More than 20 Youngstown State University students safely returned home from the 12th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival. Despite the loss of a headliner and excessive heat, the students deemed their experiences a success.
When Bonnaroo headliners Mumford & Sons bassist Ted Dwane treated a blood clot in his brain, the rest of his band mates were forced to cancel their tour and their appearance at the festival. Bonnaroo organizers displayed the flexibility of the event when they convinced Jack Johnson to fill in for the vacant headlining spot.
Emarie Bees, a YSU student, said she had a great time despite the heat.
“It’s a good time, and it’s a struggle cause it’s extremely hot. The heat woke us up super early at 8 a.m. every day,” she said. “The best part was the music and having fun with friends at the campsite. Now that I’m away, I definitely miss it.”
Bees said she enjoyed many performances, but said her favorite was Jack Johnson, where she viewed the show from the photo pit, an area usually reserved for media access.
Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment co-produce the Bonnaroo, attracting 20,000 more people than Youngstown’s entire population. The combination of music, art and comedic performances has garnered the event titles such as the “Festival of the Decade” by Consequence of Sound and one of “The 10 Best Summer Music Festivals” by GQ Magazine.
Michael Vincze, the Mowgli’s lead vocalist and guitarist, was one of 200 performers at the festival last weekend. Vincze tried to explain why the event retains its popularity.
“It’s an opportunity for all of us to practice a different way of life, and kind of just being all together and sharing what we’re doing — free from judgment. As long as we’re not affecting anyone negatively, everyone is welcome to do whatever they wish,” he said.
Vincze said Bonnaroo carries the same spirit as the Mowgli’s.
“I think [the spirit of love] is the spirit of a lot of music and vibration in general. So we’re trying to spread it,” he said.
Matt Moderalli, a YSU student, attended the festival for his second year. He said “its a killer time for sure.”
“You obviously have a couple bands that you have in mind — who you’re set on seeing — but its all about the bands you never heard of that make it all worth it,” Moderalli said.
He said he enjoyed seeing the Wu Tang Clan, Local Natives, Japandroids, and Paul McCartney and was in the photo pit for his first time during rapper Kendrick Lamar’s performance.
“It was nuts. We went in, people were chanting, clapping, going nuts. Everyone was yelling, ‘Where my mother f¬—–g dominos at?’” Moderalli said.
One thing the majority of YSU students, performers and attendees agreed on was that the atmosphere at Bonnaroo is unique and inviting.
“It’s like it’s own world. Nobody’s aggressive. A lot of people are on drugs, I didn’t do any of that stuff, but everyone is really, really cool. It’s this amazing atmosphere away from our home and jobs, it’s like a vacation,” Bees said.