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The Avett Brothers Get Messy at Bonnaroo

'It's a good place to make some mistakes,' says Seth Avett of festival atmosphere

Scott and Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers perform at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
Douglas Mason/Getty Images
June 10, 2012 10:54 AM ET

The Avett Brothers were in a joking mood three hours before they took the main stage at Bonnaroo on Friday evening, a few hours before headliners Radiohead. "It'll certainly be a mess," the band's Scott Avett told Rolling Stone. "[Cellist Joe Kwon] will definitely fall on his face at some point during the show." Added his brother, Seth, "Festivals are a good venue because it is kinda such a mess and there's so much going on, so much color. It's a good place to make some mistakes." 

Coincidentally, Radiohead also headlined the Manchester, Tennessee festival in 2006, the first time (of four in total) that the Avetts ever played it. The band made its 'Roo debut at the one of festival's club-sized cafe stages, the Troo Music Lounge, which this year was dubbed the Miller Lite Great Taste Lounge. "It was in this very tent; it was in this eight-by-four-foot tent," said Scott from inside, where the band was manning a table covered at every inch by festival posters to be signed. "It was ragin' and very, very lowdown and very dirty and awesome," he fondly recalled.

Both serious and self-deprecating, the Avett Brothers approached their 2012 appearance at the festival with the same reckless abandon. Beforehand, though, they were worried about making a mistake on "Winter in my Heart" — a new song they premiered at a show the previous night."Right now, we're planning on playing it," Seth says, "But, you know, we might get up there and decide, 'Nah, it doesn't feel right.'" Hours later, they stuck with the plan. Joe did not fall on his face.

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