The first day at Bonnaroo is usually the driest when it comes to the acts. Most are tired from the drive and setting up their campsites and the majority of the bigger name headliners don’t perform until Saturday or Sunday.
But topping The All State‘s first day at Roo will be a difficult task after meeting many different people, having Danish punk-rock band Iceage and indie-rock giant Mac Demarco share emphatic performances and eating the best festival food around.
After three hours of waiting in the line of cars containing 90,000 of our closest friends all eagerly waiting to make it to the campgrounds, the festival gates finally came and went and setting up camp was the next task.
After wrestling with tents, tarps and air mattresses for more than an hour, the festival food and air conditioning of Centeroo drew us in.
There were many different interesting people along the way like Danielle Scarano.
Scarano, who was standing near the tent line twirling a hula hoop while eating an apple, is from Boston. She said this was her first Bonnaroo experience.
“I’m here with my brother,” Scarano said. “This is his sixth Bonnaroo. I don’t get to see him very often so he told me ‘You’re coming with me this year.'”
There were many merchandise tables selling pipes, t-shirts and ponchos along the way.
Finally, the grand Bonnaroo arch was in the distance and getting closer meant the sounds of high fives, cheers and acts playing early in the day became increasingly louder.
The act of giving a high five at Bonnaroo is part of the lifestyle, so walking through the main Bonnaroo arches provides you with a countless number of them after you finally make it through.
“This Tent” stage was populated almost entirely of punk and metal artists, from the Australian Courtney Barnett to the intense Brooklyn, NY trio, Unlocking the Truth.
The third performer of “This Tent” was the Danish quartet, Iceage, who put on an excited and angry performance. The band started off with technical difficulties, to which lead vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt growled, “It would seem that something is wrong.” This is important because Iceage’s entire performance revolved around Rønnenfelt’s angsty persona.
Rønnenfelt yelled lyrics at the crowd with his hair swinging in his face and he only acknowledged the crowd when he had to, introducing songs and saying goodbye at the end of the set.
The next set was the American-psychedelic rock band, The Growlers.
The Growlers performed a medley of tracks from throughout their discography.
Following The Growlers was acclaimed punk rocker, Courtney Barnett.
Barnett sauntered out on stage a few minutes before her performance was scheduled to begin and introduced herself and her band.
She then proceeded to run around the stage, playing scorching guitar riffs and letting out an elated “Thanks” after the applause for each song she played concluded.
Barnett’s finale was her song, “Depreston” from her most recent LP “Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.” The song is a slower track and Barnett was able to get her whole audience to sway and sing along together.
The final performer for the night was pop rocker, Mac Demarco.
Demarco is known for his antics on stage, from being detained at UV Santa Barbara to having his mother crowd surf with him at a separate concert.
His Bonnaroo performance was no exception.
Demarco came out on stage and greeted his audience using a high-pitched voice and introduced his band consisting of drummer Joey, bassist Pierce, and guitarist, Andrew.
Demarco played songs from his three releases “Salad Days,” “2” and “Rock and Roll Night Club.”
Demarco engaged the crowd throughout his show, and his show could have been mistaken for a show held in the Bonnaroo comedy barn because of the chemistry these four band mates share.
Demarco crowd surfed his way through his final song, and after making his way back to the stage, thanked his audience for coming, only to be pulled back on stage to the audience chanting, “One more song.”
Demarco and his band waltzed back on stage and picked up their instruments as guitarist Andrew bragged, “We didn’t plan this at all.”
The band then played their own rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” featuring ad-libbed vocals from Demarco.
The audience was pleased with the encore and Demarco and his band once again exited the stage.
And many Bonnaroovians went back to their camps for a much-needed rest.