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Creature Comfort's Taylor Cole sums up what it means for the band to have been picked to play this year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in one word: Everything.

The group is scheduled to perform today at 2:45 p.m., and bandmates Jessey Clark, Cole Bearden and Nick Rose all offer similar notes.

"It is the highlight of our career so far," Rose said.

"I'm hoping it's the turning point," Cole said.

Clark agreed, and went a step further.

"I'm hoping it leads to being able to quit my day job."

Clark is a pharmacist, but said he would happily give that up to be able to pay his bills with the money he makes from playing with the band.

Creature Comfort, a Nashville- based quartet, won this year's Road to Roo and the right to perform during the festival. All four are from the Nashville area and have been attending the Bonnaroo festival in Coffee County, Tenn., for years.

Clark said in the past he has left frustrated.

"Not because the music wasn't good, but because I felt like it should be us up there," he said.

Bearden said the band has used the opportunities to watch and learn.

"Every show becomes a critique," he said. "We pick them apart and look for things to use ourselves."

On Thursday before the band's performance, Cole said the reality of being "on the other side of the fence" literally and figuratively didn't hit him until he looked at the "artist" wristband on his arm.

"We've always been in general camping, so to look at it and it says "Artist" and we can go backstage and into areas we never could before, it's just so cool."

Rose said the band will release their new single "Common Johnny (Southern Comfort)" on Tuesday.

Friday was the first full day of music, food, shopping, comedy and cinema with all of the stages full and active. U2 was the day's big event, with a late-night show that got underway at 11 p.m. Playing throughout the day were Glass Animals, The xx, Angelique Kidjo, who performed the Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" in its entirety, Cold War Kids and Portugal. The Man.

Today's lineup features headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, Tegan & Sara, Warpaint and Cage The Elephant.

In addition to the addition of The Oasis, a beach-like retreat with palm trees and sand, organizers replaced The Other Tent with The Other stage and dedicated it to electronic dance music and hip-hop. The sound system was upgraded to deliver more bass.

Also, improvements were made to the general camping area, according to Jeff Cueller, vice president of Strategic Planning for AC Entertainment, co-producer of the event. Both of the moves are a part of the festival's evolution and designed to attract a new generation of Bonnaroo fans.

"You have to change," Cueller said before the event. "What worked 10 years ago, doesn't work today."

He said they've improved the bathroom and shower areas in general camping and added more interactive art activities that can be altered by festivalgoers throughout the weekend.

Friends Kaitlyn Graham, 20; Amelia Markozich, 18; and Morgan Thomson, 18, all said they have everything they need near them in general camping.

"Everything is close, and they have a general store in case you forgot something like ice or propane, or a table and even cabanas," Graham said.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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