Artist Pass

Bonnaroo recruits Knoxville's best and brightest musicians to perform at the nation's wildest, weirdest music festival More 'Roo, Please! Putting the Pieces Together, One Week before the Storm

What: 2007 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival When: Thursday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 17 Where: Manchester, Tenn. How Much: $214.50 plus a $21.85 service charge from , or try your luck on eBay . Includes camping and parking.

More 'Roo, Please!

Feature Story

by Leslie Wylie

What: 2007 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival When: Thursday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 17 Where: Manchester, Tenn. How Much: $214.50 plus a $21.85 service charge from , or try your luck on eBay . Includes camping and parking.

Whoâ’s Playing: The Police ⢠Tool ⢠Widespread Panic ⢠The White Stripes ⢠Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals ⢠Wilco ⢠The Flaming Lips ⢠MANU CHAO Radio Bemba Sound System ⢠The String Cheese Incident ⢠Franz Ferdinand ⢠Ornette Coleman ⢠Bob Weir & Ratdog ⢠Damien Rice ⢠Ween ⢠Govâ’t Mule ⢠Ziggy Marley ⢠The Decemberists ⢠The Roots ⢠Kings of Leon ⢠SuperJam feat. John Paul Jones, Ben Harper and Ahmir â“?uestloveâ” Thompson ⢠Michael Franti and Spearhead ⢠Wolfmother ⢠Regina Spektor ⢠The Black Keys ⢠Galactic ⢠DJ Shadow ⢠Gillian Welch ⢠Spoon ⢠Keller Williams (WMDâ’S) ⢠Sasha & John Digweed ⢠Lou Donaldson & Dr. Lonnie Smith Quartet ⢠STS9 ⢠Old Crow Medicine Show ⢠North Mississippi Allstars ⢠The Hold Steady ⢠Lily Allen ⢠Fountains Of Wayne ⢠David Murray Black Saint Quartet ⢠Hot Tuna ⢠Feist ⢠Hot Chip ⢠Mago Feat. Billy Martin & John Medeski ⢠John Butler Trio ⢠El-P ⢠Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys ⢠Ravi Coltrane Quartet ⢠Aesop Rock ⢠The Richard Thompson Band ⢠Dierks Bentley ⢠James Blood Ulmer ⢠Xavier Rudd ⢠The Philadelphia Experiment ⢠David Bromberg and Angel Band ⢠Gogol Bordello ⢠Junior Brown ⢠Tortoise ⢠T-Bone Burnett ⢠Mavis Staples ⢠Don Byron Plays Junior Walker Feat. Chris Thomas King ⢠Clutch ⢠Pete Yorn ⢠Stefon Harris & Blackout ⢠Cold War Kids ⢠Dr. Dog ⢠Scott Amendola Band Feat. Nels Cline ⢠Paolo Nutini ⢠Brazilian Girls ⢠RX Bandits ⢠The Nightwatchman ⢠The Slip ⢠Lionel Loueke ⢠Girl Talk ⢠Railroad Earth ⢠Martha Wainwright ⢠Yard Dogs Road Show ⢠Rodrigo y Gabriela ⢠Annuals ⢠Tea Leaf Green ⢠Sam Roberts Band ⢠The National ⢠Elvis Perkins in Dearland ⢠Charlie Louvin ⢠Sonya Kitchell ⢠Robert Glasper Trio ⢠Mute Math ⢠The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars ⢠Jacky Terrasson Trio ⢠Apollo Sunshine ⢠Stanton Moore Trio ⢠The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians ⢠Uncle Earl ⢠Doug Wamble Quartet ⢠The Little Ones ⢠The Black Angels ⢠Ryan Shaw ⢠Gypsy Hands Tribal Belly Dance ⢠Firecracker Jazz Band ⢠Miss Lolly Popâ’s Burlesque Coterie & The Sideshow Bennie Experience ⢠Eenormus Sidecar

In the Comedy Tent: Lewis Black & Friends ⢠Dave Attell ⢠David Cross ⢠Flight of the Conchords ⢠Demetri Martin ⢠Aziz Ansari ⢠Finesse Mitchell ⢠Lynne Koplitz ⢠Dov Davidoff ⢠Nick Kroll ⢠John Bowman

