Zydeco Festival and a Bonnaroo Review
This Saturday and Sunday the 12th edition of the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival comes to Armstrong Park. On Saturday you can catch Bruce Daigrepont, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots and the Lost Bayou Ramblers. On Sunday you’ll see Li’l Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers, Corey Ledet, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. There will be great food and tons of local crafts.
Bonnaroo in Review
Every year when festival season rolls around the music press can’t help but enter into a cycle of nostalgia for the festival scene as it was rather than the festival scene as it has evolved. 2017 was Consequence of Sound’s last year covering Bonnaroo, the New York Times gave up Bonnaroo and Coachella in 2016. I think the problem exists more with us as writers than the festivals themselves. Certainly the Livenation era has brought some sameness to the lineups, but the truly great festivals are focusing on experiences beyond names on a poster. It was the combination of Radiohead and Tom Petty that started my love affair with Bonnaroo in 2006. Even growing up with something like Jazz Fest, I was not prepared for the experiences that Bonnaroo would offer and fell hard for The Farm. In the past 12 years the way we think about music has changed. The days the stadium show—the big names—are less common, less appealing. It’s not just that festival are booking similar acts to fill the big font lines; it’s that there are less of these acts and they are less interesting. The mega-act to a certain extent has to be broad in order to pull the large crowd—whereas there are any number of smaller acts that speak passionately to both their fans and those willing to give them a hearing. What Bonnaroo has done remarkably well in the past few years is curate the tents and new music stages with a combination of the wildly popular and the uniquely creative. I’ve never seen bigger crowds at the New Music on Tap and Who Stages than we had this year. Most of the people there weren’t just curious—they knew the words—they were there for these bands. Festivals like music itself are no longer these monolithic experiences—it’s about these minute, fleeting moments of experience. With the addition of the Plazas and the Plaza experiences and themes Roo has done an amazing job of turning the campground into a destination rather than a simple resting space. As writers we just have to remember that just because an experience was formative for us, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change into something that will be formative for others. Yes of course EMINEM setting off “gun shot” pyrotechnics on the What Stage is a joke. There is nothing new or interesting there; but just a few hundred yards away The Regrettes poured in a PAF performance to a Who Stage crowd that reached back to the road. We watched First Aid Kit really come into their own as a festival band—positively wowing the crowd at This Tent. We saw *repeat repeat bring R.LUM.R to the stage for a blistering second half of their already intense set. Zeshan B perfectly blended the Indian funk of his heritage with Chicago soul. Sylvan Esso came back and reasserted their ownership of That Tent. The Grand Ole Opry brought legendary musicians Del McCoury and Bobby Bare out to sing together. Music is happening at The Farm and it’s pretty amazing. It’s not what it was and that is exactly what makes the whole enterprise stronger.
To Do This Week
Tonight Dessa is at One Eyed Jacks and Brother Sundance is at Southport Hall. Tomorrow Guided By Voices are at One Eyed Jacks and Walter “Wolfman” Washington is the Free Friday show at Tips with The Fortifiers. Saturday Feufollet and Jelly Toast play Tips. Sunday Amanda Shires plays Republic. Tuesday The Pixies and Weezer co-headline Champions Square with The Wombats.
To Listen This Week
- Chvrches cover Rihanna’s “Stay” via Youtube
- Stream R+R=Now which features Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin with a whole host of heavies via CoS
- New single and video from The Dirty Projectors via Youtube