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Bonnaroo Day 4: The festival for the eyes of a UGA student

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 2:00 pm | Updated: 2:26 pm, Mon Jun 16, 2014.
Andrew Plaskowsky | 0 comments
Sunday marked the conclusion of the 13th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival out in Manchester, Tenn., and it was definitely the hottest of them all, but the payoff to see some truly incredible bands was worth it.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. on the Which Stage was Capital Cities. Sure it seems a little weird to put a band with only one major hit onto one of the main stages, but the field was completely packed. It's not hard to see why once the duo came on, the music takes on a new energy live with a trumpet player and crowd interaction. After inviting the crowd to learn to "Capital Cities shuffle," the band performed a cover of the Bee Gee's 1977 disco standard "Stayin' Alive" and a cover of Madonna's "Holiday."

Following them over at the Other Tent was rapper A$AP Ferg, a member of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob from Harlem, NY. Earlier the day in a press conference I was fortunate enough to attend, A$AP spoke passionately about his craft and even proclaimed himself as the future of hip hop. If hip hop is headed down that road, the future looks bleak. The expletive laden set dragged on and women from the pit were dragged onstage to dance and show off their breasts.

Back over at the What Stage, the Arctic Monkeys from Sheffeld, England performed in front of an ever growing crowd of all ages. From the moment the menacing guitar line of single "Do I Wanna Know?" began to the end of "R U Mine?" the crowd was chanting along to every single word of each song that had been pulled from a setlist that spanned the band's entire discography. My one complaint was out of the band's control though, the heat became suffocating in the middle of its set.

Athens own chillwave artist Washed Out performed later in the day at the Other Tent and all I have to say is people seriously underestimate musicians from Athens. Like the Drive-By Truckers, Washed Out was able to pack the tent and keep a line growing outside just for a chance to hear them. Playing songs from both "Within and Without" and "Paracosm," Greene encouraged people to dance and even ended the set with a disco track.

Later on that night, Wiz Khalifa took the Which Stage to deliver a performance that surpassed all expectations. Rappers are stereotyped to be chronically late or they typically ignore the audience, however Wiz frequently spoke throughout the evening about the positivity of his music and how our generation can do anything we want in between smoke breaks. It was interesting to see a fair number of older people watch his set because, well, they usually don't like rap and probably don't smoke weed. By the time his set ended 20 songs later with "We Dem Boyz," it almost didn't feel like he'd been onstage for nearly an hour and a half.

Closing out the festival was headliner Elton John. It seems strange he would perform at a festival and I honestly didn't expect many people to stick around late into the night for his set, but boy was I wrong. The entire field was packed, even outside the gates, to see a legend. His performance was incredible though there's several issues I need to address first.

The microphone must've been turned way down because I could barely hear most of what he was singing, the crowd where I was standing decided to talk and scream about things that weren't Elton John and he didn't play enough hits. Of course it's hard to pick which songs to sing when your discography is massive; excluding songs like "Pinball Wizard", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word" is mindboggling. I would've preferred a greatest hits show instead of hearing new material, but that's just my opinion.

After four days of relentless sun, walking around over 80,000 people and seeing at least 20 bands, I'm exhausted but I'd gladly do it all over again. See you again next year Manchester!?