What is happening in our world? Who is doing what? what is going on now? These are questions that will be answered. Enjoy.
Bonnaroo 2019 Review – Best Highlights From Bonnaroo 2019 With Phish, Brandi Carlile, and More
The 19th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival took place this weekend in Manchester, Tennessee and it featured a delightfully weird roster of jam bands, pop acts, dance music, country stars, and more. In the last few years—as EDM began to take over, headliners began to look eerily similar to the other marquee events’ bills, and programming actually became more sparse—the event struggled with ticket sales and, as some claimed, an identity crisis.
But with Phish, Post Malone, Childish Gambino, Cardi B, the Lumineers, and Kacey Musgraves all near the top of the poster in 2019, it marked a welcome return(-ish) to form for the event—and encouraged a sold-out crowd of 80,000 to make their way to the Farm.
From Brandi Carlile’s shredfest to Kacey Musgraves’ psychedelic experiment to an entirely new woodsy trip-land, here are the best things we saw.
Brandi Carlile rocks out Sunday afternoon at Bonnaroo.
Gary MillerGetty Images
Brandi Carlile Calls for Progress
Brandi Carlile wasn’t hard to find this year at Bonnaroo. She was slated to perform on Sunday afternoon, but the crowd was treated to surprise appearances a day prior when she popped up on Hozier’s stage as well as John Prine’s. “I stayed up too late last night,” she told her main stage crowd on the final (and hottest) day of the event. “I woke up feeling a little bit delicate. And I aim to soothe your tired heart today.” She did that with an impassioned performance—which featured an appearance from Tanya Tucker, whose forthcoming record Carlile produced—but also with a message to the crowd. Bonnaroo 2019 hosted its first Pride Parade this year, and Carlile marked the occasion near the end of her set. Acknowledging her wife and their children, she said, “I feel that it’s so important to stand here in front of you right now and talk to you about my family, and our right to exist in this country today,” she said. “Progress doesn’t only move in one direction. It can also go backwards, and we must not let it.” The crowd roared.
Kacey Musgraves Covers Flaming Lips
Kacey Musgraves has emerged as a pop music darling since the release of her massively lauded Golden Hour LP, which took home Album of the Year at the 2019 Grammy Awards. But, she’s been a favorite at Bonnaroo for six years. Hosting a sunset performance on the Farm’s second-in-command posting, the Which Stage, she acknowledged the fortuitous timing. “I don’t think that this could get any more beautiful,” she said after opening with “Slow Burn.” “You guys, you look amazing tonight. Welcome to Golden Hour at Golden Hour. I’m not lying at all when I say that Bonnaroo is my absolute favorite place to play. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long.” Her hour-long set focused on new material, but near the end she took on the sounds of another Bonnaroo favorite: the Flaming Lips. She covered “Do You Realize??” flanked by dancers from the day’s earlier Pride Parade and even Lips frontman Wayne Coyne was impressed, posting a clip to his Instagram.
Phish Brings Bonnaroo Back Towards Its Roots
When Bonnaroo began in 2002, it did so as an experimental event with a focus on jam bands. And as it has evolved in recent years, seeing a huge influx of EDM and pop stars on the lineup, it has inspired a variety of reactions, not to mention fluctuating ticket sales. But 2019 saw it welcome Phish back to the main stage for not one, but three sets, as they headlined both Friday and Sunday evening. (They didn’t make as many surprise appearances as one might have been expected, but, to their Instagram audience’s delight, they did make sure they were side-stage when Cardi B performed.) In turn, the Godfathers of Bonnaroo—the nickname comes from the fact that their own festivals provided an early blueprint for Roo organizers—were treated to a sold-out, 80,000-strong sea of fans, which they did not disappoint. The group tore through Phish favorites (“Possum,” “Wilson,” “First Tube”) as well as cuts from the Trey Anastasio Band (“Everything’s Right”) and, of course, from their Scandanavian alter ego, Kasvot Växt.
Maren Morris performs during 2019 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2019 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Maren Morris Calls Out Country Radio
Maren Morris has been touring her Girl LP for months now. That showed when she brought her fine-tuned set to the festival’s main stage Saturday afternoon. She ripped through singalong-inspiring favorites like “80s Mercedes” and “My Church” off her 2016 debut, Hero, as well as danceable new cuts “The Feels” and “The Bones.” She wrapped with “The Middle,” her massive hit with Zedd from last year. But the highlight actually came earlier in the set: before singing “I Could Use a Love Song” she recalled how a radio programmer warned her that the single would flop, because “people don’t want to hear women being sad on the radio.” She released it anyway—and it shot to No.1. “That guy got fired,” she told a rapturous crowd who proceeded to belt every word.
