‘Roo Gets In The Groove
Artists included Alison Krauss & Union Station, The Mars Volta, Modest Mouse, Joss Stone, John Prine, Jurassic 5, Herbie Hancock and Iron & Wine – none of which fall anywhere near the category of jam. The lineup was just fine with co-promoter Ashley Capps of A.C. Entertainment, who has always bristled at the “jam band” label.
“We’ve always resisted being so easily pigeonholed,” Capps told Pollstar. “Part of our vision behind the Bonnaroo Music Festival was to really be open to all kinds of music as long as it was great music. If there’s a thread that could connect all of the Bonnaroo artists, it’s simply that they’re known for giving great live performances.”
Still, Capps said there is still a jam-band component to the fest, although he’s uncertain how to define it.
“In many ways, Mars Volta is the ultimate jam band,” he said.
Early attendance figures were down from last year, when a capacity crowd of 90,000 made it to the 700-acre Bonnaroo Manchester Farm. Capps said there had been internal discussions to lower the capacity for this year.
“We were delighted to have 76,000 to 77,000 people. Those are great numbers and we’ll continue to analyze Bonnaroo to see if we want to reduce capacity, give people more elbow room and develop other aspects of the festival.”
This year, organizers added Radio Bonnaroo, using the 5,000-watt, 101.5-FM station in Manchester.
“It turned people on to new music and gave some previews to lesser-known artists, but it also gave us the ability to communicate with the fans and to let them know about various things as they entered the festival grounds and while they were there and as they left,” Capps said.
Also, the campsites included a dozen “pods,” where staffers helped answer questions about the festival and contacted medical personnel when necessary. Student artists actively built sculptures inside each of the pods as the June 9-12 event progressed. Also, sculptor Christopher Janney created an on-campus site called The Sonic Forest; festival-goers walking through it triggered sounds and lights as they moved.
On a somber note, one camper, David Ottman, was found dead at a campsite the morning of June 11th. Cause of death was not determined at press time, but Ottman’s family said he suffered from sleep apnea. Two festival-goers died last year from drug overdoses.