MANCHESTER, Tenn.—If the 10th Bonarroo Music & Arts Festival seemed a little different from previous ones to regular attendees, there were two good reasons, according to co-producer Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment.
“There are a couple of elements in play,” he said of the festival, which ended Sunday. “It was our 10th so we threw a birthday party, and there was a lot of effort done to make it special. Also, now that we’ve owned the property for a few years and we’ve even added a few more acres this year, we’ve been able to develop that. So you have both dynamics.”
A huge fireworks display ended Eminem’s show Saturday night, and fans were awed by a parachute team that colored the sky with LED confetti prior to the Arcade Fire show Friday.
“That was awesome,” said Marsha Drummond, of New York.
Capps said he and his co-producers at Superfly Productions now own about 630 acres of the more than 700 acres the festival occupies for six days each June in Manchester, Tenn.
The additional land allowed some changes to be made, primarily in the backstage area, he said.
Capps said this year’s festival was a “fantastic event,” with a sold-out crowd of 80,000. He put the total number, including guests and crew, at 85,000.
One of the changes that repeat attendees noticed was an increase in VIP amenities, including a tent and bathrooms inside Centeroo.
“We try to improve the experience of everyone across the board, and the VIP experience is something everyone has embraced,” he said.
Joe Natural has been selling handmade braided leather pieces in his store, Joe Natural, at Bonnaroo for seven years. He said the first year was his best financially, but he believes this year could rival that.
“I’ve had a good festival,” he said. “Maybe even a great one.”
Natural does festivals in the United States for two months in the spring and fall. He spends the rest of the year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
“I love Bonnaroo,” he said. “It’s a reflection of the wild and untamed spirit. You either love it or you are bonded by it.
“Who is going to sit in the mud and listen to great music? It is a good snapshot, not of the normal, but of what is out there. It is the hardest festival for me to work, but the funnest.”
The festival got off to tragic start on Thursday with the death of 32-year-old Beth Myers, of Harrisburg, Penn. The cause of death is pending. Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said Sunday that the rest of the festival had a normal number of arrests and citations.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...