Sweet Yeezus! Kanye is Bound for Bonnaroo…Again!
Since 2002, Manchester, Tennessee has been home to one of the world’s biggest music and arts festivals: Bonnaroo. Each year it draws in an eclectic bunch of people from all over the world; nearly 80,000 of them, all converging on one 7,000 acre farm for 4 days of music, sunshine, and spicy pie.
Known for “radiating positivity,” promoting “greening” initiatives, and operating some of the wildest late-night sets in the country, Bonnaroo has become synonymous with feelings of good vibes and wild nights. However, not every show comes off as planned, and in 2008, many Bonnaroo fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth.
Kanye West, notorious for his bad boy antics and unapologetic attitude, kept fans waiting for nearly 2 hours for his scheduled performance late Saturday night, as part of his “Glow in the Dark Tour.” Patrons stood anxiously waiting until 4am, when West finally took the stage to a riotous crowd. Around 5:30 am, with the sun rising, West dropped the mic and walked off stage, after spending the better part of an hour dodging urine-filled water bottles and other hurled objects.
Since the performance, there has been backlash on both sides of the fence. Kanye issued a statement the following week, which was not the apology many fans were hoping for. Rather than take blame, he cited communication issues with the festival coordinators, stating, “For over a month we went back and forth on whether or not we could even fit my stage at the festival” He even went on the refer to the staff as “squidbrains.”
Festival goers also gave their side of the story. Former Upstate student and 2008 Bonnaroo attendee, Erin Kelly, told The Carolinian, “It was crazy. After waiting for so long we at least expected an apology or an explanation. He said nothing, barely even interacted with the crowd. He played through his songs and walked off stage. Just like that.”
The incident has gone down in Bonnaroo infamy, with the running joke “F*** Kanye” written, chanted, and hashtagged nearly everywhere the festival is mentioned, so when Superfly released this years lineup, you can imagine everyone’s surprise when Kanye’s name was released, topping the bill.
The response was immediate and overwhelming. The initial shock was nearly audible, as every fan eagerly watching the lineup announcement gasped in tandem. Facebook and Twitter exploded with both support and disbelief; some claiming the festival had “sold-out,” and others commending their efforts to “#ForgiveKanye.”
Since the shocking reveal, Bonnaroo and their promoters have issued a number of statements regarding this decision.Co-founder Ashley Capps told NPR, “It was six years ago; nobody wants to belabor the past. Kanye’s one of the major acts of our time; we’re one of the great festivals of our time. We want to work together. We’re excited to welcome him back.”