Thursday at Bonnaroo is always a grab bag of sorts: The Tennessee music and arts festival begins in earnest on Friday, so Thursday night is typically a way for festival goers to ease into the summer camp, as well as a way for some promising artists to get more shine when not overshadowed by headliners. From the funniest apparel to the most memorable covers, check out the 10 best things we saw, heard and experienced at the first day of Bonnaroo 2016.
1. Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield playfully calls out a “Trump supporter” in the back of her crowd waving the Donald’s cardboard head on a stick. “I hope you’re being ironic,” she quips, apparently not noticing the poo-shaped hair and Hitler mustache added to the likeness.
2. A guy walking through the crowd has a set of markers swinging from his neck and a white t-shirt that says DRAW ON ME across the middle. Thus far, he’s got a few signatures and a few cartoon penises added to his shirt.
3. Hundred Waters’ enchanting set features a few previews from the forthcoming follow-up to their 2014 album The Moon Rang Like a Bell, and judging from the throbbing dance tunes, the Gainesville group’s next album will help Nicole Miglis declare herself a full-fledged pop star. We can’t wait.
4. A Chewbacca tank top so nice, they did it four times:
5. Bully ends their hometown set with their familiar cover of McLusky’s “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues” in such grand fashion that the promising rock troupe gets calls for an encore. Two guys next to me in the crowd agree that they’re the next Hole.
6. Uhh, hey Bonnaroo? Can you stop sending us explicit push notifications, maybe?
7. Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd are the duo that makes electro-R&B group Marian Hill, but neither of them receive the biggest cheers from the audience during their set. That honor goes to Steve Davit, that saxophonist who performs with the singer and producer, and earns insane applause every time he blows a note. Never deny the joy of sax.
8. Børns honors David Bowie and one of his favorite bands by segueing from Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” into “Heroes.” The covers are relatively faithful and highlight what is by far the most packed performance of the day, and a coming-out part of sorts for Garrett Borns and co.
9. At midnight, the Silent Disco hosts a Prince tribute that allows the Bonnaroo faithful to don headphones and listen to a DJ spin dance cuts from deep within the Purple One’s catalog. Unlike the intense EDM usually featured in the Silent Disco, the Prince jams elicit some sleepy grooving… and a winding line to get into the fenced-off area. (Watch our report on the Silent Disco craze in L.A.!)
10. “NICE HAIR, MR. CAT!” a guy yells when Cashmere Cat takes the stage to perform his knotty techno-pop in the last set of the day. Magnus August Høiberg probably didn’t hear the fan, but that doesn’t mean that his luscious locks don’t deserve a far-off shout-out.