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Visions of Bonnaroo 2008: Thursday and Friday

I went to Bonnaroo this year not knowing what to expect. What follows is the chronicle of what turned out to be my greatest Bonnaroo yet. Many thanks to Dean Budnick and Ken Weinstein for letting me shoot Pearl Jam and Metallica, and the other photographers, press, and friends which make this such a joy to cover every year. And a special shout-out to Jonathan Metts.

Horse grazing along Grolsch Rd about mile from the festival entrance. Welcome to Tennessee!

Crowdsurfing before MGMT

Ben Goldwasser of MGMT

Grupo Fantasma

They repainted the arch this year. Party foul, good sirs.

The Sword (of Doom) was our metal appetizer before Metallica. Hair a-flyin’ everywhere.

Ezra Koenig of Vampire weekend as they combine neo-Fabian teen idolism with quality Afropop to create something that is good music yet still somewhat scary.

John Kadlicek of Dark Star Orchestra.

Lez Zeppelin I have a crush on a woman I have absolutely no chance with.

Porter and Batiste jam out in the Somethin’ Else New Orleans tent.

Oh yes. The fountain at night. For every year that I do this, I will always shoot the fountain at night for the silhouettes.

Hightide Blues lead singer Paul McDonald with Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

Umphrey’s McGee in the daytime, to the sadness of some. Nonetheless, they totally killed.

M.I.A. performs what she called her “last show ever, and I’m glad I’m spending it with all my hippies.” This was one of the highlights of Bonnaroo, especially for the 80 or so crowd members she brought onstage with her.

Chris Rock performs to one of the largest audiences in stand-up comedy history. Introduced by Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, he kills.

Napster-killers Metallica were the most controversial and pooh-poohed headlining choice in Bonnaroo history. They came to Bonnaroo and totally burned the house down, winning over fans with an epic show, pyrotechnics, constant energy, the statement that “Metallica is here to make you feel better” and shirts that advertised “peace, love, and metal.” I’m sorry I doubted you on this one guys.

The crowd sings along to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and knocks something else off the ever-dwindling list of “Things I Never Thought I’d See at Roo”

Lars Ulrich eats our mp3s.

Camaraderie and smiles for Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

Rob Trujillo headbanging through “Ride the Lightning.”

Metallica working the crowd. Headlining a hippie festival has to be one of the greatest displays of cojones in metal history.

Jim James of My Morning Jacket belts his way through approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes of one hell of a show, covering Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” and bringing out Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

The dude you see dancing behind the hot girls at MSTRKRFT in the grey T-shirt? Yeah, that’s me, and this was a highlight of my festival. They didn’t kick me offstage because I wasn’t a hot girl, and I agreed to send them my pictures in return. Photo by unknown photographer using my camera.

JFK and ALH of MSTRKRFT pump up the crowd. Big shout-out to Adrian Martinez for letting me shoot from the stage.

The pumped-up MSTRKRFT crowd raves out.

Tiesto takes the transition from house to trance and keeps the party going until 4:45 a.m. He was also cool enough to sign autographs at the signing tent, and brought out Jose Gonzalez, the Cary Brothers, and Tegan and Sara in the Bonnaroo spirit of collaboration.

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