Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks make hay
By Brian Mansfield
USA Today - June 18, 2006
USATODAY.com's summer-long sonic road trip takes you inside the season's hottest concerts. This weekend, we headed south for the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., held June 15-18.
The music: In its fifth year, Bonnaroo featured more than 100 performers of a dizzying variety. New Orleans acts such as the Neville Brothers and Allen Toussaint (appearing with Elvis Costello) got special emphasis this year, but the bill also featured prominent blues, jazz, roots, rock and international acts, along with the jam bands that make up the festival's core draw. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Friday night show featured an unannounced appearance from Stevie Nicks, who sang on Stop Draggin' My Heart Around and several other songs. Radiohead played to the crowd during its 2 1/2 hour set Saturday and performed new material as well as crowd favorites Paranoid Android and Fake Plastic Trees. Late-night shows included an epic three-hour performance by Bonnaroo favorite My Morning Jacket and the revival of New Orleans keyboardist Dr. John's Night Tripper character.
The crowd: Eighty thousand sun-kissed and dust-covered music lovers, most of them in their teens and mid-20s, set up camp on the 700-acre hay farm an hour south of Nashville. The Coffee County sheriff's office reported 62 arrests through Sunday afternoon, down from about 75 last year. Joshua Overall, 21, of Ohio was killed when he stepped onto I-24 in front of bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs' tour bus.
Fashion: Most Bonnaroonies dressed for comfort and maximum exposure to the sun. For men, that meant sandals and hiking shorts, with optional T-shirts; women chose print wrap skirts or shorts and slightly less optional halter or bikini tops. Attention-getters included fairy ears, blue jeans with no seat and body-painted breasts. A masquerade ball before dawn Sunday drew hundreds in Mardi Gras masks, as well as people dressed as a milkshake, an electric outlet and a Mexican luchador.
The merch: Tie-dyed event tees, with Bonnaroo performers listed on the back, were among the most popular official shirts, which ranged in price from $25 to $35. Other Bonnaroo merchandise included socks ($5), an iPod cover ($30) and a fleece blanket ($35).
Inside scoop: Non-performing celebrities in attendance included actresses Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo, New Orleans R&B singer Irma Thomas and members of the rock band Kings of Leon. Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu held a Shabbat service Friday in one of the public campgrounds. More than 100 people attended. He also provided a kosher Shabbat dinner that ended in a cake fight between the singer and several other men.