Bonnaroo celebrates its 10th Anniversary this weekend and over the course of a decade, the fest has gone from hippie-outpost in the Southeast to one of the premiere summer destinations for all kinds of music fans. Here’s our five moments of the last ten years that solidify the Tennessee mudstop as a genuine place for diverse arts and creativity.
1. Patti Smith Group Brings the Punk (2004)
Where’s the twang? Even in the early days, festival organizers sought to branch out beyond southern rock offshoots. Here, punk icon Patti Smith delivers a beautiful version of “Trampin” and a rocking “Jubilee.”
[Watch them perform “Trani” here.]
Bonnaroo’s known to pair up myriad artists under the guise of a “superjam”; this combo of John Paul Jones, Harper and Quest got a mini-Zep set going. It was a spaced-out funkathon — both soulful and bluesy — that left folks scratching their heads for all the right reasons.
3. Metallica Headlines Bonnaroo (2008)
The illustrious metal band locked in a headlining slot at the 2008 incarnation, prompting outrage from diehard Bonnaroo fans (and even urged Esquire to pen an article titled Five Reasons Why Metallica Will Doom Bonnaroo Forever). But what this two-and-a-half hour set really did was fully implement the policy of musical diversity for which the fest strives.
[Watch “Creeping Death” here.]
4. Bruce Springsteen Channels Santa (2009)
Most Bonnaroo headliners prefer to jet in and out of the festival site. But not the Boss. Springsteen showed up on the side of the stage for nearly every performance the entire weekend of 2009 — including those of MGMT and Band of Horses — and even reinvented the season by treating the crowd to his rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
[Watch “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” here.]
5. Jay-Z Headlines (2010)
Jay-Z’s 2010 headlining set made clear that hip-hop in Manchester isn’t just the Beastie Boys. Check out this performance of “Beware of the Boys,” a funky fusion of rap and middle eastern music that further solidified Bonnaroo’s diversity ethos.
[Watch “Beware of the Boys” here.]