The Buzz

Bonnaroo: a musical education

Categories: Live Performance, Music

Beach BoysThe Beach Boys perform at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., on June 10. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

CBC arts journalist and music fest veteran Laura Thompson was at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Follow her reports about the goings-on down in Manchester, Tenn.

Bonnaroo has been a multi-day adventure packed full of music, crowds, dust and dancing.

We went from sweltering heat one day to a rain storm the next, from Foster the People and Ludacris to Big Freedia and Little Dragon, from tacos to soft pretzels to chicken kabobs. I'm so sick of this hoodie I've got on, I may never wear it again. My dirt tan may be permanent.

Bonnaroo stageThe Beach Boys attracted many unsuspecting fans during their Bonnaroo performance. (Laura Thompson/CBC)

Photo ops were had. Whisky lunges were performed. Bonnacles (Bonnaroo + miracles) occurred, like reuniting with a friend lost in the muddy, crushing crowd. I hope to see a "S--t Bonnaroovians Say" channel turn up on YouTube in the coming days.

Some initial sound bite suggestions, overheard at Bonnaroo:

"Let's get wasted!"
"Look at me, I'm a horrible vegetarian."
"My body's gonna hate me on Monday."
"I've laughed a lot this weekend, but I don't remember any of the jokes."

Most of all, Bonnaroo 2012 has been an invaluable musical education.

For instance, here's a lesson: the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still extremely awesome and relevant. Go Flea.

If you're on the fence about electro, allow Skrillex to convince you. No persuasion necessary with Santigold: she's instantly a strong and charming force to be reckoned with.

SantigoldSantigold performs at Bonnaroo on Saturday. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

Bloody props and disturbing costumes still work -- that's if you're the everlasting grandfather of horror-show shock-rock Alice Cooper.

Also: Marcus Monroe - look him up. The Joy Formidable - look them up.

Chances are you know The Beach Boys' entire career catalog, even if you don't think you do. So fun!

Not fun? Ben Folds Five, who should maybe fold it up after an off-key effort.

Meanwhile, the king of knowing when to fold 'em -- Kenny Rogers -- still knows how to hold 'em with his always consistent, still velvety vocals.

Bon Iver put on a thrilling set and captivating hundreds with incredible, shimmering soundscapes on a sleepy Sunday. He's one of the most exciting guys in music.

With that, we packed up and shipped out under overcast Tennessee skies. As the giant Bonnaroo rainbow faded further behind us, in the distance, we voiced our new mantra: "Bonnaroo! There we went!"

Bonnaroo 2012Reuniting with a friend lost in the crushing Bonnaroo crowds was a miracle. (Laura Thompson/CBC)

Tags: art and music, beach boys, bon iver, Bonnaroo Festival, kenny rogers, ludacris, santigold, skrillex

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