“Bonnaroo is kind of the same style of festival as we are a band,” Nathan Followill of Bonnaroo headliners and Tennessee natives Kings of Leon said during an event press conference on Tuesday. “I think we’re going to feel right at home. Obviously there’s going to be some jitters but if you’re not nervous getting up there playing then you should quit because it’s not fun anymore… But I mean, shit, we’ve got 30,000 cousins that live in Tennessee so I know at least half the crowd’s going to be into it.” Kings of Leon are Bonnaroo veterans, having grown with the festival from a support act to a headliner.
Kings of Leon is currently working on a new album, which Followill says is more “chilled out” and “beach-y” than previous records. According to Followill, it will be hard to limit themselves to only playing a few songs from the forthcoming release. “It’ll be tough not to play the whole [new album] at Bonnaroo. We’re going to try to be very selective of what we play but there will definitely be some new tunes for sure.” Kings of Leon headline Friday night.
A Bonnaroo highlight for Dave Matthews, another festival veteran musician, was when he met Bob Dylan. Matthews says, “We played right after Dylan played and he said, ‘I didn’t play ‘Watchtower’ because I thought you would play it.’ That was a high point for me. I suppose everybody is a crazy fan of Dylan so to have him acknowledge my existence in any way was kind of sweet.”
“I just like the idea of people going somewhere to a destination and hanging out and just having a party, sort of like going camping but listening to really loud music rather than watching birds,” he continues. “Although, I personally would rather watch birds if given the choice.” Dave Matthews Band will headline Sunday night at Bonnaroo and then will embark on a summer tour before taking a break from touring in 2011.
In addition to musical acts, Bonnaroo also boasts numerous comedians this summer. Comedian Jeff Ross plans to roast everyone and everything Bonnaroo-related. Ross says, “I’m like a kid in a candy store. I love music, I love music fans. I’m sitting here right now smoking some medicinal marijuana, getting in the right space. Any targets in mind? I hear Dave Matthews is planning on doing like a super killer long show so maybe I’ll make fun of him for awhile.”
Ross jokes that his roasts will be so rough, he has even asked Bonnaroo to “beef up security around the stage because I’m going to be hitting hard, no prisoners. This one should be really crazy. I think anytime you give me that much to work with – all those crazy hippies out there – to me, it’s like a feeding frenzy.” Ross will perform on Friday and Saturday at the Comedy Theater stage.