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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Genre Pop, alternative rock, indie rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, funk, stoner rock, jazz, jam bands, Americana, country, folk, bluegrass, gospel, reggae, world
DatesSecond Thursday in June, duration of four days
Location(s) Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee, U.S.
Years active2002–2019, 2022–
Attendance80,000+ (2015) [1]
Organized by Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment
Website Official website

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an American annual four-day music festival developed and founded by Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment. Since its first year in 2002, it has been held at what is now Great Stage Park on a 700-acre (280 ha) farm in Manchester, Tennessee. The festival typically starts on the second Thursday in June and lasts four days. It has been held every year except in 2020, when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic [2] and in 2021 when it was canceled due to excessive rain from Hurricane Ida flooding the campground. [3] The main attractions of this festival are the multiple stages featuring live music with a diverse array of musical styles including indie rock, classic rock, world music, hip hop, jazz, Americana, bluegrass, country music, folk, gospel, reggae, pop, electronic, and other alternative music. Musical acts begin Wednesday evening for early arrivals, continue throughout the festival, with performances starting each day around noon, and some stages entertaining festival goers until sunrise. [4]

The festival was ranked in 2003 by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll", [5] "Festival of the Decade" by Consequence of Sound, and among the 10 Best Festivals by GQ Magazine.


Ashley Capps, co-founder of AC Entertainment, developed Bonnaroo following the cancellation of the Hot Summer Nights rock music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1999. Hot Summer Nights, which was a mainstay in Knoxville's World's Fair Park would suspend operations permanently following construction by city officials. Capps would state that the cancellation would be the main drive behind the origin of Bonnaroo, "The closing of the World's Fair Park for concerts precipitated getting creative and trying to find, 'OK, if we can't do this anymore, how can we still participate in the summer outdoor concert business,' and it was from that that Bonnaroo was ultimately launched." [6]

In 1999, the future site of Bonnaroo hosted the Itchycoo Park Festival (named after the song Itchycoo Park by Small Faces), which is considered the spiritual predecessor to the original Bonaroo music festival. Unlike Bonnaroo, the Itchycoo Park Festival was considered an overall failure. [7] The first Bonnaroo Music Festival took place in 2002. The founders chose "bonnaroo" (Creole slang meaning a really good time) for its literal meaning and to honor the rich New Orleans music tradition that they had enjoyed in college. Bonnaroo was popularized by New Orleans R&B singer Dr. John with his 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo. [8] [9] Bonnaroo is derived from the French "bonne" pronounced [bɔn] the feminine agreement of "bon" pronounced [bɔ̃] meaning "good", and the French "rue" pronounced [ʁy] meaning "street", translating roughly to "the best on the streets". [10] The festival site is known as "the farm" by festival goers and locals, due to its location on what used to be 700 acres of farm land.

In 2019, after a record breaking festival sell out, it was announced that Live Nation was buying out Superfly's share of Bonnaroo. [11]

The 2020 event was initially pushed back three months until September 2020, and then ultimately cancelled because of health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The 2021 event was canceled due to torrential rainfall from Hurricane Ida saturating the stage area, campgrounds, and tollbooth area, and making ground conditions unsuitable for vehicle traffic only a few days before the event was scheduled to take place. [12]

In May 2022, it was announced that Hulu will exclusively stream the festival, alongside Austin City Limits Music Festival and Lollapalooza. [13]


In 2009 the Bonaroo Works Fund was created as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for the festival. [14] The organization awards grants to local non-profits and schools. [15]

By 2013, the direct and indirect economic impact of the festival since its inception was estimated at $51 million, including $2.9 million in tax revenue for the year 2012. [16]


Bonnaroo actively supports recycling and sustainability. [17] In 2011, A Greener Festival recognized Bonnaroo's efforts for the previous three years with an award. [18] In 2004 Bonaroo said it prevented having to collect 120 tons of trash by encouraging fans to recycle. Food and drink are sold in organic and recyclable materials to create less waste. [19] AGF auditors review festivals, as well as requiring their self-evaluation. [18] As of late, Bonnaroo has initiated many "green" activities during the festival, such as Planet Roo. [20]


When the festival began in 2002, USA Today referred to Bonnaroo as "the culmination of a musical movement." [21] CNN described it as "music and subculture melted together into a pot of creative bubbling energy." [22]

In 2008, it was named "Best Festival" by Rolling Stone magazine, calling it "the ultimate over-the-top summer festival". [23]

The New York Times said "Bonnaroo has revolutionized the modern rock festival" in 2012, [24] and Spin called it the "best festival of the summer". [25]


Which Stage at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

Notable performances

R&B singer D'Angelo marked his return to American stages for the first time in over 12 years [26] on June 9, 2012, with a surprise performance at the festival's annual Superjam. He was backed by members of the R&B collective the Soulquarians, most notably Questlove, James Poyser and Pino Palladino, with guest guitarist Jesse Johnson. The set was composed almost entirely of covers. [27]

In 2009, Beastie Boys played their final ever show at the festival. [28]

Other performers have included Widespread Panic (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011), Phish (2009, 2012, 2019), The Dead (2003, 2004), Dead & Company (2016), U2 (2017), Pearl Jam (2008, 2016), Billy Joel (2015), Mumford & Sons (2011, 2015), Elton John (2014), Eminem (2011, 2018), Jack White (2010, 2014), Lionel Richie (2014), the Flaming Lips (2003, 2007, 2010, 2014), Paul McCartney (2013), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2006, 2013), Wu-Tang Clan (2013), Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012, 2017, 2024), Radiohead (2006, 2012), Neil Young (2003, 2011), Dave Matthews Band (2005, 2010), Stevie Wonder (2010), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (2009), Nine Inch Nails (2009), Metallica (2008), the Police (2007), Tool (2007, 2022), and Bob Dylan (2004). [29]


A robot with wavy tentacle arms.
Graffiti by Nashville artist Ryan McCauley on the Graffiti Wall, which separates Centeroo from the campsites.

