Tuesday, June 20, 2006
By Beth Forester
Sun Volt- Brad Rice (guitar), Dave Bryson(drums), Jay Farrar (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Duplantis (bass) -- Photo by Beth Forester
"Find strength from the words Of those that went before Take what you need But leave even more" -- Son Volt, "World Waits for You"
Long being a fan of the alternative country movement, I was excited to see that several alt-country acts were included in this year's Bonnaroo line-up. One such act was Sun Volt led by frontman Jay Farrar. Farrar was co-founder with Jeff Tweedy of the alt-country pioneering band Uncle Tupelo. Formed in 1987, the band ultimately broke up in 1994, when Farrar left unexpectedly over what some suggest to be creative differences . Tweedy went on to form the band Wilco, while Farrar founded Son Volt. Let me just say that Farrar lived up to the legacy he's created and did not disappoint this fan. Keep up the inspiration!!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Everyone comes home with stories of Bonnaroo. It might be the story of running into Steve Earle on your way to the cinema. It could be the story about the naked guy seen at the dios (malos) performance; or that person walking around in full costume swallowing fire; or quite simply the odd looking fellow next to you dancing like you've never seen anyone dance before. (Well, maybe Elaine on Seinfeld) Anyway, I have a story of a surreal encounter myself. I was sitting in the press tent minding my own business at a picnic table. I had been breaking my back all day to trying to get to as many events as I could. Suddenly, a group sat down right beside me and threw down a large wrapper of meat on the table. I quickly turned to see what was happening and to my delight I saw Matisyahu and four of his friends sitting right beside of me. For those of you who are not familiar with Matisyahu, he was a former teenage hippie and Phish follower who, in his late teens, re-discovered his Jewish faith and immersed himself fully into the Lubavitch Hasidic lifestyle. Combining the sounds of Bob Marley and Shlomo Carlebach, Matisyahu spreads his messages of faith, unity and peace to fans of reggae, hip-hop, and beatbox alike. So, there he was with his friends drinking, laughing, eating (kosher of course) and smiling. Within minutes a crowd of reporters gathered around and listened to these jovial men laughing, telling stories and re-enacting the events of a most recent food fight. It was all so amusing to see these five orthodox Jewish men dressed in traditional attire (long black coats, hats, white shirts--imagine ZZ Top but Jewish) cracking jokes and making fun of one another. Ultimately, they even got so carried away that one of the men threw a drink in another's face and they all roared with laughter. Shortly thereafter, Matisyahu went on to give a rousing performance in front of approximately 20,000 people at Which Stage. By Beth Forester Matisyahu (center) and friends - photo by Beth Forester
Bon or OO?What most people do not realize is that there are a lot of other events happening at Bonnaroo other than great music. The is a dolby digital air-conditioned 24 hour cinema, a plethora of unique stores in centeroo, a playground, an arcade and the ever popular Yet Another (Comedy) Tent. This tent features the hippest comedians presenting their funniest stand-up acts 12 hours per day. This year the event hosted the comedic talent of Morgan Murphey of Crank Yankers, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel of VH1's Best Week Ever, and Vic Henley author of "Things You Don't Expect Southerners to Say" just to name a few. This year's comedy headliner was Lewis Black whose special "Red White and Screwed" is currently showing on HBO. Black can also been seen regularly on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ranting on about the current state of world affairs. Here is a excerpt from an interview with Lewis Black that appeared in The Bonnaroo Beacon, the event's very own daily newspaper. Writer Taylor Hill asks in the section "Bon or OO"?: The world would be a better place if everyone listened to . . .? The Beatles The one thing nobody knows about me is: That my sperm cures all illnesses. Greatest TV show ever? Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) Name a great book everybody should read. Catch-22 Who is the nicest comedian? Don Steinbrenner If I weren't a comedian I'd be . . . A theatre teacher If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to join you in a sumptuous pre-show meal, who would they be? Lenny Bruce, Mother Teresa - - no, Lenny Bruce, Marilyn Monroe, and George Harrison. At Bonnaroo, I'm looking forward to seeing . . . Saw Robert Randolph-spectacular. Gonna try to catch Bonnie Raitt--there are so many today. Gonna try and catch Blues Traveler and Gomez is gonna be tight. Oh, and Medeski, Martin and Wood. And Phil Lesh and that whole tank of maniacs.
