Bonnaroo Day 4: Brandi Carlile’s set was so good, the Mayor gave her the keys to the freakin’ city

Sunday marked the end of Bonnaroo and the blistering heat and weathered faces of those in attendance made the freezing temps of day one seem like ages had passed. But the sun and lack of shade didn’t keep the thousands of fans from winding down Bonnaroo with an eclectic mix of headliners ranging from American folk to jam band to Cardi B.

The greatest part of music festivals is the endless amount of options spanning so many different genres. At one point on Sunday night, Mac DeMarco took the stage after SNL and Bridesmaids star Maya Rudolph’s Prince tribute band, Princess. While he was playing Cardi B was on the other side of the campground as well as massive DJ  Illinium at the EDM stage. All massively different styles, but there definitely was something for everyone.

The Lumineers

Lead singer Wesley Schultz greeted the Bonnaroo audience telling them that in 2002 he and his best friends drove from New Jersey to attend the very first Bonnaroo. Now, 17 years later his friends were in attendance as he and his band The Lumineers played the biggest stage in a Sunday headlining slot.

Moments like this are why music festivals like Bonnaroo are the greatest. The sincerity and relatability of the acts on stage are once in a lifetime opportunities.

The Lumineers

The nostalgia and excitement led to a wonderful set by the band as they played right before sunset. Running through their massive hits like “Ho, Hey,” “Cleopatra,” and an unforgettable rendition of “Ophelia.”

The band played a pop-up stage in the middle of the crowd full of thousands. Then halfway through the song, Schulz cut through the ground climbing barricades and singing along in the middle of the Bonnaroo crowd.

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile’s set was so good, the mayor of Manchester, Tennessee gave her the keys to the freaking city. Ok, maybe that was already decided but that actually happened after her show.

Carlile is the perfect kind of act for Bonnaroo. With her deep Nashville country roots, she is a symbol of true Tennessee music, but also her progressive, outspoken advocacy and the incredible person she is makes her a walking billboard for everything Bonnaroo wants to stand for.

Her set was perfect including a cameo from country legend Tanya Tucker and making the audience cry with her Fathers Day dedication of “Evangeline.” This was by far one of the best sets of the entire festival


Something amazing happened Sunday afternoon on the farm. Something that was so random, so unexpected and so C-O-O-L.

Maya Rudolph in her Prince tribute band Princess

Maya Rudolph and singer/songwriter Gretchen Lieberum are the band Princess, a pure Prince tribute band. It was everything you could ever expect or even think you could want. They kicked it off with “Let’s Get Crazy” and never let go.

Rudolph is a comedic genius and showed signs of her musical talent in her many years on Saturday Night Live, but words can’t express how much fun she is to watch on stage. The music was so good (obviously, it’s Prince) and Rudolph and Lieberum were brilliant on stage together and the audience was 1000 percent into every moment.

Other highlights

Boston band Ripe

Phish closed the festival with a three and a half hour perfectly balanced set that gave the Phishheads everything they could have ever dreamed of. Cardi B seemed fully recovered from her recent medical issues and played the biggest Sunday crowd and as the farm screamed the lyrics to “I Like It,” it was clear they were not lying. Boston band Ripe played the very first show in the early Sunday heat, but the early time slot and weather didn’t keep them from gaining a new fan in me. Their groovy band along with horns and smooth soulful lead singer made me instantly hooked.

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