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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: ‘08

For all intents and purposes Dispatch broke up around the time of the first Bonnaroo in 2002. Though the New England-bred rock band came together for a massive farewell show in 2004 and three benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden in 2007, the band’s touring days seemed to be over when singer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Chad Stokes played Bonnaroo with his politically-charged trio State Radio in 2008. But the group’s fan base continued to grow while the trio focused on other bands and charity work, and last year Dispatch reunited for their first tour in a decade. Stokes, bassist/guitarist Pete Francis and drummer/guitarist Brad Corrigan spent time in the studio as well, and the group will release their first studio album since 2000 later this summer. Dispatch are slated to appear on the Which Stage at 8:30 PM this evening while Stokes will sit for a performance and interview with Rock the Earth on the Solar Stage at 2 PM. Before heading to Manchester, TN, Stokes reflected on his previous Bonnaroo experience with State Radio.

What were your expectations prior to your first trip to Bonnaroo?

I was excited to see all the bands and all the camping fans – and honored that State Radio was asked to come down and play under one of the big tents.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

We took our shirts off for the encore (a rare sighting as I get sun burned in the rain) and then I ripped out the chord that goes into my guitar as I jumped over to Chuck’s side of the stage for the climactic last note of the last song – that of course came out silent. Maddog threw his drums off the riser to help me out and all the while the crowd was awesome.

Describe your craziest Bonnaroo experience?

We did a secret show that no one came to because it was secret.

How does Bonnaroo compare to other festivals you have played?

It’s played in the home state of Davy Crockett – pretty cool.

What was your quintessential Bonnaroo moment from years past?

I was with my photographer friend and he said stick around Jack White’s about to be here. But then our manager said Converse was offering us free shoes. So I left and got a pair of shoes. Bad call – never choose shoes over meeting a musician you really like – unless you’re jumping freight trains barefoot, then I’d go with the shoes.

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

Alice Cooper and Ludacris.

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