Bonnaroo 2007: PopWatch is on the scene

Police_lFire up the hempmobile, PopWatchers: We’re goin’ to Bonnaroo. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be in my pocket for all four days of the Tennessee-based music festival, formerly the home of every jam band ever, but increasingly a showcase for diverse acts, this year ranging from the neo-soul of Ryan Shaw to the Police reunion tour (pictured). While my Coachella experience is legion, I’ve never attended its eastern counterpart, and I have little idea what to expect outside of muddy hippies and the occasional warning to avoid the brown acid. But I’m psyched, and I will do my best to properly capture the free-wheelin’ vibe of the fest, from its inconveniently-named stages ("This Tent" and "That Tent," etc, oh the har) to what I’m certain will be upwards of 75,000 drum circles.

Stay tuned, won’t you? There will be White Stripes, and Spoon, and the Hold Steady, and Tool, and the String Cheese Incident (couldn’t avoid them forever), and Flaming Lips, and Old Crow Medicine Show, and Flight of the Conchords, and most likely another 200 rapturous words on the Decemberists. I will try and hit bands I’ve missed at the rest of this year’s festivals — at last, Gillian Welch, we shall have our moment in the sun — and do my best to make it all come alive for everyone scoring at home. In return, I ask for nothing more than your occasional attention, and ongoing participation. Please try not to yell at me when I write stupid things because I am sitting in the middle of a field surrounded by noodle dancers. It’s all about peace, love and veggie burritos, man. Or something.

So, who should I see? Anyone got survival tips? And where have I put my batik-print sarong?

addCredit(“The Police: Kevin Mazur/”)

Comments (32 total) Add your comment
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  • T

    See Fiction Plane, they are really awesome. I know they are labeled with the whole “Stings son is in this band,” thing but they are still a rockin live act.

  • Leo

    I’m a first timer too, so no tips, but I’m looking forward to Regina Spektor, Feist, what the White Stripes are wearing, and the Super Jam! I’ll look for you in the silent disco.

  • Lou

    I went last year and it truly was hell on Earth… Be prepared with absolutely no shade and the ‘cool down tents’ did not have water in them. I was so desperate to be cool I sat through Patton Oswalt in the comedy tent. I throw away all of my clothes from the weekend b/c I could not get the Bonnaroo odor out of them. Have fun!

  • Anon

    Oh, see Flight of the Conchords! I’ve only recently discovered their amazingly funny skills. Should be a great show.

  • H.

    Lou- Having suffered through a New Year’s Eve comedy show in SF several years ago hosted by Patton Oswalt, your comment really resounded with me- My God, it has to be REALLY hot and miserable at Bonnaroo.

  • gatey

    Whitney, I went last year, and I had an absolute blast.
    Here is my personal show list (in order of performance)…I can’t believe I can see all these great bands in one weekend!
    Thursday – the National, Rodrigo y Gabriela
    Friday – Cold War Kids, Kings of Leon, the Roots/Lily Allen/the Black Keys (all at the same time), Tool, Superjam (John Paul Jones, Ben Harper, ?love)
    Saturday – Old Crow Medicine Show, Regina Spektor, the Hold Steady, Ben Harper, Franz Ferdinand, the Police, the Flaming Lips
    Sunday – Pete Yorn, Wolfmother, the Decemberists, Wilco, Feist, the White Stripes
    I have to miss Gillian Welch because she is opposite the Kings of Leon, but she puts on a great show (look for her at the Old Crow Medicine Show for a likely guest spot).
    I think you will be pleasantly surprised by Bonnaroo.

  • SWA

    If u can stay up late enuff (3:30AM SAT) check out SASHA
    & DIGWEED. I saw sasha by himself last year and it was the single most impressive set i have ever witnessed and
    i’ve been clubbing for almost 12 years.

  • esbeerod

    Oh please Whittles go see Feist and let me know how great she is so I can get even more psyched (if that’s possible) to see her when she rolls through SF later this month!! Looking forward to once again using your pocket lint as a pillow! :)

  • Scott M.

    I went in 2005 (arguably the best lineup ever: Mars Volta, Secret Machines, Drive-By Truckers, DJ Krush) and two things saved me: a cowboy hat and a tent fan. I don’t know if you’re planning on doing the whole scene (camping on the premises rather than busing to local hotels) but the tent fan (Coleman, $15.99, bring plenty of D batteries) was the envy of my whole camp. And get used to the notion that you won’t get to see every band you want, which is frustrating and forces you to make really hard decisions when your mind is already having trouble because of the brown acid. And it’s also not as hippified as you think… Enjoy it. I sure as hell did.

  • mo

    You should for sure go see Damien Rice. He puts on a great show.

  • ProgGrrl

    OMG are you a lucky dog…I am so jealous reading the playlist for this thing. Well to live fully and vicariously thru u, please review: The Police, Roots, Flaming Lips, Lewis Black, Regina Spektor, Hold Steady, Gogol Bordello, Tortoise, Brazilian Girls, The National, and STS9…duuuuuuwwwwwd, wishing I was, like, going. *g*

  • Brian

    Don’t miss the Hold Steady, and especially Manu Chao Radio Bemba Sound System.
    You won’t be let down, I promise.

  • daisyj

    Everybody in the pocket! I call dibs on the front corner.
    By the way, when I did a search for the official site, I came up with this one:
    I’d reccommend you go for the Lindsay Murray Grey Bulls, and be sure you don’t miss the rams.

  • Dan Daoust

    Okay, I think we 90% of us can agree that it’s time for an intervention. Whitney, you are too talented and too effin’ funny a writer to be dumped on (or dumping yourself on) these backwater music festivals. Can’t you find something that speaks to the overwhelming majority of your readers (Popwatchers!) and then write about that, maybe? I’ll indulge you the odd Coachella now and again, but goodness gracious, this romp-through-the-hicks thing you’ve been doing is just not making the most of your skills or our attention span.
    Who’s “Whit” me? (Ha!)

  • susanarosa

    Uncle Earl. They play Friday morning. I saw them play last summer in a barn in the middle of nowhere in Michigan and it was awesome. They’re bluegrassy/folksy.
    And of course the Nightwatchman. But that should be a given.

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