Buzznet at Bonnaroo 2011: Good Bands, Scorching Heat, Pretty Girls and Delicious Waffles.

Tennesee is much hotter in June than one would ever imagine. I’m here, sweating to the oldies, and the newies, at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester TN. Here’s what’s happened so far:

Jac Vanek interviewed The Drums, who would like everyone to know that they DO NOT surf and would prefer not to be compared to The Beach Boys. They do however like Dam Funk very much.

I met up with the lovely Kelsey Kopecky from Feather and Belle, who somehow looked fresh as morning dew in the 99 degree heat whereas I looked like a drowned rat with Muppet bangs. Feather and Belle recently premiered their video for the song ‘Tennesee Baby’ on Buzznet, so you should definitely take a look and a listen (or each separately, whatever floats your boat).

Jac interviewed Band of Skulls, who are British and awesome. Their set was all bluesy and 70s, and they were heralded by USA Today as the band who generated the “biggest first night buzz”.

I walked around shooting the super laid-back, Southern bohemian style that dominated the festival. You can see more feathers, beads, and flowers in our Bonnaroo festival fashion gallery.

I interviewed my pal Hanni El Khatib and his drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan before their set at the On Tap Lounge. They wore all black to the festival because they don’t compromise their bad-a**ness for something as silly as scorching hot weather.

This also happened. There are two within a mile of my hotel, as well as a Cracker Barrel and a Steak n’ Shake. If I don’t come back from this trip it’s because I died of chewing happiness.


Day 1 was a bit more mellow than day 2, but there was still much awesomeness to report on. Here are the highlights from Thursday:

(photo: Getty)

Karen Elson

Just a day before the announcement of her divorce from Jack White, Karen Elson performed at her first ever Bonnaroo, and she murdered it. Her dark, dreamy folk floated across the adoring crowd like a sad, cool breeze, and she looked gorgeous in peach with a giant flower in her hair. And even though they are splitting up, Jack White was right there on the side of the stage cheering her on.

Band Of Skulls

British rockers Band Of Skulls performed their unique brand of bluesy, hard 70s inspired rock n’ roll to a receptive and amped up crowd. The feeling at That Tent where the band performed was electric; every member of the audience was FEELING it. Stay tuned for Jac’s interview with the band to hear more about what they have to say about Jack White, being on the Twilight soundtrack, and their highlights from Bonnaroo.

(Photo: Getty)

Sleigh Bells

Noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells lived up to the first half of their genre name on Thursday with their ear-assaulting intensity and techno-laden dub beats. The crowd was massive and tightly packed in for their set, hearing loss be damned, and vocalist Allison Krauss gave them what they wanted, all chirping and speak-singing, and finally dove into the crowd for a bit of fan floating. The crowd definitely left satisfied and even sweatier than before.


Wanda Jackson

The undisputed Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson did not let being 73 years old stop her from slaying the crowd at Bonnaroo. Backed up by the High Dollars in dapper suits and herself clad in red fringe and perfectly coiffed hair, Ms. Jackson played many of her old hits including “Fujiyama Mama” and “Funnel of Love” as well as tracks from her Jack White-produced album, The Party Ain’t Over Yet. Anyone who caught her set got treated not only to some great music but also some great stories from Elvis’ former girlfriend.

Hanni El Khatib

Buzznet favorite Hanni El Khatib played the On Tap Lounge with his drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan and definitely acquired a great number of new fans. His whiskey-glazed rock sounded just that much better under the bright blue Tennessee sky, and even though he and Nicky’s were sweating buckets, they pulled off their set without ruffling a feather.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

The unreasonably beautiful Grace Potter, a long-time Bonnaroo veteran, played an incredible set with her band the Nocturnals that was all Tina Turner sassiness meets Rolling Stones rock.

More from Bonnaroo tomorrow, and stay tuned for photos of Florence + The Machine, Sleigh Bells, Hanni El Khatib, and more…