Bonnaroo Music Festival 2023 | day 5 recap

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The concluding day of Bonnaroo 2023, Sunday, June 17th, kept the 85,000-strong crowd of festival-goers spellbound with a grand curtain call performance by The Foo Fighters. The simmering tension of a potential thunderstorm only heightened the anticipation, adding a dramatic edge to an otherwise electrifying day. But in an instance of atmospheric serendipity, the celestial downpour held off, allowing the final chords to echo across Centeroo before the heavens unleashed their symphony.

Bonnaroo 2023 | Manchester, TN

Attending Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2023 was an unforgettable experience. The festival was held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, TN, which provided the perfect backdrop for over 150 diverse musical acts playing on iconic stages around the clock. The Foo Fighters, Lil Nas X, and Jenny Lewis were just a few of the many performers who gave the best performances and moments of the festival.

Bonnaroo 2023

Bonnaroo 2023 - photos by L. Paul Mann

What made Bonnaroo truly special was the variety of other available activities, including talks, yoga classes, and surprise dance parties. Myriad food options, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free choices, were also available. Bonnaroo's commitment to sustainability was also evident, with a non-profit organization, The Bonnaroo Works Fund, focused on greening practices.

Paris Jackson | Bonnaroo

On the festival's final day, Paris Jackson played for the second time. The first was at one of the campground stages. The second was at This tent at 1245 in the afternoon. The famous prodigy played a strong indie rock set backed by a rocking band. Paris Jackson stole the show with her grunge fairy outfit, wearing a silky white corset top and a floral brown mini-skirt, cream mesh tights, and brown boots. Beyond the fashion statement, the young singer appeared personable, bantering with the early crowd and playing original music well-received by a young Bonnaroo audience.

Sammy Rae | Bonnaroo

Just after 1:45 in the afternoon, the vibrant ensemble of Sammy Rae & The Friends seized the colossal What stage, marking the onset of the final day at Bonnaroo. The animated group's dynamic show, brimming with zest and zeal, injected the air with infectious positivity that reverberated through the vast expanse of the crowd.

Sammy Rae & The Friends | Bonnaroo

The band's frontwoman, Sammy Rae, is a vocal tour de force, commanding the stage with an aura that radiates confidence and connection. Unfazed by the sea of faces, she makes a point to bridge the gap between performer and audience, fostering a sense of intimacy amidst the festival's grandeur. Her frequent crowd interactions pepper the performance with spontaneity and genuine engagement.

Sammy Rae & The Friends

The band's eclectic fusion of soul, funk, and pop reverberates through a remarkably polished performance. The crowd sways, sings, and dances, swept up in the magnetic energy that the band exudes. Among the standout moments of the set are electrifying renditions of “Talk It Up” and “Jackie Onassis.” Adding a touch of nostalgic charm, the band even ventured into a spirited cover of Cher’s iconic hit, “Believe.”

Franz Ferdinand | Bonnaroo

Just after 2.30, The Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand performed on the Which stage. The group from Glasgow put on a high-energy, crowd-pleasing show at Bonnaroo. The band's setlist was a mix of their classic hits and newer material, and they delivered each song with passion and enthusiasm.

Bonnaroo | Manchester, TN

Frontman Alex Kapranos is a charismatic performer who knows how to work in a crowd. He constantly interacted with the audience and even invited a few fans up on stage to sing along. The rest of the band was also tight and energetic, playing their instruments skillfully and precisely. Some of the highlights of the set included "Take Me Out," "The Dark of the Matinée," and "This Fire.”

Abby Hamilton | Bonnaroo

Over on the Who stage at 245 in the afternoon, a new young country music singer was bringing her original tunes to a receptive crowd. From Nicholasville, Kentucky, Abby Hamilton played pleasant mellow songs with a beautiful voice.

Hippo Campus | Bonnaroo

Back on the main stage at 330 pm, Hippo Campus, an American indie rock band from Saint Paul, Minnesota, took over. The band put on a great show for a large sweaty crowd braving the hot summer afternoon sun. The band's dreamy indie rock sound was perfect for the festival setting, and the crowd was really into it.

