Although Tennessee's Bonnaroo started out as the ultimate, modern-day "hippie festival" — it was once even even brutally, but hilariously skewered as such by those evil kids on TV's South Park — it has in recent years become much more than a showcase for jam bands like Phish and My Morning Jacket.
Over the years, Bonnaroo has in fact hosted everyone from Radiohead to Tom Petty to Willie Nelson to Metallica on its way to becoming what is arguably now the biggest of all the big summer music festivals. Rumor has it that none other than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will headline this year's Bonnaroo.
2008's lineup at Bonnaroo was as diverse as any in the festival's venerable history. In addition to the bands you'd more or less expect — I mean what's Bonnaroo without My Morning Jacket, right? — Bonnaroo 2008 featured everything from punk (Against Me!) to funky R&B (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings) to metal (Metallica, Mastodon) to the God-knows-what-genre-it-is of Gogol Bordello. It seems these days that Bonnaroo is striving to be Lollapalooza as much as it is Woodstock.
All of this is captured on Live From Bonnaroo 2008, which condenses the entire Bonnaroo experience into roughly 100 minutes on DVD. Interspersed between performances by sixteen bands are plenty of crowd shots from the festival, which give this DVD the rock-doc feel of something like Woodstock or Monterey Pop.
There are interviews with both the diehards who come from all over the country to attend each year, as well as the so-called "Bonna-rookies." The film provides a pretty good overview of all the action, from the big boys on the mainstage, to the makeshift rave in a tent, to the comedy stage (where a stand-up comic compares his act to Metallica's). Both the video and 5.1 audio mix (taken direct from the soundboard) are stellar throughout.