Photos from ‘Bonnaroo’

on May 4, 2012

Welcome arch

The glowing arch welcome fans to the place "where strangers smile and say hello, where hippies hang out with indie rockers, where dancing is as common as standing, where lifelong friendships are forged, and where indellible memories are made."

Aerial photo

Photographer Douglas Mason captured this aerial view of the 700-acre Bonnaroo site.

James Hetfield

Metallica's James Hetfield hams it up for the camera backstage before the band's appearance at Bonnaroo 2008.

Conan O'Brien

"I dove into the crowd at my show and suddenly realized that no one had bathed in four days," says the late-night talk-show host and comedian, who appeared at Bonnaroo in 2010. "It was a strange combination of erotic and disgusting."

James Brown

"The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" worked up a sweat—and worked the crowd into a funkafied frenzy—at Bonnaroo 2003.

Bruce Springsteen

"The Boss" waded out into a sea of his fans at Bonnaroo 2009.

Kings of Leon

"We're proud to represent the state of Tennessee," said Nathan Followill of the Nashville-based band Kings of Leon after the group played Bonnaroo in 2004. "We're the locals, so it's good to put out there that the South can put on a good festival."

Dave Matthews Band

"People come and hang out in the middle of nowhere to smell each other's funk and listen to great, eclectic music from all corners of the industry. To get this many people together in one place, and be peaceful, that's the power of the weekend," said Dave Matthews.

Jay-Z

"Wait till I tell Mom Stevie Wonder stayed for my set!" gushed rapper Jay-Z, who played Bonnaroo in 2010.

Phish

The band Phish performs at Bonnaroo 2009.

Fountain

"I remember my first day at Bonnaroo. The energy was incredible. My two friends and I rushed to set up our campsite and get into Centeroo. It was honestly like walking into an entirely different world—a wonderful escape from the worries and burdens of everyday life." —Carlin Salmon, fan, Wildwood, Mo.

'Bonnaroo'

Buy the book