Something was very different about Bonnaroo 2019 as opposed to other years. Visible clouds were following festival goers around the concert grounds and campsites. These mists, usually are expected to be smoke billowing from people partaking in certain festival extracurriculars, but no, that was not the case this year. With temperatures dropping just shy of freezing, those clouds were just the result of people’s cold, cold breath. Bonnaroo was colder than it had ever been, gone were the tank tops and short shorts and replaced with hoodies, sweatpants, and layers on layers on layers.
There was definitely a different vibe being felt this year. There was no need to fear heat stroke and the need to constantly hydrate, don’t worry that will come later this weekend. There definitely was an energy that is seldom experienced and that is because Bonnaroo was something it usually never is, comfortable.
The bands that were graced with the chance to play in the first two days absolutely took advantage of the fully charged, elated crowd and they never looked back.
Here are some of the highlights of the first two days of Bonnaroo 2019.
We were a long, long way from Greendale Community College. The path and career of Donald Glover is astounding and he continues to show his brilliance in every different thing he attempts, whether it be acting, writing, singing, or flying the Millenium Falcon.
The evolution of Childish Gambino has been fascinating to watch, from his clever, slightly immature bars on “Freaks and Geeks” to the soulful, gospel aesthetic of “Redbone”. It is incredible to think the same artist is capable of creating and matching the perfect performance tone for both genres of music in a 75 minute set.
Gambino began the show being lifted on a platform behind the pit and in front of the GA fan section. Standing completely motionless and being surrounded by smoke and an ominous background track like the beginning of the latest Jordan Peele film it was clear the bar was about to be set for the rest of the festival.
The highlight of the show was when Gambino took a break to talk to the audience. “Usually at this part of the show, I rate the audience’s energy from 1 to 10. I can’t rate you all, This is the definitely the best crowd we’ve had so far.”
Thank you Gambino, and you are welcome!
Nahko and Medicine for the People
The best thing about going to a festival is the ability to discover so much. Nahko and Medicine for the People will be my greatest discovery from Bonnaroo 2019 guaranteed.
The Portland band, with a wide mix of cultural background created the most positive, energetic and memorable set of Friday day. With an incredible backing band of brass and violin and so much energy, it felt as though Yellowcard was meeting Michael Franti and Dave Mathews Band.
It was impossible to stop moving and smiling.
The Teskey Brothers
All the way from Australia and into the hearts of all the fans in attendance here in Tennessee. The soul, blues, and rhythm, were just the right mix for the mid afternoon set on the second biggest stage on the festival grounds.
The crowd loved every minute, and singer Josh Teskey’s non stop smile made the bands set truly stick out amongst the best of the day.
The Original Bonnaroo’ers Phish played to a massive crowd of their diehards and played over 2 hours of original jams and fan favorites. The Avett Brothers brought their usual high energy and big band sound to rock the crowd and kick off a beautiful Friday night. Thursday saw a Grand Ole Opry Showcase which featured Old Crow Medicine Show playing “Old Town Road.” Griz headlined his very own Superjam paying tribute to Nirvana, Sublime, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle and many more with the help of K. Flay, Nichola Petricca, Hobo Johnson and more. Girl Talk brought the biggest inflatables, the most confetti, and endless amounts of energy and loops to rock the Bonnaroo farm past 3 am.
Saturday brings Day Three and a fresh batch of headliners in Post Malone, Odesza, The Lonely Island, Kacey Musgraves and many, many more.