Is Rothbury the New Bonnaroo? Mike Gordon, More Weigh In as Fest Announces It'll Return

July 7, 2008 1:45 PM ET

With its idyllic location (The Double JJ Ranch & Golf Resort, a tree-lined mecca six miles inland from Lake Michigan), environmental bent (organizers set a "near-zero waste" goal for the festival) and jam-band friendly lineup (Widespread Panic and Phil Lesh, among others), many artists and attendees were trumpeting the inaugural Rothbury Festival as the next Bonnaroo.

"The vibe here is great," says Phish bassist Mike Gordon. "It's beautiful here with the lake and the forest. It's like Bonnaroo without the mugginess of Nashville."

Baltimore resident Evin Barger, 21, who attended Bonnaroo from 2005-2007, sees a similarity between the newborn Michigan festival and 'Roo's early years. "All the musicians here are the same sort of genre," says Barger. "There's no heavy metal. There's no Kanye West. I love Kanye, but Bonnaroo is not the place to see him."

"Every festival needs to find its niche," says Rothbury Communications Director Carrie Lombardi, discussing the sense of unity in Rothbury's lineup. "There were certain bands that we knew would attract the kind of crowd we wanted to bring out." Festival producer Jeremy Stein added, "This is a long-term concept. This is the first year to try it, and then we'll go from there. I have no doubt there will be more Rothburys."

The festival's environmental goals proved inline with those of the tie-died idealists that populated the crowd. In addition to bio-diesel and solar-powered stages, the festival organizers provided separate receptacles for compost, recyclables and landfill. "The biggest problem I had was walking up to the cans and trying to figure out which one to put my gum in," admitted Michael Franti from the stage.

Count Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood among those saluting the ambitious environmental program, saying, "You'd hate to not be able to have these things because they become too much of an albatross."

But for all of Rothbury's altruistic goals and the site's obvious benefits (the whimsically-named Sherwood Forest offered attendees welcome respite from the sun), some see little difference in the growing number of destination festivals. Says Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach: "Same shit, different field."

Full Rothbury Festival Coverage
Rothbury Photo Gallery

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »