Ed Helms, Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Britt Daniel, Ralphie May and Aaron Bruno all agree that performing to large crowds is a “magical” experience.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” said lead vocalist of Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, as he reminisced on past performances with less successful bands. “It’s an emotional experience. I’m so used to playing punk rock shows to crowds of way less people.”
“It was pretty much magic,” said actor and comedian Ed Helms, referring to his cameo at the Mumford & Sons set the night before where he performed in front of 70,000 people. “It was a real rock & roll moment but with a banjo.”
The panel also spoke on how they avoid the heat of the festival.
Comedian Ralphie May said he was thankful for being able to perform in the Comedy Tent that has air conditioning.
“Oh yeah it’s great,” said May. “I’m too out of shape to perform in the heat. I’d explode.”
American banjo player Béla Fleck explained he was unable to avoid the heat at his most recent Bonnaroo experience, and ended up in the emergency room.
Bruno said he and his band try very hard not to drink alcohol before or during their sets for fear of becoming dehydrated.
“I sweat so much [at our performance in Atlanta] last night that I don’t think I’ve got any sweat left in me so I’m prepared,” Bruno said.
Helms went on to explain what it’s like being a part of both comedy and music.
“It’s so fun, the two things I’m most passionate about,” Helms said. “I get to hang out with such awesome people that are great at both things. It’s really inspiring.”
Fleck then went on to explain how he is playing for many people who have known of him but have never seen him live.
“Yeah a lot of them think Béla Fleck is a she,” said Fleck. “A lot of times they see us and they’re not sure which one of us is me.”
The panel ended with a reflection on what Bonnaroo has grown to as a festival, from its jam band roots to hosting artists like Deadmau5 and other electronic artists.
“We celebrate so many kinds of music,” said Fleck. “We celebrate everything and that feels good.”