MANCHESTER, Tenn. — There was a time when Marcus Mumford wasn’t sure if his band would get another shot at headlining the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
But that uncertainty didn’t last very long.
After Mumford & Sons was forced to cancel its Bonnaroo headlining set in 2013 due to bassist Ted Dwane having emergency brain surgery, Mumford admitted last week that he wasn’t sure if the band would have the opportunity to grace the festival’s palatial What Stage again.
“We were kind of coming toward the end of [recording our album] and we were starting to talk about our names and artwork, kind of starting to get into more of the admin stuff surrounding releasing an album because we knew it was coming together… and our manager came in and said, ‘Listen, Bonnaroo has offered you a headline slot to kind of go back and play, you know, the slot that you missed out on when Ted had his injury,’” said Mumford, frontman for the British rock band.
“And we were all like kind of overwhelmed because, you know, we didn’t expect, you know, you have your time and stuff and headlining festivals is a really challenging thing to get to the level where you’re asked to headline is kind of a big deal for any band,” he continued. “We thought headlining Bonnaroo wouldn’t come for another however many years, if ever.”
Mumford added that receiving a headlining slot for the 2015 festival is “a chance for redemption.”
The band’s newest album, “Wilder Mind,” was released just last month and the band hit the road June 2 to start its summer tour after taking a break in 2014.
‘We love that festival so much’
Now entering its 14th year, Bonnaroo has seen its fair share of memorable performances – from Metallica to Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Eminem and many more. And other artists take notice of those shows, too.
“I’ve seen, you know, some amazing performances in Bonnaroo,” said Mumford. “We love that festival so much. I wish there was a bit more air conditioning going on but it’s really – I mean I was like somehow snuck myself into the press area for Jay-Z when he headlined Bonnaroo, you know. And it’s kind of like, s***, it’s a big, you know, job to headline this festival because it’s an enormous festival.
“It’s like Glastonbury. I consider it kind of like Glastonbury of America where it’s kind of down and dirty and everyone kind of mucks in and there’s a very special kind of unique atmosphere there. I’d say more so than even Coachella, which is a very different beast. I’d say yes, for me, Bonnaroo is kind of the Glastonbury of America and as you know Glastonbury is kind of our home turf.”
Mumford reiterated that Bonnaroo is a special place, not only for fans, but artists.
“Bonnaroo feels like a very kind of communal festival and there are some really good spaces around for artists to kind of meet and get together,” he said “You know the press area is sweet because it’s really open and, you know, you bump into people along the way and say hi. I remember watching Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings do a session for the Dave Rawlings Machine with some of the Old Crow [Medicine Show] guys … we sat in there and I like wept. It was so beautiful watching them do it. And you don’t get that away from festivals. You don’t get that in normal shows.”
While the four-day festival itself is contained within The Farm, a 700-acre property, the 80,000 visitors who arrive in Manchester for the four-day event have an obvious impact on traffic in and around the Manchester area.
As Manchester prepares to welcome a multitude of visitors, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) are gearing up for the extra traffic expected in the area. TDOT and the THP are working closely with the Manchester Police Department, the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and festival promoters to keep traffic moving on I-24 while also getting Bonnaroo attendees to their destination.
“As always, the main goal is to keep through traffic moving smoothly on I-24 during the Bonnaroo festival while getting festivalgoers safely into and out of the festival site,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “TDOT has once again coordinated with our partners at THP and other agencies well ahead of the festival to ensure that traffic delays are kept to a minimum throughout the festival period.
TDOT HELP units will assist with traffic management during the festival and will aid any motorists who require assistance. In addition to having HELP trucks on-site, TDOT and other agencies will be taking the following steps beginning June 10 through June 15:
Efforts will be concentrated on keeping I-24 traffic flowing.
Exit 111 (SR 55) will be used as the main festival exit. Exits 97, 105, 112 (temporary exit on westbound side only), 117 and 127 are alternate exits if congestion occurs on the interstate.
TDOT maintenance units will be posted throughout the festival region, and maintenance personnel will be on call all weekend.
TDOT will provide variable message signs to warn drivers of delays.
There will be no construction-related lane closures on I-24 near the Bonnaroo festival area between 6 a.m. on Wednesday, June 10 through 7 p.m. on Monday, June 15.
Median crossovers will be guarded to prevent motorists from parking in the crossovers and blocking emergency vehicles.
Festival traffic will be kept in the right lane and/or on the shoulder of the interstate, allowing through traffic to utilize the left travel lane unimpeded.
Emergency vehicles will use county roads that will be kept at low volume.
Bonnaroo promoters issued early news releases to the trucking industry and other sources to alert the traveling public to festival times, location, and alternate routes.
Temporary communication towers are in place to improve emergency communications.
During the festival, motorists should call 511 from any mobile or land line phone for traffic updates or visit the TDOT website at www.tn.gov/tdot where they can also find information on alternate routes. From desktop or mobile devices, the latest traffic information and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras will be available at www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. TDOT is also on Twitter. For statewide traffic tweets follow TN511 or for regional traffic information follow Nashville511, Chattanooga511, Memphis511 and Knoxville511.
Also, drivers should keep in mind that if they need the assistance of a State Trooper while traveling anywhere in Tennessee, they can simply dial *THP (*847) from their cell phone. They will be automatically connected to the nearest THP dispatch office and the operator will send a state trooper to their location.
—By Josh Peterson, Manchester Times Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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