The band opened with "South," one of their most popular songs, and the crowd immediately started singing along. They played a mix of old and new songs, including “Sex Tape,” “Moonshine,” and "Way It Goes.”

Hippo Campus | Bonnaroo

The band's live sound is just as good as their recorded sound. The guitars are lush and atmospheric, and frontman Jake Luppen's vocals are clear and soulful. The band also has a great stage presence, and they were having a lot of fun playing together.

One of the show's highlights was when they performed their new song, "Boys." The song is a beautiful ballad about love's power and struck a chord with the crowd. The set ended with a rousing sing-along to their biggest hit, “Buttercup.”

Umphrey's McGee | Bonnaroo

Paying homage to its origins as a prime hub for jam band music, Bonnaroo has always ensured a vibrant inclusion of jam bands in its diverse lineup. On the festival's final day, June 18, 2023, this tradition was remarkably embodied by Umphrey's McGee. Gracing the Which stage at 4:15 pm as part of their 25th Anniversary Tour, the venerated jam band engaged an enthralled crowd with their signature fusion of traditional and innovative sounds.

Brendan Bayliss | Bonnaroo

Their performance, pulsating with energy and musicianship, was also streamed live, enabling fans worldwide to partake in the Bonnaroo experience. Whether witnessed on-site or virtually, Umphrey's McGee's performance was a highlight of the festival, underscoring Bonnaroo's enduring allure for jam band enthusiasts and the band's standing as a distinctive force in the genre.

Cecilia Castleman | Bonnaroo

Back over at the Who stage just after 515 in the afternoon, 21-year-old Tennessee native Cecilia Castleman took the stage to perform original material from her new album produced by the legendary Don Was (also a Bonnaroo alumnus). The singer “compares her writing process to sending envelopes to herself over and over again.” The singer performed an hour of original tunes for an audience enjoying a respite from the sun and the large crowds at the main stages in the shaded tent.

The Revivalists | Bonnaroo

Concurrently on Bonnaroo's main stage, The Revivalists delivered a compelling performance, captivating the festival-goers on the final day with their distinctive blend of soul-infused rock. Their sound, perfectly suited to the festival's vibrant atmosphere, energized an already enthralled crowd. Frontman David Shaw, known for his dynamic stage presence, frequently took exhilarating plunges into the sea of eager fans, adding an extra layer of intimacy to the performance.

David Shaw hanging with the fans | Bonnaroo 2023

The band kicked off their set with a particularly moving highlight - their new track "When I Got You." This poignant ballad, steeped in themes of love and loss, visibly resonated with the audience, tugging at the collective heartstrings. The momentum continued as they launched into a medley of fan favorites, with the crowd spontaneously joining in, their voices harmonizing with the band's.

The Revivalists | Bonnaroo 2023

Their well-curated setlist, a thoughtful blend of both vintage and fresh tracks, featured crowd-pleasers like "Kid," "All My Friends," and "Good Old Days." The Revivalists' signature sound, characterized by soulfully bluesy guitar riffs and Shaw's robust, crystal clear vocals, stood out as they strummed and sang their way into the hearts of the Bonnaroo audience.

Peach Pit | Bonnaroo

Shortly afterward, Peach Pit, an indie pop band from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, whipped the crowd at This tent into a frenzy of crowd surfing and moshing. The band consists of singer and rhythm guitarist Neil Smith, lead guitarist Christopher Vanderkooy, bassist Peter Wilton, and drummer Mikey Pascuzzi.

Peach Pit | Bonnaroo 2023

The band opened with a cover of the Slayer song “Raining Blood," which immediately drove the young audience wild. The young rockers continued with "Tommy's Party," one of their most popular songs, and the crowd immediately started singing along. They played a mix of old and new songs, including "Being So Normal," "Shampoo Bottles," and their signature song, “Peach Pit."

Peach Pit's Neil Smith gets swept away in the crowd

The group puts on a spirited live performance. The guitars are jangly and upbeat, and frontman Smith's vocals are clear and catchy. The band also has a great stage presence and seemed to revel in their Bonnaroo appearance.

