Rain christens opening day of Bonnaroo
Murs, Portugal the Man get festival under wayMANCHESTER, Tenn. -- As predicted throughout the week, the rains came down midway through opening night at Bonnaroo on Thursday, scattering campers, bringing the ponchos out early and cutting up the festival grounds into mud puddles on an otherwise temperate and diverse opening night.
The storms -- just showers at first, then a fairly pounding mess of thundercracks later on -- sent a good number of folks back to the sprawling camping areas, but most soldiered on to absorb a sprawling night that featured '80s-revivalist buzz band Passion Pit, indie noisemakers Portugal the Man, and hip-hop acts the Knux and Murs. (The Knux accidentally worked the rain into their set, instructing crowd members down to the stage just as the skies opened up, creating a brief run on the covered parts of the Other Tent.)
Thursday night at Bonnaroo is sort of opening night, with no activity at the main What and Which stages and everything gathered at the This, That and The Other Tents (if you're confused by the names, try planning your evening around meeting people at any of them). Portugal the Man worked "One is the loneliest number" into their opening track; the mid-'80s world of shimmering synths and insistent bass was conjured by Passion Pit and Hockey.
A solid hip-hop lineup dominated the Other Tent: indie rapper Murs, shirtless and looking not unlike Lil Wayne (at least from way in the back) amassed a mighty crowd while uncorking a rapid-fire series of rhymes about relationships. By the time he spread his arms and flew around stage on "Stretch My Wings," the crowd was his. The Knux brought the noise on singles "Bang Bang" and "Cappuccino," and brought a crowd of about 30 onstage for a hastily assembled and actually impressive group-dance routine during "Put It In The Air."
By late Thursday night, the rain has ceased and a handful of stars were even visible in the Tennessee skies.
A late addition to the lineup is Jimmy Buffett, who is scheduled to appear in one of Saturday morning's first shows with Ilo Ferreira, an artist Buffett discovered on a recent trip to Africa. Buffett will appear with his "Coral Reefer All-Stars," including band members Mac McAnally and Nadirah Shakoor.
The weekend forecast calls for more scattered showers and storms, some severe. If you're not here already, bring the extra socks.
Make sure to check out Billboard.com's ongoing Bonnaroo coverage all weekend long.