Bonnaroo 2019 Day Three: Jim James, Post Malone, Kacey Musgraves, Leaving Centeroo

Post Malone

Disco Inferno: Post Malone performs on What Stage during the 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 15, 2019 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival )

Posty Notes:
Post Malone, one of the biggest pop stars on the planet and one of ‘Roo 2019’s major headliners, may have had one of the most massive crowds of the weekend with his Saturday at 11:00 p.m. set at the What stage. With big pyro and a call to “Let’s get fucking weird!” —it was one grand sing-and-rap-along set to his stew of angsty, pathos-filled amalgam of rap, metal, pop and even a solo acoustic ballad (“Stay”). How his young fans got the exact tongue twisting phrasings on “Psycho,” “Candy Paint,” “I Fall Apart,” “White Iverson,” “Go Flex” and so many others is testament to their devotion. 

We ran into his agent, the wonderful Cheryl Paglierani of UTA, at 2:00 a.m. at the shuttle depot. She was in good spirits after Postie’s “great” show and remarked on how kind and down to earth he’s remained throughout Malone’s stratospheric success over the last two years.  As for the fireworks, fire jets and smoke pots which encircled him (and included a pre-set “Notice: This Set will feature a loud bang sound that might be startling to some patrons”), that seemed to put Posty in harm’s way which Paglierani assured us he was well prepared for.

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves at Bonnaroo’s Which Stage. (Photo Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo)
Golden Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves demonstrated transcendence over labels, tags and genres as twilight melted over Which Stage. Like Solange the night before, Musgraves exuded love, smeared styles (who would think dreamy quiet country + Daft Punk dance?) and a strong fashion forward sense. Having won the Album of the Year Grammy, the dark haired Texan showed she not only appealed to fans of all music, but she created a world of positivity where macho guys, young girls, artistic types and regular folks all congregate and feel welcomed. No wonder the band were clad in pride rainbow sweat bands in solidarity with the day’s pride parade. Though she easily could have played the What stage, the smaller Which stage felt like an underplay for the cross-over superstar.


The Grove at Plaza 7 in the campgrounds where campers can chillout in a hamock with warm abmient sounds and a light show.

Leave Centeroo NOW
While Bonnaroo for the music fan is very much in Centeroo, the enormous 100-acre fest footprint where all the primary stages, food, commerce and so much more resides and that take days to get your bearings and internal GPS attuned to, don’t sleep on the campgrounds, which may be three or so times bigger. We got dropped off by a golf cart at Plaza 7 by the Grove and napped in a forest of hammocks with live ambient music and fanciful sculptures and lighting design and ate arepas; then went thrift store shopping at 4 a.m., heard a jam session and danced at House of Yes at Plaza 3 while a glorious sunrise lit our way back to the Centeroo.

Industry Buzz: 

The legendary Heart are reportedly currently in rehearsals in preparation for a national tour.  The rock fest Exit 111 that will be held here in Manchester Oct 11-13 with headliners Lynryd Skynyrd, Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses is selling briskly. Childish Gambino launched a sponsorship with Adidas at Bonnaroo that  apparently was available at the merch table.

John Prine

John Prine performs onstage at That Tent during the 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 15, 2019 (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo)

He’s The Greatest Dancer
Enjoying an incredible renaissance in the wake of The Tree of Forgiveness, Americana legend John Prine’s exuberance overflowed into a happy dance during the musical build at the end of “Lake Marie,” a propulsive track from 1995’s Lost Dogs &  Mixed Blessings. A little bit buck dancing, a touch of Sammy Davis, Jr. tap and a whole lot of freestyle joy, Prine’s rapid footwork was perhaps closest to Snoopy’s happy dance in human form. John Prine’s success has been a family affair, so when the man, who was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame on Thursday, returned to the stage for a rare ‘roo encore, he brought up his wife Fiona Whelan Prine and youngest son Tommy for a rousing. “Paradise.” The environmental classic inspired by family visits to his maternal grandparents in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky was a full circle moment for the present and future Prines.