In the Cafés: Angel and the Love Mongers ⢠Bang Bang Bang ⢠Dave Barnes ⢠benzos ⢠The Biscuit Burners ⢠BonnaRoompah Band ⢠Pieta Brown ⢠Cage the Elephant ⢠Sam Champion ⢠Christabel and the Jons ⢠Rocco DeLuca ⢠Dixie Dirt ⢠Dubconscious ⢠The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker ⢠Piers Faccini ⢠Favourite Sons ⢠Fiction Plane ⢠Tim Fite ⢠Haale ⢠Jescoe ⢠Alexa Ray Joel ⢠Langhorne Slim ⢠Manchester Orchestra ⢠Jennifer Niceley ⢠Brandy Robinson ⢠Salvador Santana Band ⢠Jonah Smith ⢠Smokin⒠Dave and the Premo Dopes ⢠Tenderhooks ⢠Tin Cup Prophette ⢠The Westside Daredevils ⢠The Whigs ⢠John Paul White

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Yeah, my band played Bonnaroo last year . Whether you're trying to book an out-of-town gig or land a phone number at the bar, having Bonnaroo on your résumé makes for a pretty impressive one-liner. Around these parts, however, it's a bragging right that a growing number of local musicians can claim as their own, thanks to A.C. Entertainment's willingness to set Knox-bred musicians up with Bonnaroo café stages of their own.

This year's local lineup is, as always, an impressive one: Angel and the Love Mongers, Christabel and the Jons, Dixie Dirt, Jescoe, Brandy Robinson, Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes, the Tenderhooks and the Westside Daredevils will all be stocking up on their sunscreen this week in preparation for their upcoming four-day vacation in that land of music and sweat known, for the other 361 days of the year, as Manchester, Tenn. Enjoy the ride, kids. If you run into Sting backstage, tell him we said hi. And most importantly, be sure to come home with an emotional hard-drive full of memories.

And now, a few memories from local performers of Bonnaroos past, mixed in with the pre-game sentiments of local musicians who'll be making their debut on the festival's café stage this week.

Name: Angela Santos

Band: Dixie Dirt

'Roo Class of: 2005, 2007

Favorite Bonnaroo Moment: No ma'am. In artist camping, Knoxville's vast area is called Knoxvillage and what happens there, stays there. Not to mention hearing 80,000 people singing â“Fake Plastic Treesâ” into the starry night sky was pretty goddamned amazing.

Weirdest Bonnaroo Moment: Trying to understand what all those kids were desperately trying to â“explainâ” to us about our music after our late night set in the Troo Tent.

How to Offend a Rock Star: It was '05 and I had just seen the Mars Volta spun on mushrooms (me, not the band) the night before, so backstage the next day I went up to Cedric [Bixler-Zavala, the lead singer] (so I thought) to tell him what an amazing set they'd played, but he got mad and screamed in my face â“I'm not in the fucking Mars Volta,â” and stormed off. My friend Tim walked up laughing and told me he was in the Strokes. I thought that was pretty damn funny, can't believe he was so offended. If I was a Stroke, I'd have been honored to have been mistaken for the Mars Volta.

Name: Todd Steed

Band: Suns of Phere, Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes

'Roo Class of: 2005, 2007

Favorite Bonnaroo Moment: As for musicâ"Phil Pollard and Radiohead back to back. Two near perfect sets.

In 2003 [bandmate] Dave Nichols and I drove artist transport vans. Hearing Robert Randolph and his band give running commentary on the ride from the hotel and through site was absolutely hilarious. He does a great â“country farmerâ” accent. Neil Young's road crew had many interesting observations as well.

Weirdest Bonnaroo Moment: When John Prine made it rain by singing Flag Decal. I didn't realize human beings could do that.

I Can Hear the People Chewing as One: I had breakfast with Yo La Tengo and didn't even realize it until I got up to leave, so I didn't even talk to them. It was a tremendously quiet breakfast anyway and e veryone just seemed to be staring at their food hoping it would jump up into their mouths. Breakfast at Bonnaroo can be very surreal because you aren't sure if you are really awake or not. You don't get much sleep when some of the best music available is going on almost all night. Nobody looks like a celebrity at 8:45 a.m., except perhaps Gabby La La.

Name: Eric Nowinski

Band: Angel and the Love Mongers

'Roo Class of: 2007

Hope to Get out of the Experience: The opportunity to have our music heard by people from all over the country along with the opportunity to meet other musicians and network with other bands.

Stoked to See: The Police, the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Ornette Coleman.

Who We'd Most Like to Find Ourselves Standing Next to in the Beer Line: Kiefer Sutherlandâ"only because he owns Ironworks Music, a record company in L.A., and one of   their artists, Rocco Deluca, is also playing Bonnaroo and they need a good pop/rock band on their label.  

Biggest Concern: That Angel will be abducted by hippies and miss our set.

Name: Jon Whitlock

Band: Christabel and the Jons

'Roo Class of: 2005-2007

Jon Whitlock vs. Bonnaroo: I have been to every Bonnaroo. The first three years I went as a spectator and the previous two as a performer. This will be my third year playing. After this year I will have played three years with four bands and performed a total of seven shows. (I think that has to be a record challenged only by Warren Haynes who seems to sit in with every band at Bonnaroo.) My first year playing was with the band Zenphonic in 2005. In 2006 I played with Phil Pollard and the Band of Humans as well as the Mitch Rutman Group with special guest Jeff Coffin from Bela Fleck. This year I will be going with my favorite band, Christabel and the Jons.

Favorite Bonnaroo Moments: The sound from Centerroo of four to five bands playing on This, That and The Other stages all merged together at once; the bands I'd never seen live like Cyro Baptista, Ween, David Byrne, Radiohead, Taj Mahal and Flaming Lips; and most of all the childlike excitement of [local musician] Phil Pollard when he realized that the artist pass around his neck got him backstage at almost any show.   

Rock-star Sightings: My most memorable â“super-star momentâ” was last year while having dinner at artist catering. Les Claypool [of Primus, Oysterhead] was there eating with his family and I overheard him telling his two children, â“You can't have any of that dessert until you finish everything on your plate!â” It was then I realized my own father could have been a famous musician.   

Knox Shout-out: Most of all I appreciate the fact that Ashley Capps has provided local and regional up-and-coming acts the opportunity to play one of the biggest music festivals in the world. For me, the experience every year has been incredibly inspiring. I remember thinking to myself before leaving last year, â“Man, I wish I could just live here.â”

Name: Leslie Woods

Band: Leslie Woods and Dark Mountain Orchid

'Roo Class of: 2006

Well-oiled Machine: First I'd like to say that amid what looks like total chaos is actually extremely well orchestrated and went off smooth as silk even from behind the scenes. Kudos for that!â My appreciation for what Ashley [Capps] and crew do to put this thing together and keep it running smoothly is increased, and all I can say is â“Better them than meâ” and I mean that sincerely! What a mess it would be with someone like me at the helm!

Diva Goes Camping: I'm sort of a pussy about heat, bugs, dirt and icky things like that, and the sun is my enemy, so I was so completely out of my environment that I was mostly in a daze from the moment we got in the van! I'm what I call a â“good sportâ” camper. I go 'cause the kids love it and because they love it, I get complete enjoyment from it. Camping by choice ? Not likely. But because I'm such a wussy about camping, we have all the stuff to make it more comfortable for meâ"air mattresses, multiple tents and tarps, coolers and creature comforts of all kinds including an air conditioner, fans and a stove all run off a generator. So the first request I had, of course, was fire up the damn air conditioner! Well, it was so dry and dusty that when the generator was fired up, it blew dust and grime all over everything we ownâ"and everything our neighbors owned as well. Fortunately they were not â“homeâ” at the time, so we just acted like 5-year-olds and denied the whole incident.

When Music Festivals and Platform Shoes Collide: Because my ideas for attracting attention for our band were rejected (the band refused to carry me nude on a cross all day, [nor would they] carry me on their shoulders like an Indian princess, fanning me with feathersâ"jerks!) so I decided to parade around in my normal attire. Black, black and more black. I actually thought that the parasol I decorated with black roses and fringe would protect me from the heat. Ha! Remember those aqua belts sold in the '70s that claimed you could wrap them around your waist and loose inches from your waistline in a day? Hey, it works with pleather too! Just a little FYI for you. And, in case you didn't know, trotting around a cow pasture in eight-inch heels is next to impossible, but if you're really tenacious you can get the hang of it in, ohâ"three days or five milesâ"which ever comes first.

Port-a-pot Boycott: One of the other surprises we got at Bonnaroo was that one of our bandmates, who shall remain unnamed, refused to use the port-a-potties. Not even in an emergency. So every morning there was a ritual of going to Wal-Mart for the three-S stop (shit, shower and shave). The evenings were easier on meâ"mostly because I drank so damn much. Believe it or not, it's easier to walk in those platforms if you're a little tipsy! So, if you stay up until 3 a.m. and flop down on a deflated air mattress after being drunk for six hours, you really sleep well. But only for three hours. This was a hard lesson learned. By 6 a.m. it's so hot in the tent that you must get upâ"and go to Wal-Mart to pee and cool off. God I hated to love Wal-Mart so much!

Redeeming Qualities: We had a great time when the sun went down, jamming with the people around us and swapping stories and phone numbers. What I really came away with from Bonnaroo was a new sense of music community. We've kept in touch with a few bands that we met there, and I wouldn't trade the experience. My favorite Bonnaroo moments were watching other Knoxville bands get some well-deserved exposure. We tried to catch all the locals when they went on and show our Knox colors.

Name: Gray Comer

Band: Westside Daredevils

'Roo Class of: 2007

Festival Goals: Having as much fun as possible, however we can, as long as it doesn't result in arrest, death, or serious injury. Oh yeah, and playing two kick-ass sets on Thursday and Sunday. Regulation is the key.

This Year's No-miss Sets: The Police (duh), Spoon, Wilco, Flaming Lips, our fellow local bands' sets.

Who We'd Most Like to Find Ourselves Standing Next to in the Beer Line: Hmmm. Regina Spektor. Or Feist. That'll work.

Name: Jeff Caudill

Band: Westside Daredevils

'Roo Class of: 2007

Favorite Bonnaroo Moment: I went last year as a regular ol' attendee and had my mind blown repeatedly for four days, but I'd have to say the highlight of the whole thing was catching My Morning Jacket play The Who's â“A Quick One While He's Awayâ” in its entirety amidst one of the finest rock and roll shows I've ever witnessed. As far as this year goes, aside from our getting to play two sets (one of which will feature John Baker helping out on some wacky synthesizer backup), anyone who's ever seen them before knows it's all about the Flaming Lips, and anyone who hasn't seen them before better recognize.

Rock Chemistry: Last year, John Roderick from The Long Winters hopped onstage with Death Cab for Cutie for a few songs. I don't know if too many other people cared or even noticed, but I squealed like a schoolgirl. That guy's a personal contemporary hero of mine. That's one of the many awesome things about Bonnaroo: You're not just seeing par-for-the-course sets. Everyone brings a little something special to kick it up a notch.

Pre-game Contemplations: We're excited as hell to be going, and honored to be playing. For music aficionados like us, Bonnaroo is like rock and roll Disneyland. I saw 20 sets last year, and I'm hoping to beat that record this year. And beyond the Daredevils, there is a seriously excellent crop of locals going with us, and I know they're going to turn a lot of people on to the fact that Knoxville music has it going on, just like those who went in previous years did. (Nug Jug's set last year was particularly rad.) It's nice to be going with our friends and peers, and it will make stealing food from them a lot easier.

Name: Brandy Robinson

'Roo Class of: 2007

Bonnaroo Ambition: So, I hope to become rich and famous from Bonnaroo. No, just kidding, but I am very excited for this experience! My band and I have worked hard, and the two slots they gave us are just great! Friday at 8 p.m. at the Solar Stage, which from 8:30-8:45 we are the only band playing while people are walking into Tool! Also Saturday from 2-3 p.m. at the Blue Room Cafe. I have had a great response already from people all around the country that found me through the Bonnaroo site. I hope to put on a great show for everyone that will come out and support!

