Checking in from Bonnaroo, part 2: endless music

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Kendrick Lamar performs at Bonnaroo
Kendrick Lamar performs on the main stage at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)

If you haven't been to Bonnaroo, the best way to describe the experience is an endless day of music. The festival is only broken into a daily schedule so you know when to eat, sleep and call home. It's a unique sensory rollercoaster that is hard to capture without actually transporting you here.

Friday for Team Current began with a live broadcast from the radio compound behind the main stage of the festival. There is a nonstop scramble to get a minute with artists between their panel discussions and live recordings in the Haybale studio. There is camaraderie between radio and press that is unlike any other music festival. And as the sun started to set and the heat dissipated, the media tent was abandoned for the beginning of the headlining acts.

Dawes took the main stage on Friday to warm up the already overheated crowd with their new single, "Things Happen." There was a definite crowd surge after Dawes for festival co-headliners Alabama Shakes. The band, who were just in Minneapolis for two shows, took the stage with a confident swagger that comes only from sharing the stage with Prince. Brittany Howard looked regal in her purple-and-gold dress that made the already shining star light up under the afternoon sun.

Hardcore Bonnaroo goers claim that everything sounds better here, and the massive crowd inspires artists to bring out some of the best performances of the summer. This couldn't have been more true for Kendrick Lamar, who had 70,000 hands in the air as the sun set over the hills of Tennessee. He's one of the best rappers of the last decade, and he knows it. His talent is unsurpassed by any of the acts thus far at Bonnaroo. After he owned the stage for more than an hour, he later joined Earth, Wind and Fire for a set with Chance the Rapper. Other highlights from Friday included Atmosphere, Royal Blood, and much talked-about set by Tears for Fears.

As Friday turned into Saturday, Odesza closed out the evening with a set of hard dance tracks accompanied by a horn section. Under a glowing tent, the ground pulsed from the bass off the PA and the dancing that persisted even after they left the stage.

All that and we're only halfway through the festival.

Listen for Jade's check-ins from Bonnaroo throughout the weekend.

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  • Checking in from Bonnaroo: 'This place is bonkers' The Current's Jade, travelling with staffers David Safar and Matt Perkins, gives a day 1 recap of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Listen on Friday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as Jade broadcasts live from Bonnaroo, sharing updates and insights about the artists performing there.

4 Photos

  • Elle King and Jade at Bonnaroo
    Elle King and Jade at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)
  • Sign to the Haybale Sessions at Bonnaroo
    Rustic sign to the Haybale Sessions at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)
  • Music industry discussion panel at Bonnaroo
    Music industry discussion panel at Bonnaroo (MPR photo/David Safar)
  • Jade and Matt Perkins working in the media tent
    Jade and Matt Perkins working in the tent in the media area. (MPR Photo / David Safar)

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