June 13th, 2009
06:14 PM ET

Bon Iver rocks Bonnaroo

Here’s a quick update from the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

So far Saturday belongs to Bon Iver, the project of indie folk singer Justin Vernon, who just wrapped a rousing set of beautiful, soulful melodies mostly off the band’s standout debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, much of which was recorded in a remote cabin in Wisconsin.

I would haven’t necessarily used the term “rock” to describe the tortured singer/songwriter I if hadn’t just seen it with my own eyes. The 4-piece band took the stage with 2 drum kits and a standing snare drum.

Jamaican reggae pioneers Wailing Souls were the first to grace the main stage today, playing a mix of roots and dancehall-style tracks from throughout their considerable career – more than 20 albums released since the 70s – but the highlight was a funky cover of The Doors’ “Love Her Madly.”

And late-Bonnaroo addition - singer, author, and restaurant-chain mogul Jimmy Buffett - played a set of fan favorites with Ilo and the Coral Reefer Allstars. In case you’re wondering, Bonnaroo has plenty of “parrotheads,” and “landsharks” too. Buffett fans came out in force early Saturday afternoon, spilling well beyond the Which Stage field.

A great start for sure, but the night is just getting underway. Still to come – Of Montreal, Decemberists, Wilco, and headliner Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band before giving way to a late-night lineup including Nine Inch Nails, Ben Harper, and MGMT.

Stay tuned to the Marquee Blog for more updates, and you can also follow my exploits on Twitter.

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Filed under: Bonnaroo • Music

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    Yeah Justin! If any of you want to know more about Justin Vernon and Bon Iver, here is a link to an article I wrote about him for the Alumni Magazine for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. We are proud of him and our other alumnus and Bon Iver band member Sean Carey.


    June 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kimberly

    Just saw them in Orlando last week, and it was the best live performance I've ever been to. The musicianship was fantastic, and since the album was recorded on vintage equipment, the live sound just blew me away.

    I was lucky enough to meet him after the show - what a down to earth guy. His stage banter and haunting music remind me of Elliott Smith.

    June 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tex

    I'm suprised CNN covered this at all.

    For those of you who complain, go to a music site and read articles written by people in the music industry.

    June 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tiffany

    i live right down the rd from bonnaroo and it stays busy and u cant get anywheer around the town this time of yr.. .. love having all the people but we ask that people not be dumb.. and have fun... god bless bonnaroo.. keep it comming.. more people every yr

    June 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    I can't beleive Lakeitu cancelled – they would have been the perfect addition to a great line-up...

    June 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NSK


    Would have loved more information on how Bon Iver infused rock into their set. Thanks!

    June 14, 2009 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Norman Pear

    Hey, CNN. Why don't you send someone to next year's Bonnaroo who knows what he's talking about? Or who writes about music in a halfway interesting manner? This Tyson dude sounds like he would fit in better at an opera house.

    June 14, 2009 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. DR

    Bon Iver is the modern day (insert epic classic folk rock band here). Vernon's generation will be remembered through the soundtrack of his hauntingly beautiful music.

    June 14, 2009 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. G. G.

    Bonnaroo looks like it was fun (well except for the mud!!) but it was just the warm for the real party of the summer! ROTHBURY ....that's where we're gonna be .....rockin' it out with The Dead. woohoo!! Nothing but beautiful weather here in Michigan!!

    June 14, 2009 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. mike bizzel


    June 14, 2009 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    no love for Phish? They are the true headliners, and played a rocking set last night.

    June 14, 2009 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Regina Crocker

    My son is at Bonnaroo. He attended Bonnaroo last year and says it will be a yearly event for him. He is a huge fan of Ben Harper!

    June 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    You know that Of Montreal and the Decemberists are going to be great.... haven't seen a live performance by MGMT yet but their album wasn't bad. NIN isn't too shabby either.... again, wish I was at Bonnaroo

    June 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mallory

    I was lucky to see Bon Iver at the sold-out Birmingham show last Saturday. Incredible.

    June 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. simon

    come on skinny love!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Clay

    Sounds like a great show! Watch out for Wilco – a fantastic band at the peak of their creative power. Enjoy!

    June 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |

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