Brandi Carlile, MVP
Though Carlile didn’t play until Sunday, the gorgeous-voiced songwriter made the most of Saturday. Joining Hozier to trade verses on “Work Song,” the multiple Grammy-winner beamed as she rode the Irish songwriter’s melody – clearly enjoying the moment – on the What Stage. Demonstrating the commonality of life soul, they were a seamless fit. Two hours later, Carlile walked out onstage with John Prine to reprise the harmony vocals she’d provided on his poignant “Summer’s End” from The Tree of Forgiveness. The sad song with the yearning chorus “Come on home” shimmered with silken texture of Carlile’s voice tangled with Prine’s more time-graveled baritone.

Jim James

Jim James, who has a few dates this year with My Morning Jacket, including two Red Rocks shows, performing at This Tent on June 15, 2019 (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo.
Jim James Is All That And Then some

From his early-morning press panel righteously calling for non-partisan peace love and respect to his soul-melting 8:15 set at the This Tent stage with his band for an 8:15, there may be no more vital a rock artist performing today than James. Here James channeled Crazy Horse’s searing rock form and Dylan’s vox circa Nashville Skyline for something utterly singular and spectacular. Elongating the word “Spirit” on “Here in Spirit” so that it became a soul-crushing mantra; or the goose bumps raised on the repeated “love” during “I’m Amazed”; and “State of the Art (AEIOU)” sing-a-long were just a few of the transcendent moments. And dedicating a song to John Prine who he wished he didn’t have to play at the same time as (one of Bonnaroo’s few missteps) showed his class and grace. 
Media Center
In a world of cramped, thrown together press rooms, Bonnaroo has pitched a tent, installed decent Wifi, provided cold water and nice couches near the nerve center of the festival. Surrounded by SiriusXM’s on-site studios, as well as several local radio stations, it is a place to converge and confer, as well as walk into Big Hassle’s hassle-less Media Trailer to get questions answered, request transport or meet the photo escorts to be walked to the various shows. While not all the artists make their way to the Media Center, Ken Weinstein has enlisted Austin’s Andy Langer for a series of “press conferences,” which attract the likes of Jim James, Shovels + Rope to address myriad topics, and the occasional “One on One,” like yesterday’s session with Hozier. As a way to pick up artist secondaries, the vibe is easy and intelligent – and the artists come in the spirit of the festival.
Lonely Island

Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg of The Lonely Island perform on Which Stage. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival )

Roo In A Box
Leave it to the Lonely Island to bring stoopid to the Roo. Whether reprising their greatest tv moments – including a Trifecta mash-up of the Justin Timberlake/Andy Samberg teen idol spoofs that included kabuki puppets for Timberlake (and Lady Gaga on “Threeway”), leaning into Turtleneck & Chain and Incredibad or the feature length movie spoof “Pop Star,” Akiva Schaffer, Samberg and Jorma Taccone played it over the top as the nerd/Caucasian hip-hop appropriaters who’re all brio and no clue.
 The crowd know all the words for the 1 a.m. set. They reveled with abandon for the onscreen cameos from Kendrick Lamar (“Yolo”), Michael Bolton (“Captain Jack Sparrow”) and Nicki Minaj (“The Creep”), as well as an in-person walk-in from Chris Parnell, who echoed the Island’s invitation for “anyone who wants to have sex with me, I’ll be at the Ice Machines in Plaza Two. Bad bitchess only. Thank you, and God Bless.”

Shovels + Rope

Equal parts John Doe and Exene Cervenka and Johnny Cash and Carter, Shovels & Rope are a punk/Americana crash-up who always finds a way to jump the tracks and come out flying. “C’mon Utah,” a classic slice of story-telling from. Their latest, chugged hard as the crowd underThat Tent barked along.

Body Positivity
In a world of Madison Avenue-brokered beauty insecurity, eating disorders and fat shaming, it was glorious to see everyone letting it all hang out. Big girls wore bootie shorts, teeny tops and body paint with the same life-affirming joy and pride as the size double zeroes. It’s all about creative expression and being happy in your skin, and the Bonnaroovies are doing just that.

Flag of the Day: