Bonnaroo 2002-2011 - Timeline with Video Highlights
With the lineup coming any day now (my guess is next Tuesday), take a look back at the first 9 Bonnaroos. I prepared this timeline for the 2010 Bonnaroo Preview for JamBase last year, and made some video additions. For the full story, go here.
Bonnaroo Timeline Through The Years - 2002-2011
2002: The inaugural festival sells out 70,000 tickets well in advance without the use of traditional advertising methods, relying on word-of-mouth and far exceeding the promoters' expectations. Widespread Panic plays one of its final concerts with late guitarist Michael Houser. Galactic's Robert Mercurio described the first 'Roo as having "something special about it, because people questioned how you can get 80,000 people in the woods and no one get hurt. It was unprecedented to have anything like that in the U.S." moe. plays a marathon late night set featuring special guests from The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and Robert Randolph. They would later be recognized for the show with a Jammy Award for "Concert of the Year".
Widespread Panic - Tall Boy > Testify w/ Dottie Peoples
2003: James Brown, Bob Dylan and Neil Young & Crazy Horse appear at the festival. Stages and tents renamed What, Which, This, That, and the Other, confusing Bonnaroo attendees ever since.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Cortez the Killer
2004: Two vicious electrical storms followed by an abnormally cold summer night at The Dead's set blow through Manchester causing several delays and turning Centeroo into a mud pit. Sets by Steve Winwood, a late night Umphrey's McGee set, David Byrne and the resurgence of the The Dead were highlights of the fest.
The Dead - Tennessee Jed (post-rain)
2005: Temperate weather and amazing late night sets by Galactic and Sound Tribe Sector 9 highlighted the '05 edition. The Cinema Tent debuts showing Mike Tyson's embarrassing 7-round TKO loss to Kevin McBride as chilled-out festival patrons enjoy the tent's air conditioning.
The Secret Machines - Late Night
2006: Mysterious smoke rings begin appearing in the Manchester skies and a turning of the tides begins. At the time, the addition of the iconic Radiohead was seen as a huge transition for the previously jam- centric festival, but this was just the beginning of a new era. Radiohead would play the longest show of their career and one that Thom Yorke still considers to be perhaps the band's best. G.R.A.B. (Trey, Mike & The Duo) are the surprise Superjam late night act and are joined by Phil Lesh for a few songs, including "Going Down the Road Feelin' Bad."
My Morning Jacket - The Bear (w/ Andrew Bird)
2007: The polarizing psychedelic hard rockers Tool are invited to headline, perplexing/angering Bonnaroo veterans and hippies. Many of these same fans go to the show and most become Tool fans. The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne lands his spaceship, distributes thousands of laser pointers and waxes on about the war in Iraq to thousands of starry-eyed fans. The String Cheese Incident play Which Stage late Friday as part of their Farewell Tour.
Tool - Lateralus (w/ Tom Morello)
2008: "FUCK KANYE" becomes a rallying cry after rapper Kanye West lobbies to get his "Glow in the Dark Tour" headlining set rescheduled to 2:45 a.m. and subsequently doesn't take the stage until 4:30 a.m. amidst twilight and boos. My Morning Jacket plays a cover-heavy set in the driving rain and almost no one leaves until the show's completion at 4:00 a.m. MMJ are joined by Jeff Coffin, Kirk Hammett and Zach Galifianakis, among others. "Best show ever" is a common sentiment amongst attendees (including yours truly).
Metallica - Fade To Black
2009: A dream fest for many, Phish finally headlines the festival playing a late night show on the main stage on Friday and closing out the festival on Sunday with Bruce Springsteen joining the band for "Mustang Sally," "Bobby Jean"and "Glory Days." Nine Inch Nails, moe., Yeasayer, and MGMT highlight one of the best late nights in the festival's history on Saturday.
Phish - Glory Days (w/ Bruce Springsteen)
2010: Jay-Z stakes his claim as the coolest person on the face of the Earth, commanding the astute attention of 60-70,000 people at the far-as-the-eye-can-see packed What Stage, putting on quite possibly the best headlining performance in Bonnaroo history (too tough to compare with the likes of Radiohead) and easily the biggest party. Flaming Lips perform "Dark Side of the Moon" in it's entirety on the Which Stage on Friday night. Conan O'Brien MC's the What Stage for two days and does a few shows in the Comedy Tent. Sunday was hot.
Jay-Z - Intro, Run This Town
2011: Unprecedented buzz leads up to the release of the 10th Anniversary Bonnaroo lineup. Lots of unsubstantiated talk of Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, Daft Punk (wishful maybe?), Neil Young, Paul Simon and remaining members of Pink Floyd.
Share your favorite moments in the comments section and be sure to include the year.