Girl in Red | Bonnaroo 2023

Back on the Which stage, as the sun began to set and painted the festival grounds in a bright orange hue, an entirely different act graced the stage. Marie Ulven Ringheim, a Norwegian singer-songwriter and record producer known for her indie pop project Girl in Red, fronted the group in front of a big crowd.

Marie Ulven Ringheim aka Girl in Red

The band opened with “You Stupid Bitch," one of their most popular songs. They played a mix of old and new songs, including "Girls," "Serotonin," and "Body and Mind."

Girl in Red | Bonnaroo 2023

The band's live sound is great guitar-driven rock, highlighting Ulven's clear and catchy vocals. One of the show's highlights was when they performed their new song, "Bad Idea." The song is a catchy anthem about the power of love, and it got the crowd going.

Rebelution | Bonnaroo 2023

Over at That tent, Santa Barbara’s own Rebelution was bringing the Reggae music vibes to a large crowd. The band opened with "Safe and Sound," one of their most popular songs, and the crowd immediately started singing along. They played many well-known songs, including "Feelin' Alright," "Roots Rock Reggae," and “So High."

Rebelution | Manchester, TN

The band's larger-than-life sound with multiple horn players created a rich, layered Reggae rhythm. The guitars were smooth and mellow, and lead singer Eric Rachmany's vocals were clear and soulful. The group had a great stage presence and enjoyed playing together. The band also covered Gregory Isaacs's “Night Nurse.”

Paramore | photo by Astrida Valigorsky

One of the festival's most exciting performances was Paramore's set, which had one of the biggest day four sub-headliner crowds ever. The band took the main What stage at 715 pm. The band, especially lead singer Hayley Williams, from nearby Franklin, Tennessee, are Bonnaroo veterans, performing in 2018. Hayley curated her own stage in the campgrounds in 2019 and performed as part of the Superjam.

Paramore's performance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was a high-energy set that included a mix of classic hits and tracks from their best albums. The setlist included popular songs such as "You First," "That's What You Get," and "Caught in the Middle.”

The Pixies | photo by Astrida Valigorsky

Punk rock veterans, the Pixies closed That tent with a mosh-inducing marathon performance of 23 songs. The band opened with “Gouge Away," one of their most popular songs, and the crowd immediately started singing along. They played a mix of old and new songs, including "Where Is My Mind?", "Here Comes Your Man," and “Hey."

The band's live sound was awesome, highlighted by sharp and angular guitar riffs and frontman Black Francis' vocals, which were clear and haunting.

Black Francis | The Pixies

One of the show's highlights was when they performed their new song, “Haunted House." The song is a dark and atmospheric ballad, and it captured the band's unique sound. The set also included diverse covers like The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On” and Neil Young’s “Winterlong.”

The Foo Fighters | Bonnnaroo | photo by Astrida Valigorsky

Most of the 85,000 must fans at Bonnaroo stuck around for the grand finale by the Foo Fighters at the main What stage just after 930pm. There had been a threat of thunderstorms shutting down the final performance, and when a light rain began to fall just before the set time, a groan could be heard throughout the massive crowd. But the drizzle ceased quickly, offering a pleasant respite from the hot, humid temperatures, and the thunderstorms thankfully held off until long after the band's final notes. The band is on their first tour with new drummer Josh Freese and was in prime form. Inspired by the massive crowd, Dave Grohl led the band in an extended set, adding 15 minutes to their usual hour and forty-five-minute set.

photo by Astrida Valigorsky

The Foo Fighters performance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2023 was highly anticipated and did not disappoint. The set included a surprise collaboration with Paramore's Hayley Williams, who joined them on stage for a rendition of "My Hero" in memory of former drummer Taylor Hawkins. The band included covers from several other bands, including ones that drummer Freese played in, including a medley of Nine Inch Nails, Devo, and the Beastie Boys. Their set featured bagpipes and had the entire crowd dancing and moshing.

Dave Grohl’s daughter Violet joined the band to sing two songs, “Shame Shame” and “Show Me How.” The 19-song set was full of heartfelt interaction with the vast crowd and a spectacular end to a very successful Bonnaroo 2023.