Every year, over 90,000 music fans of all walks of life flock to the small town of Manchester, Tenn., about 60 miles southeast of Nashville, for the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival. Though festivals seem to be sprouting up left and right nowadays, Bonnaroo, now in its 13th year, has remained not only one of the most popular, but also one of the most diverse.
The fest has piqued our interest in recent years with its inclusion of AP favorites like fun., twenty | one | pilots, Frank Turner, Bad Brains, Danzig, NOFX, Henry Rollins, Portugal. The Man, White Lung, and countless more. This year proved no different, with a lineup that boasted Jack White, The Flaming Lips, Mastodon, Meshuggah, Kevin Devine, The Bouncing Souls, City And Colour, CHVRCHES, Skrillex, Animals As Leaders, Cloud Nothings, Vampire Weekend, Diarrhea Planet, Phoenix, The Naked And Famous, The Bots, Skinny Lister, and Speedy Ortiz, among others.
We headed to Manchester to soak it all in, and brought back a gallery of photos of some of our favorite performances, as well as a series of APTV video interviews. Below, you'll find a quick day by day breakdown.
Cloud Nothings. Photo by Mary-Beth Blankenship.
Bonnaroo's opening night is always a bit slow; people are still flocking in, and the two biggest stages are not yet up and running. This provides a unique opportunity to showcase smaller acts in headlining slots, however, and Thursday performers Cloud Nothings, Banks, Cherub, and Ty Segall pulled massive and enthusiastic crowds.
Amidst all of the first day madness, we had a chance to catch up with Bully, a promising new act from nearby Nashville, who had the distinction of being the very first band to perform at this year's fest.
Skinny Lister. Photo by Mary-Beth Blankenship.
By Friday, Bonnaroo was in full swing. The afternoon consisted of stellar sets from performers like Skinny Lister, The Naked And Famous, The Orwells, and Empires, while some of our favorites such as Neutral Milk Hotel, CHVRCHES, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Speedy Ortiz and Animals As Leaders filled the evening with fantastic tunes. The highlight of Friday, perhaps, was the late night roster; a post-headliner tradition that has grown tremendously over the past few seasons. Though Skrillex, Diarrhea Planet, and Die Antwood wowed us, it was the unstoppable metal block of Deafheaven, Mastodon, and Meshuggah, which stood out as one of the weekend's best moments.
We spent the day chatting with some of our favorite acts for a lightning round of our weekend Q&A.