Radiohead in rare form at Bonnaroo
The buzz around the press tent centered around the word from Radiohead as to whether or not we (the press photographers) would be allowed to shoot the night's events. Ultimately, we were given the go ahead with numerous stipulations. In fact, one photographer who wasn't following "the rules" was apprehended by Radiohead personnel and escorted out of the venue with a stern hand. Thom Yorke of Radiohead - photo by Beth Forester The mood for the concert was electric. I spoke to a few fans at the rail who stated they had arrived at the main stage early that morning to secure a spot up front for the night's concert. Without any food all day, they were jumping out of their skin with anticipation as the hour approached for Radiohead's appearance. The photographers in the pit were excited as well. Most of the persons I had met in the press area have spent their lives following concerts, festivals and bands. Since Radiohead makes very few appearances in the states, they were ecstatic at the opportunity to shoot the elusive band. When the band appeared on stage, the crowd of probably 75,000 roared with excitement. It had been three years since their last appearance in the U.S. Even so, on this tour abroad there are only eight scheduled appearances in the U.S., with the Bonnaroo venue being the largest and the only festival played this tour. Radiohead delighted the Bonnaroo fans with its innovative original sound and surprisingly mellow set. The night air was filled with mystical moods and atmospheric sound while thousands of onlookers danced with delight. by Beth Forester
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Bonnaroo VibesSpend a day among the crowd at Bonnaroo and you will hear the word vibe uttered at least one hundred times. There's clean vibes, good vibes, funky vibes, artistic vibes and most importantly music vibes. The music vibes produced in this venue are so vast that it satisfies any type of music fan. The festival hosts more styles of music than most persons could even imagine: blues, funk, alt-country, reggae, Jewish rap, techno, folk, jazz, indie, world, punk, good ole rock-n-roll and let us not forget jam band music. Bonnaroo co-founder Jonathan Mayers said it best when he stated," . . . that's what we want the festival to be-something that doesn't fit into any one box." Well, in my opinion they have succeeded. I'm definitely enjoying all the Bonnaroo vibes!!! by Beth Forester Beck puts forth various vibes with his eclectic set - photo by Beth Forester
My Morning Jacket performs into the wee hours.
You haven't fully experienced Bonnaroo until you stayed up for a late night performance. At the festival, music roars from the tents until the weeeee hours of the morning and fans party until the crack of dawn. It is nothing to go into the venue early and see endless bodies lying asleep simply too tired to trek the two miles back to their campsite. On Friday night, I was eager to attend my first midnight concert. (Yes, I am ashamed to say that I never made it awake last year past 11:30 p.m.) The venue was That Tent; the band was the hard-rockers from Louisville, Kentucky, My Morning Jacket. My Morning Jacket Performs to a late night crowd - photo by Beth Forester The crowd was crazy and the anticipation was phenomenal. When frontman Jim James appeared on stage only lit by the lantern he was holding, the crowd went into rapture. Jim James of My Morning Jacket - photo by Beth ForesterThe band went on to deliver a three-hour set of pristine rock-n-roll. Jim James was an animal on stage, roaring with his chilling and distinct voice. He paced back and forth, delivering guitar riffs with fierce vigor and unrelenting enthusiasm. In short, it was well worth the loss of sleep. Rock on My Morning Jacket!!! by Beth Forester
Friday, June 16, 2006
After a nine-hour drive to Manchester, the small Tennessee town which plays host to Bonnaroo every year, we had to find a place to park our RV for the night. Check in opened at 7 a.m. on Thursday and we wanted to find a place close to entrance so we could get an early start. I remembered that Wal-Mart is RV-friendly and there is one about 300 yards from the check-in area, so that's where we headed. When we pulled into the parking lot, Beth and I were both taken aback by the spectacle: maybe 100 RVs and an estimated 1500-2000 people milling about, playing music, partying, sleeping (some even in tents). After we found a place to park, all we were interested in was checking out the RV's sleeping accommodations -- but our neighbors had other plans. So, after a short night of interrupted sleep, we rose to greet the first day of Bonnaroo. Upon receiving our passes, we proceeded to the campground to get the RV situated. Guest camping is where they put the press who want to stay on site, and so we're in same area where bands and others associated with the Festival in some way. The one good benefit to this is that we are very centrally located to various stages, much better than most of the other campers. Composite of some of the sights from Centeroo - photo by Beth Forester After getting the RV set up, we walked around a bit to get our bearings, heading through the area known as Centeroo. This where you'll find the vendors in an area called the "Bonnaroo Market," "Planet 'Roo" where you can learn about the Bonnaroo "greening initiative" (there's even a solar-powered stage) and the "Sonic Village" which features the Sonic Stage, a small stage for artists to come and play a few songs, answer questions from the audience and sign a few autographs. There is also the AT&T Blue Room where you can mix your own playlist and burn it to CD. This year, there is even a ferris wheel for concertgoers to ride to get a birds eye view of the place. A lot of the vendors were still getting set up, so after a thorough walk through we headed back to camp to try and relax a bit before the evenings shows started at 7 p.m. --- by Pat Dodd
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Introducing: the Special Edition gazz.com Bonnaroo 2006 Blog
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bonna-who? Bonna-what? That's what you might ask yourself after hearing the word for the first time. (The word is from Creole meaning "good times.") Yet as the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival draws near, June 16 to 18, it's time for 80,000 music fans from all over the country to begin their annual pilgrimage to the Tennessee farm which has become home to the quintessential American music festival. With one amazing lineup (see posts below). Follow Huntington band American Minor's Bonnaroo experience, along with other daily events at this major music event, on the Gazz's new special edition Bonnaroo 2006 blog at thegazz.com. Husband and wife team, Beth Forester a professional photographer based in Madison, W.Va., and Pat Dodd owner of Photo Production Services in South Charleston, will keep you in the know about the Bonnaroo scene, with daily articles and photos depicting the sights and sounds from Manchester, Tennessee.