Bonnaroo 2016 Day 1: Review and Photos

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Bonnaroo 2016 Day 1: Review and Photos

Bonnaroo 2016 is officially underway, and this year’s festivities mark the 15th anniversary of the festival in Manchester, Tennessee. ‘Roo artifacts from the festivals’ 15 years—”15 years of magic,” as this year’s branding describes it—were displayed throughout the grounds, including the custom throne Solomon Burke sat on during his set in 2008. Although Thursday evening is traditionally a way to ease into the madness, the first day didn’t pull any punches, offering strong sets from some fantastic artists.

Paste will be at Bonnaroo all weekend, so be sure to check back each day for our continued coverage. In the meantime, check out photos from day 1 in the gallery and read about the day’s highlights below.


The only people more excited for Hinds’ set than the eager crowd at the Who stage on Thursday night were the members of Hinds themselves. Even though the Madrid quartet was jetlagged—they were sure to point out that they were playing at 3 a.m. their time and therefore, technically, “headlining Bonnaroo”—they were palpably excited to be playing the festival (and playing in Tennessee for the first time). They tore through favorites from this year’s Leave Me Alone, including “Garden,” “San Diego,” “Chili Town” and a cover of Thee Headcoats’ “Davey Crockett,” dancing, grinning, even dabbing a few times during what turned out to be a fun, loose set.

Twin Peaks

Mention Twin Peaks to anyone and the first thing you’ll hear back is “those guys just don’t give a fuck.” (Seriously. Try it. It worked three times for me this morning.) And that’s because they don’t. But that’s not to say they’re sloppy or anything less than great. In fact, that laissez-faire attitude is part of what makes any Twin Peaks set such a fun time, and Thursday night at the This Tent was no exception. Clad in a Superman outfit (cape and all), Cadien Lake James and his bandmates breezed through songs from 2014’s Wild Onion as well as this year’s Down in Heaven. And if it seemed like they could care less, the crowd packed into the tent ate up every second.


BØRNS—real name Garrett Borns—drew one of the biggest crowds of the night on Thursday at the This Tent. With the two main stages closed until Friday, it felt like almost the entire farm descended upon the psych-pop singer’s set. He didn’t disappoint, performing favorites from last year’s Dopamine, and if anything it served as a reminder that he’s due for a new album soon.


I’ve been hearing fantastic things about LIzzo’s live performances for months now, but Thursday night at the That Tent was my first opportunity to see her, and I’m so glad I did. So far, she’s the set to beat at this year’s Bonnaroo, delivering a set that you could feel elevating her to a new level of recognition in real-time. She felt it too, closing things out with an intense version of “Faded”—which featured some of the rapper/singer’s strongest vocals of the night—and remarking “Bonnaroo, you’ve changed my life” before humbly exiting the stage. If we live in a just world, we’ll be seeing her on much bigger stages in the next year.