We all post about the bands who are playing, we wish were playing, who shouldn't be playing. I thought an interesting spin on this whole line of conversation would be to talk about the bands that we had never heard or heard of before we went to Bonnaroo or any other festival (so as not to exclude first-timers).
As I've posted before, so much about what I love about Bonnaroo (and other similar festivals), is hearing some artist on a side stage, totally falling in love with their music, and getting hooked on their groove (i.e. upload their shows, catch them whenever they're in town, buy their albums, etc.). From reading other people's posts, I get the feeling that many of the rest of you feel similarly. Here's my list - I'll limit it to Bonnaroo...
John Butler Drums & Tuba Robert Randolph NMA Ben Kweller Kaki King MMJ Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Erin McKeown Marc Broussard Gomez
The biggest things that come to mind are: RRFB MMJ Ray Lamontagne
If you include bands that I was aware of and had listened to some but didn't really dig into until they were announced for Bonnaroo then the list would be even longer. The most important name on that list for me would be Wilco. My musical tastes and interests have expanded considerably in the last month just from the Bonnaroo announcement, and I haven't even seen most of these bands yet.
The biggest one for me was Toots and the Maytals...I was aware of them, but had never listened to them until last year's 'Roo. Probably my favorite show of the weekend. Another one would be Xavier Rudd. Had never heard of him until 'Roo '04, had a great time watching him. Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Rilo Kiley, and Keller Williams are a few others I hadn't heard until Bonnaroo.
-Umphrey's in 2004- this show has had the biggest impact on me. I went expecting to watch 2 or 3 songs and my jaw just dropped. I didnt move for the next 4 and half hours. It's been a year and a half and that show has inspired me to see Umphrey's 8 times since. I just can't get enough.
-Garaj a Trois in 2003 - This show just flat out rocked. Had never heard them before although I was familiar with Charlie Hunter and Stanton Moore.
-Yonder Mountain Sting Band every year- Never listened to bluegrass but something about listening to these boys on a sunny afternoon while sipping a beer in a big field with good people just hit me right. There show from last year just absolutely killed. Probably my fav. show from last year.
some others I've been turned onto at 'roo are Sound Tribe Sector 9, Flaming Lips, and Mars Volta. I've enjoyed a TON more but these are the bands that I had never listened to or given a chance before seeing them at 'roo.
Of the past previous 2 'Roos I went to, for me, it is the Secret Machines hands down. I went to this show last year, knowing nothing from them. I was so completely blown away by them, plus the light show added some effects.
Honrable Mentions: Erin McKeown (04) Burning Spear (04) Madeleine Peyroux (05, and I still can't find a copy that show, even though I saw a taper or two) Iron & Wine (05)