Bonnaroo is king of modern-day festivals


By Brian F. Johnson

 June 16-18
Manchester, Tenn.

This is the mother load. Bonnaroo, now in its fifth year, has become one of the country’s biggest festivals and each year turns the 700-acre farm in Tennessee into one of the biggest cities in the state. The four-day, multi-stage camping festival brings together some of the best performers in rock and roll, along with dozens of artists in complementary styles such as jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica, and just about any contemporary music you can think of. 

In addition to dozens of epic performances, the festival’s 100-acre entertainment village buzzes around the clock with attractions and activities including a classic arcade, on-site cinema, silent disco, comedy club, theater performers, a beer festival, and a music technology village. For its peaceful vibe, near-flawless logistics, and unrivaled entertainment options, Rolling Stone magazine named this revolutionary entertainment experience one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll. Be careful of the heat and the summer thunderstorms. Come prepared for that and the big crowds if you want to enjoy it.




Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Phil Lesh & Friends


Elvis Costello & the Imposters featuring Allen Toussaint


Bonnie Raitt

Death Cab for Cutie


Bright Eyes

The Neville Brothers

Les Claypool

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

Buddy Guy

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley

Ben Folds

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Dr. John


G. Love & Special Sauce

Cypress Hill


The Streets

Lyrics Born

My Morning Jacket

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder


Sonic Youth

Matt Costa

Steel Pulse

Mike Gordon and Ramble Dove

Cat Power

Medeski Martin & Wood

Nickel Creek



Steve Earle

Blues Traveler

Amadou & Mariam

The Refugee All Stars

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

Umphrey’s McGee

Disco Biscuits

Dresden Dolls

Son Volt

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Jerry Douglas


Rusted Root

Devendra Banhart Band

Donavon Frankenreiter

Mike Doughty


Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

The Magic Numbers

Bill Frisell

Seu Jorge

Bettye LaVette


Shooter Jennings

Rebirth Brass Band


Andrew Bird

Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

Steel Train

Jackie Greene


The Wood Brothers

dios (malos)

Toubab Krewe

The Motet



Balkan Beat Box

The Cat Empire

Tortured Soul

Deadboy & the Elephantmen




(As calculated by from Denver, Co., to Manchester, Tenn.).

Total Est. Time: 18 hours, 16 minutes

Total Est. Distance: 1,220 miles


Along the way: If you’re going to Tennessee, you have to go to Memphis. You just HAVE to. Memphis is about four hours away from Manchester, Tenn., and is home to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. The city bills itself as the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In addition to enough Elvis to fill a lifetime, Memphis is also home to the Gibson Guitar factory, the historic Beale Street, The Delta Blues Museum, The Rock N Soul Museum and the Jack Daniel’s Distillery!


PRICES: $$$$



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