In addition to music, Bonnaroo used to offer comedy, as well as a tent dedicated to showing movies.

Annual attendance

Note: all figures are approximate

By year

See also


  1. ^ Waddell, Ray (June 9, 2015). "Tale of Two Festivals: Bonnaroo and CMA Music Fest Share Tennessee But Little Else". Billboard. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Bonnaroo Canceled Because of COVID-19". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "BONNAROO 2021 CANCELLATION". Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  4. ^ "Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival". Bonnaroo. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Bledsoe, Wayne (May 11, 2012). "The Birth of Bonnaroo". Tennessee Alumnus Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Wilusz, Ryan (April 28, 2021). "Bonnaroo, America's favorite music festival, was born of canceled plans and construction". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  7. ^ Greenhaus, Mike Relix
  8. ^ Buchanan, Leigh (May 31, 2011). "The Founders of Superfly Presents and Brains Behind Bonnaroo". Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Dougherty, Steve (March 30, 2012). "Dr. John's Unlikely New Partner". The Wall Street Journal. p. D4.
  10. ^ "Jon Pareles at the Bonnaroo Music Festival". The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2006.
  11. ^ "Live Nation Buying Out Superfly's Share of Bonnaroo". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Leimkuehler, Matthew (August 31, 2021). "Bonnaroo 2021 is canceled because of 'waterlogged' festival grounds". The Tennessean. Nashville.
  13. ^ Haring, Bruce (May 12, 2022). "Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Will Stream Exclusively Via Hulu Through 2023". Deadline Hollywood.
  14. ^ "Bonaroo Works Fund". Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  15. ^ "Who We Support". Bonaroo Works Fund. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  16. ^ "Study: Bonnaroo has $51M economic impact". Knoxville News Sentinel. May 20, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  17. ^ [1] Archived January 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ a b "46 Festivals Win The Coveted Greener Festival Award". October 27, 2011. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "13 Years of Green | Bonnaroo 2015". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  20. ^ "Save the Planet". Bonnaroo. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "Bonnaroo bands jam for a wider audience". USA Today. June 25, 2002. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  22. ^ Joseph Van Harken CNN. "Raising the Bonnaroof - Jun. 18, 2003". CNN. Retrieved November 2, 2012. {{ cite news}}: |last= has generic name ( help)
  23. ^ "The 125-Plus People, Places and Things Ruling the Rock & Roll Universe : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. March 3, 2009. Archived from the original on April 4, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  24. ^ Sisario, Ben (May 2, 2004). "SUMMER FESTIVALS: POP AND JAZZ; Bonnaroo Jams In Everyone". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  25. ^ SPIN - Google Boeken. November 2003. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  26. ^ "Watch DAngelo & Questlove's Bonnaroo Superjam". March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  27. ^ "Bonnaroo Superjam Setlist at Bonnaroo 2012". Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  28. ^ Kreps, Daniel (September 26, 2020). "Watch Beastie Boys' Final Concert From Bonnaroo 2009". Rolling Stone.
  29. ^ "Bonnaroo Past Lineups". Bonnaroo. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  30. ^ a b c d Bledsoe, Wayne (June 3, 2010). "Bonnaroo 2010: What a long, strange trip it's been". Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  31. ^ Beaujon, Andrew (August 7, 2003). "Bonnaroo 2003 Music Festival". Spin. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  32. ^ Waddell, Ray (June 14, 2004). "Bonnaroo Scores High Gross, Attendance". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  33. ^ a b Bob Grossweiner & Jane Cohen (June 16, 2009). "Bonnaroo 2009 sees attendance increase over last year's festival totals". Ticket News. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  34. ^ Mary Jayne McKay (June 14, 2010). "Bonnaroo 2010: Hot Times on Stage and Off". CBS News. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  35. ^ Kavner, Lucas (June 14, 2011). "Bonnaroo Festival Reports Tenth Death Since 2002". HuffPost. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  36. ^ Wenzel, Patti (June 12, 2012). "Festival Season: Four days at Bonnaroo". Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  37. ^ Hickey, Ric (July 14, 2013). "Bonnaroo 2013: Walk The Moon Thrills". City Beat. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  38. ^ Ryan, Patrick (June 12, 2014). "Bonnaroo kicks off today". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  39. ^ a b "Bonnaroo's Ticket Sales Plummet". The Tennessean.
  40. ^ "The Tennessean". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  41. ^ Paulson, David; Rau, Nate. "Bonnaroo bounces back: In dramatic turnaround, 2019 festival to sell out". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  42. ^ Gibbs, Kelsey (June 15, 2022). "Music and festival lovers are already camping out for Bonnaroo". Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  43. ^ Lunsford, Mackensy (June 15, 2023). "'It feels good': Bonnaroo returns, greeting 85,000 music fans at The Farm". The Tennessean. The Tennessean. Retrieved June 23, 2023.

External links