Category: Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo, Outside Lands to celebrate the art of craft beer

Bonnaroo, the Southeast's answer to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, launches Thursday in Manchester, Tenn., and it boasts a lineup that includes Radiohead, the Beach Boys, Skrillex and a seminar on the various hop varieties used to brew beer. As destination festivals around the U.S. have gradually ramped up their VIP offerings, Bonnaroo and its sister festival Outside Lands in San Francisco have evolved into music-focused events for the gourmand. 

The four-day Bonnaroo will boast its own house beer, a light blond ale brewed by Chico's Sierra Nevada, and showcase additional offerings from 21 breweries at its Broo’ers Festival, a tent Bonnaroo co-organizers Superfly Productions have erected for 10 years now. At the Broo’ers Festival, guests can buy pints as well as smaller tasting-sized portions. Additionally, Superfly's Outside Lands, slated for Aug. 10-12 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, will add a mini-craft beer festival of its own for the first time this year.

"Beermakers and winemakers are just like musicians," said Bonnaroo co-founder Jonathan Mayers. "People seek them out. There’s so much crossover between the worlds. You go to Bonnaroo and discover a new band, but you can also discover a new kind of beer."

Among the breweries slated to appear at Bonnaroo in 2012 are Brooklyn Brewery, Magic Hat, Schlafly Beer and Streetwater Brewing Co. Bonnaroo is also expanding its Broo’ers University program, in which those from the craft beer industry will host discussions and seminars about the beermaking process. The aforementioned Sierra Nevada will stage a "Hops 101" session, while representatives from Schlafly will discuss beer and comfort food pairings. 

"We experimented with it last year, and it was a hit," Mayers said. "The thing is, you’re in Bonnaroo for four days. You can get tons of music in, but people want other experiences, whether it’s going to the cinema tent or checking out some comedy. There’s enough time for all of it. You’re basically living there for four days."

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Buffalo Springfield just one of two tantalizing reunions slated for Bonnaroo 2011

Buffalo Springfield reunion 10-2010 
Along with the coup of what figures to be one of a small handful of Eminem live appearances in 2011, this year’s Bonnaroo Festival in Tennesee also has in store a reunion performance in June by surviving original members of Buffalo Springfield, festival organizers announced today.

Neil Young, Richie Furay and Stephen Stills played together for the first time since 1968 last fall at Young’s annual Bridge School benefit concerts in Mountain View in Northern California. For those two shows, Springfield charter members were backed by longtime Young bassist Rick Rosas (filling in for Bruce Palmer, who died in 2004) and Crosby, Stills & Nash drummer Joe Vitale (taking over for Dewey Martin, who died in 2009).

They ran through a generous sampling of Springfield’s influential rock-folk-country songbook, including “For What it’s Worth (Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound),” “Rock & Roll Woman,” “Mr. Soul,” “Bluebird,”  “Kind Woman,” “I Am A Child” and “On the Way Home.”

After those performances, the three reportedly were so satisfied by the outcome that they started talking about doing more shows in 2011. Nothing is official yet, but the announcement of the Bonnaroo appearance raises the possibility of Springfield dates in Southern California, where the group formed in 1966.

In addition to the Springfield reunion, the Bonnaroo lineup also has a tantalizing reunion of two of the key forces in New Orleans R&B and funk: Dr. John and the Meters.  They plan to play their 1974 collaborative album “Desitively Bonnaroo,” from which the festival takes its name, in its entirety for the first time in public.

Bonnaroo will run June 9 through 12 in Manchester, Tenn.

— Randy Lewis

Photo of reunited Buffalo Springfield at Neil Young's Bridge School concerts in October 2010: drummer Joe Vitale, left, Stephen Stills,  Richie Furay, Neil Young and bassist Rick Rosas. Credit: Eleanor Stills.

For top Latin(o) musical talent, will Tennessee trump Coachella?

On paper, it's one of the year's most impressive festival lineups of alternative Latin American and Latino bands: Los Amigos Invisibles from Venezuela; Mexican electronica wizards Bostich and Fussible of Nortec Collective, and the one-man digital arsenal known as Mexican Institute of Sound; and Colombian funk-rockers Aterciopelados and electro-tropicalistas Bomba Estéreo.

Serving as the showcase's master of ceremonies will be L.A.'s own favorite unclassifiable, globe-hopping bilingual band Ozomatli, with a tour and fresh disc, "Fire Away," to promote.

So where is this monster jam going down? Coachella? The L.A. Coliseum? The Hollywood Bowl? Mexico City's Zócalo?

Try Manchester, Tenn. It'll all be happening in the Latino Alternativo Tent at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, an 8-year-old, four- or five-day annual gathering of the indie faithful in the green fields of the Mid-Atlantic. Created and staged by Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment, Bonnaroo (named for a N'Awlins portmanteau construction, popularized by Dr. John) is held on a 700-acre farm 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

This year's Latino showcase follows previous Bonnaroo spotlights on jazz and African music. In a press statement, AC Entertainment honcho Ashley Capps said: "One of the most fun aspects of programming Bonnaroo is getting creative with our speciality venues.... It's gratifying to know that we're turning on so many kids to something they most likely won't hear or see anywhere else."

Probably no one is happier about Bonnaroo's Latin presence than Tomas Cookman, the savvy founder-owner of North Hollywood-based Cookman International/Nacional Records, and his colleague Amy Blackman-Romero, who were approached by Capps to curate the acts. In a phone interview Wednesday, Cookman said that he and Blackman-Romero hadn't planned to fill the lineup with their own recording artists.

But it wasn't hard for them to sell Capps on a group of performers that collectively represent a cross-section of alt-Latino sounds, and whose ranks include multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy nominees and winners.

"We looked across the board," Cookman said, "and we kept coming back to the artists that we manage here in this office."

Cookman added that he had sent Capps a "nice, big CARE package of music" by Cookman/Nacional bands to let him hear for himself.

Increasingly, Cookman said, booking agencies are bringing Latin American and Latino musical talent to festivals outside the traditional Spanish-speaking meccas of Texas, California, Florida, New York and Chicago.

Road trip anyone?

-- Reed Johnson

Photo: Aterciopelados, waving "hi" to Tennessee. Courtesy  of Cookman International / Nacional Records


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