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Florence + The Machine at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee on 06/14/15. Photo by: Matthew McGuire.
Florence + The Machine at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee on 06/14/15. Photo by: Matthew McGuire.

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How to Write a Banjo Concerto
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Live at The Bluegrass Situation
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Sunday Sunset at Bonnaroo
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Live on the What Stage – 06/14/15
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Photos & Words by: Matthew McGuire
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Béla Fleck
Co-Director: How to Write a Banjo Concerto
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Béla Fleck hosted a film screening of a project he co-directed with his younger brother, Sascha Paladino.

The two put together a documentary that followed Fleck’s road to writing a concerto for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Fleck interviewed members of the orchestra and built a better understanding of each instrument, as well as giving the viewing audience a window into the personalities of the musicians in the orchestra.
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Sunday morning broke with a peaceful sunrise over the festival grounds. It was bittersweet knowing that it was the last day of the event, but also knowing the series of concerts that was about to take place in one day.

The weather all weekend had been warm at moments, but ideal for June in Tennessee.

Ed Helms talked about putting together a curated stage with That Tent for The Bluegrass Situation on Sunday. It hosted traditional, contemporary bluegrass and acoustic music. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn performed midday, as well as the Punch Brothers, and a special bluegrass superjam on Sunday evening.
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“I’ve already started on the second banjo concerto which is due in March.”

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“I found out that watching somebody write is not very interesting, (laughs). I thought that was going to be the most fascinating things of capturing the moment of inspiration.” 

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“In fact, the first time I went to go meet with them, I realized I don’t know about these instruments, so maybe it will be interesting, we’re filming, so maybe we can  film that.” 

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[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Béla Fleck’ subtitle=’How to Write a Banjo Concerto (Film Screening, Q&A)’ link=” linktext=”]

“I would love to do a banjo hip-hop collaboration. I jam along with hip-hop all the time.”

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Pokey Lafargeis one of my favorite acts touring today. The band is based out of St. Louis, and performs a mix of country blues and early jazz music. It reminds me of the early Jazz Fest days in New Orleans. The midday set was an excellent way to jumpstart a day.

It was heartbreaking to reach The Other Tent at 2:!0 to find out that the Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas set had wrapped early. I was really excited about seeing her live. Her band is busy this summer on the road, so it will make it easier to find them on tour.

Eden, is a French drama film directed by Mia Hansen-Løve and co-written with Sven Hansen-Løve. It was screened at Bonnaroo at 2:40 p.m. It would be interesting to see more films debut at Bonnaroo, as well as new records from musicians.

It would give an opportunity for filmmakers and musicians to interact with one another. I find that soundtracks are lacking in the majority of the mainstream movies being produced, but that was not the case with Eden.
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Poke LaFarge at The Which Stage
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The Bluegrass Situation hosted a large selection of string instruments to dance to on Sunday afternoon. It was a relaxing way to begin to cool down after a big weekend. Bonnaroo does a good job of lining up a wide range of artists to give guests a buffet of entertainment.

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn held an acoustic set of non-traditional bluegrass music Sunday. It was my first time seeing them play and sing together. Their love for music is noted in the tone of their voices and instruments.
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[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’Sunday Press Conference ‘ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

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Aaron Bruno, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
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Béla Fleck talks with Aaron Bruno about the similarities and differences in the crowd at Bonnaroo.

“Yeah, it is an incredible festival. You can connect and interact directly with the audience.” – Béla Fleck

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Ralphie May
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Ralphie May walks into the discussion a few minutes late, but greets the press with a warm welcome.

“Hi everybody, how are you? Sorry I’m late, I didn’t mean to f$#k up the momentum.” – Ralphie May

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Press Conference featuring: Ed Helms, Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck, Aaron Bruno and Ralphie May
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BROO’ERS Festival
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[av_testimonial_single src=’10062′ name=’Kent Householder’ subtitle=’Schlafly Sales Representative’ link=’http://’ linktext=”]
What was the differences between the brews that Schlafly presented this weekend at Bonnaroo?

“We had a real light raspberry hefeweizen which is light, refreshing, a little fruit aroma, and a nice tartness without any sweetness from the fruit. Our summer lager which is a Munich style Helles for something truly delicious light lager for those people looking for something absolutely refreshing. You know, it’s 90 degrees at Bonnaroo, you need light, easy drinking beer. But on the same token, there are people here that love our hoppy beers, and want a little more umph to it at night, so we brought some kegs of APA to tap in the evening.”

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Florence + The Machine at the Bonnaroo
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What the Water Gave Me
Ship to Wreck
Shake It Out
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Sweet Nothing
(Calvin Harris cover)
How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Queen of Peace
What Kind of Man
Spectrum
Dog Days Are Over

Setlist source at: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/florence-the-machine/2015/great-stage-park-manchester-tn-6bc93a8e.html
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Florence + The Machine, based out of London, England has captivated the world this year with How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The album has hit #1 in several countries. The band is touring on a fever pitch right now, and their Bonnaroo performance was a reflection of the momentum the group has going into the future.

The group performed one of the best sets of the weekend. After watching Florence Welch break her foot at Coachella online, it was a true surprise to see her running into the crowd at Bonnaroo. Her spirit and love for art is what puts the group over the top.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters are currently touring the globe with old and new material. More Roar, an album that the group released on Record Store Day in April is one of my new favorite pieces of vinyl. Their live set was mild, but I was at a safe distance during their show. It was my first time seeing the legendary Plant on stage, and he did excellent for a person that is +65 years old.

Billy Joel was good and bad in a lot of ways. My dad saw his tour with Elton John a few years ago, and said the set at Bonnaroo was no comparison. My view on the show was that Joel is a legend, similar to Plant, but they both play it safe on stage. A lot of the performances over the weekend seemed too polished for my taste. I would rather see new collaborations on stage that doesn’t go perfectly, instead of the standard show.

Joel continues to perform at an above average pace, but could take more chances at the same time.

Overall, the Bonnaroo Music Festival is a special annual event that pulls in the hottest talent in the world to compete on over ten stages. Preparation is a key element to this festival. The more times that I attend, the more I understand about planning ahead. It has become a second home for me and my family.
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[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’Bonnaroo Review: Thursday – Sunday’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

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Raury, Rubblebucket, Tove Lo, Houndmouth, Gramatik & Jungle host hot sets on Thursday.
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Kendrick Lamar, Ben Harper, Odesza, Earth Wind & Fire raise the bar on Friday.
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Mumford & Sons, Slayer, Bassnectar, My Morning Jacket + the Superjam! on Saturday.
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Billy Joel, Robert Plant, Ed Helms with the Bluegrass Superjam + Pokey LaFarge on Sunday.
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