MANCHESTER, TN (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — As Phil Lesh & Friends closed down the smoothest running Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival last night, June 18th, the organizers had plenty to smile. Drawing 80,000 music fans to the 700-acre field about 60 miles south of Nashville, the festival grossed over $15 million, making it the top-grossing festival in the world.
“This being our fifth year, the team has worked together and we know the site better, which allows us to pay more attention to the details,” Jonathan Mayers, president of co-producer Superfly Productions, told Billboard.biz. “Every year we try to improve, and I think each year we’ll get better.”
Bonnaroo sold out all 80,000 tickets this year, after narrowly missing those totals last year. A shift in the line up, drawing more mainstream and indie rock acts than previous years, seems to be a calculated risk that paid off well.
Featuring bands like Radiohead, Beck and Tom Petty, regulars to the jam band scene, like Lesh, Blues Traveler, Robert Randolph and Umphrey’s McGee were exposed to a much more diverse audience.
“I think there is definitely a percentage of a new audience here this year, and introducing them to the Bonnaroo experience is cool,” Mayers told the magazine. “I think that the audience we’re attracting has a pretty open mind with their musical tastes, but there are 80-plus bands out here so you don’t even have time to see everything. There’s something for everyone.”
For the first time, Bonnaroo escaped any major rain or mud problems, but was tainted by one death, as a festival worker was killed in the days leading up to the event, and one festival-goer outside the ground was struck by a tour bus carrying bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs.
“Any time something like that happens of course it’s very upsetting. It’s hard to really take that in,” Mayers told Billboard.biz. “More than anything we send our condolences to the family.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers