This year’s sold-out Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has come to a close. Despite the large crowds and missing arch (is anybody a fan of the “squarch” anyways?), it was my favorite Bonnaroo yet.
By now I’ve almost assimilated back into the real world, where there are significantly less high fives. If you’ve still got the bonna-blues and are lookin’ for a cure, reflect on my favorites from the four-day fest.
Best Artist on the Rise: Peach Pit
With vocalist/guitarist Neil Smith crowd-surfing minutes into their set, Peach Pit kicked off Bonnaroo the right way. The band’s set included some new music to watch for. A stand-out song called “Psychics in L.A.” had the crowd seriously grooving. They delivered an epic closeout with a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Mark my words: Peach Pit are the ones to watch.
Best New Discovery: Donna Missal
I won’t lie – I stumbled upon Donna Missal while waiting in line for tacos. I was definitely just in the right place at the right time, but that’s the magic of Bonnaroo. You never know who/what you’re going to come across on The Farm. The grit in Missal’s voice (and seemingly limitless vocal range) gave me chills from a field away. Please give her a listen – you’ll understand why I ditched the tacos.
Best Performance: Childish Gambino
Hands-down, this was one of the best sets at the four-day fest. There is no doubt Childish Gambino, A.K.A Donald Glover, had a vision for his Bonnaroo performance. Quickly into his set he made clear that it was a special night. “Tonight is church,” he said. We all felt it. Glover came fully-equipped with a live band and a choir that followed his musical lead flawlessly. Beyond that, Glover knows how to captivate an audience. He started his set inside the crowd, and continually hopped off the stage to re-engage throughout his set.
A sermon, indeed.
Best Energy: BROCKHAMPTON
One of my favorite groups on and off the lineup, BROCKHAMPTON delivered an unforgettable performance. After opening with their song “New Orleans,” it became clear their crowd would be the most dynamic. It was undoubtedly symbiotic; the crazier the group went on stage, the more animated the crowd became. They closed out the set with their hit “Boogie,” and the crowd was so lively, even I had to jump on my friend’s shoulders to rap the last verse.
Most Amusing: The Lonely Island
Outside of Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, this was The Lonely Island’s first-ever festival performance. They were much more theatrical than anticipated, incorporating skits, digital shorts, and puppets into their hour-long set. The group even had a surprise guest appearance by Chris Parnell for a performance of their song “Lazy Sunday.” The Lonely Island brought the jams, and you better believe they brought the laughs.