness exhibited by those attending the festival made for an unforgettable year. Attendees set aside their differences and came together for music. As Childish Gambino said in his Friday night show,
“Put your phones down and enjoy the motherfuckin’ moment”.Childish Gambino
Everyone was definitely living in the moment this year and will be certainly ready to return to the farm next year’s edition of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.