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Dr. John, The Meters, Pres Hall & More at Bonnaroo

June 9-12; Manchester, Tenn.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Bela Fleck
Dr. John, the original Meters and Allen Toussaint perform Desitively Bonnaroo at Bonnaroo 2011

How deep and true is your love for live music? That question faces even the most resilient or chemically affected festivalgoers at Bonnaroo, the annual four-day fete in Manchester, Tenn., that celebrated its 10th anniversary this past weekend. Would you walk endlessly in desert heat for rock and roll? Stand until your lower vertebrae crumble in the name of traditional jazz and bluegrass? Inhale more dust than a barefaced al-Qaeda trainee to hear heavy metal? Become one with a never-ending herd of shirtless, sunburnt college boys to savor hip-hop? Simply put, the weekend is an endurance challenge, but, given the range and magnitude of the lineup, the rewards can outweigh the risks. (And the risks can be very real, as this year’s fest saw two fatalities.)

Bonnaroo began in 2002 as a jam-band fest and quickly morphed into America’s premier rock and pop event. This year’s lineup included everything from Neil Young, who managed to turn a reunited Buffalo Springfield into Crazy Horse, and Robert Plant to the anthemic indie-rockers Arcade Fire, rap superstar Eminem, country legend Loretta Lynn and the Swedish prog-metal band Opeth. Jamsters like Widespread Panic, the String Cheese Incident and Galactic remained staples.

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Originally Published