Trampoline for My Music Career: I am really looking forward to the interaction with so many people from around the country! Plus, to be in the company of so many talented musicians is a huge bonus. My career in music has been slowly increasing since I put out my new album, Beautiful Graffiti. I'm glad I wasn't just thrown into it like so many other people, but I've worked hard and found my voice through experience. This opportunity, I think, will just solidify why I'm doing what I'm doing.

Stoked to See: I am really excited to see Lily Allen, Ben Harper, and the Police! I grew up on Sting's music so I really hope to run into him in the beer line. We are bringing battery-operated amps to have for our campsite to see if we can get a super jam of our own backstage! There are so many more musicians I am excited to see, but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

I went to Bonnaroo last year as a fan, and I had the best time running around and being carefree, and this year will be the same except with a schedule.

Name: Fred Kelly

Band: The Rockwells

'Roo Class of: 2006

Let's Play Music, Er, Ball: When we played Bonnaroo in 2006, it coincided with the FIFA World Cup tournament. America's team in the tournament was scheduled to play Italy on June 17 to determine who would advance to represent their group (Group E) as the tournament progressed. Team USA wasn't doing so well, but that didn't stop hope from springing eternal, and Bonnaroo apparently attracts enough music fans that are also soccer fans to warrant showing the USA-Italy game in the Bonnaroo movie tentâ.

When we went to the movie tent the morning of the 17th to get in line to see the match, there was already a queue that extended long beyond the length of the tent. And we were two-and-a-half hours early!

Eventually we got inside. It was standing room only. As the movie ended, the crowd grew impatient. Someone in charge wanted to show a few short films before the match. The crowd yelled for the pre-game show. Regardless, the movie shorts were shown (to a decidedly mixed response) and then the huge screen was switched over to what was left of the pre-game. Italy sang its national anthem, which got a polite reaction from the crowd in the tent; there were plenty of Italy fans present.

Then the American National Anthem came on. Everyone stood up and sang along at the top of their voices. It was so powerful and heartfelt that I could feel myself starting to cry. I looked around; I hadn't been the only one tearing up. As the anthem wrapped up, people cheered. The sound was deafening; the tent vibrated.

The players took the field. Everyone stood up again to cheer. The entire match was this way, with everyone either standing and screaming or sitting in silent and intense concentration.   

Not long after play started, someone in the tent produced a soccer ball-colored beach ball and gave it a punch into the crowd. It took about two-and-a-half bounces before several dozen people screamed variations of â“ Get rid of that goddamned thing!â” The ball disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. This was a serious game.

Even after the match was well under way, people were still trying to crush their way into the packed tent. It's a testament to the organizers of Bonnaroo that no one got hurt. When the tent's doorway flap occasionally opened, we noticed that there were two horse-mounted police officers barring entry. The angry crowd outside screamed â“ Let us in! â” But other than that, everyone outside remained calm, if a little peeved.

Team USA didn't win. We tied Italy, and they went on to win the whole thing. But it was a terrific game, and probably the most exciting sporting event I've ever watched on television. I predict that at Bonnaroo in 2010, they'll need to make one of the larger performance tents the World Cup broadcast tent, just to accommodate all the rabid Bonnaruvians/soccer fans.

Name: Jodie Manross

'Roo Class of: 2005

Memory Lane: I loved performing with Laith [Keilany] and Casey [Jones] at Bonnaroo. It was a dream come true. It was one of the last gigs we all got to perform together before Casey moved to Denmark, which made it even more special.

My favorite memories, among too many to name, were: Seeing Herbie Hancock perform, the giant bobbleheads, the silent disco, late night cinema, the camping under the stars, and the amazing, amazing music heard throughout the weekend. Bonnaroo is such a special, inspiring time. It was such an honor to be a part of the weekend. We played on a side stage near the main stage. We performed in between Allison Krauss and the Allman Brothers sets. It doesn't get any better than that!


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