Where In the Woods
The Farm is a whopping 700-acres, but it’s just been in recent years that the event has begun using the areas outside of the formal stages for official activations. Last year they began remote, camp-ground shows, and this year, they launched Where In the Woods in the, you guessed it, woods. Tree house-like stages hosted dance music programming all weekend—all of which was surrounded by trippy art and interactive installations. (One mini cabin was full of neon paint for festival-goers to throw on the surrounding walls—or each other.
SunSquabi Ignites Thursday
Over the years, Thursday night, which goes off without a headliner, has served as an unofficial launching pad for emerging artists. The xx, Alabama Shakes, Portugal. the Man have each earned their stripes with a first-day set, and this year’s standout came in the form of Boulder, Colorado electro-funk experimentalists SunSquabi. Temperatures had dropped down to the low 50s by their 12:45 a.m. show but things got sweaty under the This Tent roof as the dance party took off.
G.O.A.T. SuperJam With GRiZ onstage at This Tent during the 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 14, 2019 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Griz’s SuperJam Honors the G.O.A.T.s
The SuperJam is the most-loved of all the Bonnaroo traditions and this year singer-producer-saxophonist Griz—real name Grant Kwiecinski, who performed his own sunset show earlier on Friday—hosted the late-night party. This year’s theme was G.O.A.T. A Celebration of Music Legends, which was both incredibly fun, as revelers got to dance to new takes on cuts from Beastie Boys (“So What’Cha Want”), Janis Joplin (“Piece Of My Heart”), Prince (“1999”), and Queen (“We Will Rock You,” “Under Pressure,” which famously featured David Bowie). Rapper PROBCAUSE joined for a tribute to Mac Miller while Noah Kahan sang Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” The SuperJam house band also tore through the recently-passed Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time.” Bonnaroo famously got its name from the New Orleans funkmaster’s 1973 Desitively Bonnaroo LP and there was hardly a more fitting tribute to him on these grounds than here.
Electronic duo Odesza ignited the main stage at Bonnaroo’s the Farm this weekend.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagicGetty Images
Odesza Main Stage
It’s hard to imagine a dance act that’s a better fit for Bonnaroo’s main stage than Odesza. The duo’s made up of producers Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, but they’re joined by a tight drumline, a horn section, and on this night, a worrisome amount of pyro, confetti, and fireworks, meaning even the very back row of Great Stage Park had a spectacle before them. Bonnaroo’s slogan is “radiate positivity,” and the group’s ebullient hits, like “Higher Ground” and the Grammy-winning “Say My Name” fit right in.
Post Malone’s Dolly Parton Outfit
Bonnaroo is famous for its collaborations, but the 2019 Saturday night headliner wanted to do it all by himself. Post Malone tackled his 75-minute headlining slot solo Saturday night and appeared nothing short of delighted as he did. “My name is Austin Richard Post, and I’m here to play y’all some music and get fucked up,” he said before launching into “Better Now.” “Thank y’all so much, every single one of y’all, for comin’ out and fucking with me tonight. Let’s get fucking weird!” He’d thank the crowd numerous times between thunderous cuts—“White Iverson,” “Stay,” “Rockstar,” included—but it wasn’t his attitude or his music that earned him a famous new fan. Instead, it was his outfit. Wearing pants and a short-sleeve, he was covered in a print of Dolly Parton’s face, to the icon’s amusement. “Love the outfit from head to toe,” she tweeted on Sunday.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Jams Out
With Gramatik and ZHU performing at the Farm’s defacto EDM-hub, the Other stage, on Saturday night, many of the ravers were occupied. You’d never know it if you happened to find yourself at That Tent where a Joe Russo’s Almost Dead project was jamming. The Further drummer’s band loves to have fun and Saturday was no exception. They twisted “St. Stephen” in all sorts of new ways, inspired a joyous singalong with Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” and ended with “Such a Night,” another tribute to the late Dr. John. It didn’t just rock, it flat out cooked.
Madison Vain is a writer and editor living in New York, covering music, books, TV, and movies; prior to Esquire, she worked at Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated.