Jun 12, 201705:51 PM
The sounds that move the Crescent City
Bonnaroo 2017 Day 4
Last Day on Rocky Top
all photos by mike griffith
The last day of Bonnaroo is always bittersweet. The Farm rises from its late night shenanigans with only a few precious hours between the assembled company and the encroachment of the real world. Already signs have begun to creep in. Camps are coming down in preparation for the Sunday night sprint to a nearby hotel, bootleg vendors have lowered their prices in fear of being left with wares to haul home and the mood has turned into a sort of joyous afterglow. Seems like every year we have some of the best conversations about Bonnaroo with other folks we meet at the lodge up the road in Monteagle where we have collapsed on Sunday night for years. Everyone wants to hold on to a piece of what they have just experienced. Even the festival itself turns a bit maudlin on its last day. For the past four years The Bluegrass Situation has programmed a full day of bluegrass in That Tent, which culminates in the Bluegrass Superjam (an event that has rapidly become my favorite Bonnaroo tradition next to Amish donuts and grilled cheese). There is something about Sunday afternoon sing-a-longs that just work. Everyone is a little tired, everyone is thinking about the collective experience they've just had and then Bobby Osborn shows up to lead a round of "Rocky Top". These are the moments that make Bonnaroo special. The festival organizers listen to the attendees and program experiences that matter, that they can carry with them on the journey home.
This year the final day saw an amazing collection of bluegrass, country and Americana performers including Greensky Bluegrass, Margo Price, Baskery, River Whyless and Mandolin Orange. While I have seen many of these acts before, it was my first time to catch the Swedish sisters of Baskery live and they were simply amazing. It's fantastic to hear the traditions of American music read through the European perspective. There is a blending of folk and pop here that veers away from the worst impulses of modern country music in unique and interesting ways. In addition to the great Americana, I have to tip my hat to whomever decided to schedule Milky Chance in the What Stage field at sunset. This was one of the most enjoyable sets I have seen at Roo both in terms of content and situation. As the heat finally passed, the rolling rhythms of the band poured out over a field of folks that were collected for one of the last times. It felt like an afternoon at the beach.
There is so much to Bonnaroo that it is hard to catch it all in one place or from only one perspective. Keep an eye on this spot as I'll have a full report on the festival and especially the emerging acts we saw there soon.