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Published: 2009/04/24

A Bit More on Bonnaroo (with Girl Talk, Andrew Bird and Aziz Ansari)

Bonnaroo just got it rightthey have been the model for other festivals, said multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Andrew Bird during the first of two Bonnaroo 2009 Press Conferences which also featured festival vets Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk and funnyman Aziz Ansari. I have seen the same model, and I have seen it not quite have the same soul as Bonnaroo.
Bird also touched on his 2006 Bonnaroo performance and shed some light on expectations for this year:
The last time was special for sure and kind of triumphant. That was a while ago, and weve changed I change pretty rapidly from week-to-week, so who knows. He continued, This time I just hope its as good. I know we are not playing in the tent this time, were playing a more open area, so it will be different for sure.
Gillis discussed how Bonnaroo helped his electronic sampling style get greater exposure across a demographic that may not otherwise consider seeing him in a live setting.
I love playing to different audiences. I love playing some places where it might be slightly inappropriate or it might be weird or it might be different, he said. Going into Bonnaroo 2007, I wasnt sure how it would go over, but I was excited for the potential then. I thought the show went really well, and from there I feel like a lot of other kind of [jam-leaning] festivals have opened up to me.
I want it to be as diverse as possible. If you look at the rest of the festivals I am playing over the summer and the other shows I am playing, and where I go, I think being a part of Bonnaroo a couple years ago definitely impacted that.
Unlike most other music festival, Bonnaroo also programs a wide range of comedians and Ansari, for one, cant seem to get enough. I have done Bonnaroo a few times and it is always so much fun and that is why I keep coming back, he said.
When asked why he feels comedy is such an integral part of a music festival, Ansari joked, I think because the tent is air-conditioned its a good way for people to cool off.
He also joked that he was most excited to see Led Zeppelin and The Beatles among other acts that are no longer actually touring. On a more serious note, he elaborated, You know you can see all these different genres, you might as well be able to see some comedy. He went on, There is such an overlap of the audiences music fans and comedy fans that I guess it is kind of a cool thing for us [comedians] to be able to perform for all these music fans.
Gillis also notes that the annual festival has also made waves outside Tennessee. Bonnaroo is one of these festivals that after I played it two years ago when I go to Europe, go to Florida, go to California, wherever, you always get someone in the front row screaming, Bonnaroo! They were a part of that experience.
The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will return to Manchester, TN from June 11-14. Report by Matt Franciscovich

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