Society lied to you when it led you to believe that Disney World is the happiest place in the world. Bonnaroo is the happiest place in the world. Full of positive vibes, great music, even better people, and even a Ferris wheel, I guess it’s not really that different from Disney World. But it is… Bonnaroo has an indescribable quality that makes it uniquely the happiest place in the world.
And Bonnaroo 2015 was no different. We danced till sunrise, we made new friends, sang till our lungs hurt, and ate more Spicy Pie pizza than we should have. We saw proposals, weddings, a ton of beautiful people, and some of the best shows of our lives.
Here’s a list of the top 16 (because we tried limiting the list to 15, but we couldn’t) shows we saw this year.
- Run The Jewels – I’ll be honest, we really weren’t expecting much from this show, but Run The Jewels put on one of the highest energy shows of the weekend.
- Tanya Tagaq– WOW! We were not fans of her throat singing before Bonnaroo, but her show made us believers. Watching her get lost in her art was a magical experience, and definitely the strangest, most unique thing we’ve EVER seen on the farm.
- Spicy Pie Pizza – Okay, so technically not a show, but the best pizza in the world deserves a spot on this list.
- Tears For Fears – How could we not love it? We knew almost all of their songs, and they sounded almost exactly the same as they did 30 years ago. Plus, their cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” had the whole crowd singing along, and it was definitely one of the highlights of Friday night.
- Brandi Carlile – Brandi Carlile wasn’t even originally a part of our schedule, but boy did we feel stupid for that when we happened to be in the vicinity of her Which Stage performance. We were quickly swept in to one of the best rock n’ roll shows on the farm.
- Childish Gambino – Without a doubt the best hip-hop show of the weekend.
- Punch Brothers / Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester – It’s a tie. We simply couldn’t put one above the other. They may be number 10 on our overall list, but they were definitely THE best bluegrass shows we saw.
- Flying Lotus – The music was great, but what really got us were his visuals that transported us into another world. His booth was set up between two transparent screens giving the audience some crazy illusions.
- Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – We knew this band was capable of great things from the beginning, and their Sunday afternoon set was proof of that. If you ever get the chance to see them live, don’t miss it.
- STS9 – Their sound is electronic, but they’re entirely an instrumental band, so the live results are astounding. And their light show is pretty great, too.
- My Morning Jacket – Jim James didn’t even introduce himself. He just got up there and rocked, and it was great.
- Gary Clark Jr. – In the words of a dear friend, “He’s so humble. He gets up there, and all he needs to say is ‘hello’ and ‘goodnight’. He just fuckin’ plays his guitar.”
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra – UMO was no surprise. Isn’t it great when a show is everything you wanted it to be? They sounded incredible, and they played all of our favorite songs.
- Sylvan Esso – We’ve seen this duo before, and we didn’t think it could possibly get any better, but it did. Their Bonnaroo set was FLAWLESS. Amelia Meath slays.
- Flume – Flume was the most fun we’ve ever had at a show. His brand of electronic is just so unique.
- Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters – Seeing Robert Plant live was a dream come true. He told stories, he sang some newer stuff, he sang some classics, he rocked.