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Published: 2012/06/15
by Mike Greenhaus

My First ‘Roo: Umphrey’s McGee, Dawes, Dispatch, Delta Spirit, ALO, Wyllys

Bonnaroo Class: ‘10

This year Dawes joins a growing list of Bonnaroo bands who have graduated from one of the festival’s showcase café stages to a far more spacious tent slot. When the LA-based folk-rock group made their Bonnaroo debut in 2010, their first album North Hills was already picking up steam and had recently attracted the attention of Dave Matthews’ ATO label. Not only did the album’s roots-oriented sound reflect the festival’s grassroots energy, but the members of Dawes immediately embraced Bonnaroo’s collaborative spirit, and they invited kindred souls Edward Sharpe out for a well-timed sit-in. Dawes are still down for a good guest appearance two years and countless accolades later, and the group’s recent onstage jams have included cross-generational icons like Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench and Levon Helm, among many others. They’ve also released a stellar second album, Nothing is Wrong, on ATO and clocked in hundreds of dates around the globe. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith reflects on the band’s humble Bonnaroo beginnings.

What were your expectations of Bonnaroo before you played the festival for the first time?

We didn’t know what to expect. We thought we’d for sure be playing to no one, but we played the perfect size stage and had a great time.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

I remember some folks from Edward Sharpe coming up and helping us sing some songs. I remember some loud stage going on behind us so we had to keep the show loud and the energy high. I also remember being way sweatier than after most shows.

Describe your craziest Bonnaroo experience?

We got up to sing a part of a song with Ed Sharpe and it was insane to see and experience what a show to a packed tent felt like from standing on the stage. We’ve never had that and hopefully will someday.

How does Bonnaroo compare to other festivals you have played?

It’s definitely the wild one, and because of that the fans seem much more excited to get involved and catch everything they possibly can.

What was your quintessential Bonnaroo moment from years past?

Watching Kris Kristofferson join John Prine for “Paradise” during Prine’s encore.

What band would you most like to collaborate with at Bonnaroo this year?

Probably Feist. Im a fan. We’ve even toyed around with working up a cover of her song “Comfort Me.”

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