My First ‘Roo: Umphrey’s McGee, Dawes, Dispatch, Delta Spirit, ALO, Wyllys
Bonnaroo Class: ‘09
Delta Spirit has only played Bonnaroo once, but frontman Matt Vasquez still describes that set as the band’s most “surprising and thrilling” show to date. Still a young band at the time, Delta Spirit overcame travel problems, inclement weather and even a missing bass player to deliver one of the biggest shows they’ve ever played. Even three years later, fans continue to trace their love of the band back to that set. Delta Spirit should covert even more fans when they make their debut on the massive Which Stage. Part of an extended tour in support of their self-titled album, Delta Spirit’s set will showcase a new batch of big, diverse songs.
Since they describe Bonnaroo as a “giant tour reunion,” we also won’t be surprised if we catch some of the band’s members checking out a few other performers on or off stage as well. Multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich recounts the curious circumstances leading up to the band’s 2009 Bonaroo debut.
How does Bonnaroo compare to other festivals you have played?
It’s definitely one of the bigger festivals we’ve played. Every festival has its own unique character. Sasquatch! has the Gorge, Lollapalooza has Chicago, Coachella has the California desert. Bonnaroo has a very organic, natural feel to it. It has something for everyone.
Describe your craziest Bonnaroo experience.
Probably the craziest, most memorable Delta Spirit festival experience came from Bonnaroo 2009. To preface, Delta Spirit has always had the worst luck when it comes to flying. So on the way to Bonnaroo, the day before we play, it was no surprise that our connecting flight through Dallas was delayed. An hour delay turned into a 2 hour delay, into 3 hours, and eventually it was cancelled. We still had 24 hours before our set time at 7pm on Thursday. But as our luck goes, there were no later flights that evening. All the planes in Dallas were grounded because of a hurricane or some sort of crazy weather. So we ended up rescheduling our flight for 8:30am the next morning, still with plenty of time to get the festival. Again, our new flight was cancelled – the weather was still insanely bad. At this point, we’re scrambling to get on any flight we can, in order to make it in time for our set. Flight after flight is getting cancelled, and we’re starting to get worried. Eventually, after a day from hell in the airport, we miss our 7pm set time at Bonnaroo. Needless to say we’re bummed, but we figure we might as well go to the festival since we’re half way there already. Somehow we snag 5 spots on a standby list, the only catch is we have our bass player Jon’s wife Amy with us, making 6 total. When it comes time to board the plane, Jon decides he’ll stay back with her, since we missed our set anyway, and they’ll come later. As soon as we get on the plane, we get a call from our manager saying they rescheduled our set time. Passion Pit was nice enough to not only let us play after them, but to let us use their gear. Our set is on, and we now play at 12:30am in That Tent. The only problem is, we don’t have a bass player. I call Jon, yell at him for staying back with his wife (haha) and tell him to bribe whoever he can to get on a plane to Bonnaroo. He gets a flight into Hunstville, which is about an hour and a half away from Bonnaroo, rents a car, drives 90 mph non-stop, only to get to the festival 5 minutes before we’re supposed to play, throws on a bass, and we start the show. What makes this story even better, is that it was pouring rain, so literally everyone at the festival was trying to crowd under our tent, making for a crowd upwards of 10,000 people. We played one of the most intense, energetic shows we’ve ever played. People were losing their minds. We went through hell to get there, but Bonnaroo 2009 was the best festival performance we’ve played yet!
What band would you most like to collaborate with at Bonnaroo this year?
Not sure who we would collaborate with, but definitely excited to see a bunch of bands. Radiohead, Bon Iver, the Roots, Black Star, the War on Drugs, Here We Go Magic, the list goes on…Also excited to see friends bands, which is what’s so great about festivals. It’s like a giant tour reunion.