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Festival Review: CoS at Bonnaroo 2012

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bonnaroo 2012 logo Festival Review: CoS at Bonnaroo 2012

Another year, another Bonnaroo: one long, grueling weekend, filled with lines to write home about, clouds of dust, and the hottest weather you can imagine. That’s how it goes every year, right? Actually, this year broke the cycle — and in many ways. Gone were the impossibly long entrance lines of old. This time around, you could get to Manchester on Thursday morning and be inside the gates to set up camp within a half an hour. (The longest wait I personally heard of this year was only three hours, a time that used to be on the low end of the spectrum.) There was also a noticeable lack of dust; while the stuff is impossible to fully eliminate, Bonnaroo staff seemingly took extra measures this year to suppress it. And, in a bit of luck, the intolerable heat took an extended vacay, as the temperature never reached 90 degrees, and the highs even dipped into the 70s on Thursday and Sunday.

For their eleventh year, the good folks at Bonnaroo went above and beyond to improve the experience all around. In the attendee handbook, they outlined a few steps they took, which included groundskeeping improvements like installing Bermuda grass in formerly barren areas around the Which and What stages and planting over a hundred indigenous trees throughout the festival grounds. They added four new water stations in Centeroo to accomodate the traffic, and they even added more port-a-johns as well, nearly all of which in Centeroo were shaded to keep temperatures down. What’s more, they also expanded the grounds of Centeroo, pushing the Comedy Tent in a corner that used to be fenced off, offering festivalgoers even more room to breathe.

Even with all the improvements and ideal circumstances for the weekend, it’s still a marathon and not a sprint. It takes a certain brand of person to make it through a whole Bonnaroo weekend, and yet each year a new flock of 80,000 descend upon Manchester for another weekend stuffed to the brim with music, comedy, movies, food, sports, camping and community. This year’s edition was highlighted by the return of Radiohead to The Farm and the return of D’Angelo to the U.S. stage, but there was so much more in between. From Danzig to Skrillex, Kenny Rogers to Danny Brown, and Phish to Feist, this lineup had something for everyone. But all music aside, this year’s iteration of the festival may have just been the best one yet. It wasn’t just another Bonnaroo — it was a new and improved Bonnaroo, and it’s never going back.

-Carson O’Shoney
Senior Staff Writer

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August 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

Dear sachin sir, you
are the unvaluable deposit of india, you have done magic to reach that mile
stone of 100 century


June 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm

You really couldn’t get a better pic of Merrill?!? Radiohead’s photo is sick, though.

Great, comprehensive review and a fun read to boot. Way better than Pitchfork’s whiny blathering, which mentioned none of the positive changes Roo took on this year.

June 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Van Halen Tribue = Worst set I’ve seen in 6 years of going. Someone needs kicked in the nuts for that one.

June 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Art Vs Science was the surprise of the festival for everybody that saw them.

June 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Bonnaroo really needs to invest in video screens for the This, That, and The Other tents.  It is impossible to see unless you get there well before the band starts and Roo is about wandering.  Also, this is 2012…screens aren’t very expensive.    

June 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

Did all of the neon signs on the stages work this year? Last year, they were burnt out in places/letters. Also, did they raise the stages or add video screens to the tents this year. Not being able to see b/c of the low stages seemed to be a common complaint last year.

June 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

All the neon signs worked, Which sign was changed to just a floating “?” above the stage

June 13, 2012 at 4:29 am

To be fair, this was my fourth Bonnaroo, and I still don’t have the stage names down. And I work right next to the main stage (the “WHAAAA? Stage”…?)

June 13, 2012 at 2:03 am

A few things I took away from Bonnaroo:

1. Foster the People had the best set of the weekend IMO

2. Radiohead was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen anywhere. Unless you camped all day, you got stuck in the WAYYYY back (like me)

3. Watching the Double Dream Hands guy do the “Bonnaroo Dance” before Skrillex while a bunch of drugged out bass heads stood around looking confused was one of the funniest things I’ve ever see.

4. Bonnaroo is physically addicting. Like, actually addicting. I’ve been handcuffed to a radiator for 2 days trying to get over my Bonnaroo withdrawls. If you’re wondering what Bonnaroo withdraw is like, watch Alice Cooper’s set from Saturday night.  

5. If you go once, you’ll want to go every year. This is my second time going and I’m already getting money set aside for next year. It is definitely something everyone needs to experience.

June 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm

No Gary Clark Jr. eh? His Sonic Stage set was awesome. 

Civil Flight
June 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

It’s true, they played the What stage.  What an amazing weekend.

June 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Radiohead did not play the Which stage.  You musta been real high.


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