Phish's Trey Anastasio took the stage at the first-ever Bonnaroo festival in 2002. The event's premiere year helped establish its rep as a friendly home for jam bands with a lineup including Gov't Mule, moe., Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh and Friends and Disco Biscuits.
Seventy-thousand attendees flocked to the first Bonnaroo in 2002 to check out bands like Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade (pictured here).
The Flaming Lips added a dose of nouveau psychedelia to 2003's Bonnaroo. Wayne Coyne's band appeared alongside the Dead, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Allman Brothers Band, Sonic Youth and James Brown at the fest's second annual event.
In 2004, Bonnaroo drew 90,000 fans to Manchester, Tennessee — up 20,000 from its 2002 debut. More than 80 acts (including David Byrne, seen here) took the fest's six stages over three days.
Bonnaroo 2004 was remarkable for its diverse lineup and its torrential rainstorms which turned the fest's Manchester, Tennessee home into a muddy mess. My Morning Jacket were fortunate to rock a set in the blazing sunshine.
The Dead headlined one of Bonnaroo 2004's three nights (the others were handled by Dave Matthews and Friends and Trey Anastasio).
Trey Anastasio closed out the rainy Bonnaroo 2004 with two sets. The first featured the Nashville Chamber Orchestra performing a set of compositions from his Seis De Mayo album and the second concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.
Warren Haynes joined the Dave Matthews Band at Bonnaroo 2005, which also boasted Modest Mouse, the Mars Volta and Jack Johnson, who told RS, "It has the vibe. Not just for the fans, but also for the bands. Backstage is exactly how I would have dreamed these festivals would be: musicians sitting around showing each other songs, watching each others' sets from the side of the stage."
The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala brought some new noises to Bonnaroo 2005. The lineup also featured the Black Crowes, Rilo Kiley, Paramore, De La Soul and Kings of Leon.
The lineup for Bonnaroo 2006 featured a slate of high-profile acts like Beck (pictured here), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Radiohead. Rolling Stone called the fest the Best Bonnaroo Ever in our staff report.
Elvis Costello and the Imposters took the stage with Allen Toussaint at Bonnaroo 2006. The event drew 80,000 to Manchester, Tennessee.
Radiohead performed arena classics like "The Bends," "Fake Plastic Trees" and "Karma Police" plus a handful of then-new tunes like "Steps" and "Bodysnatchers" at Bonnaroo 2006.
Sonic Youth returned to Bonnaroo in 2006, marking their second appearance at the festival.
Tom Petty made his first appearance at Bonnaroo in 2006 alongside acts like Death Cab for Cutie, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Cat Power and My Morning Jacket.
Bonnaroo 2004 was remembered for its heavy rains, and Bonnaroo 2007 will be recalled as the event's dustiest as dry conditions kicked up dust storms. The White Stripes took the stage on Day Four, and the lineup also included the Police (who were on their reunion tour), Tool and Franz Ferdinand. The annual superjam boasted Ben Harper, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and the Roots' ?uestlove.
The Flaming Lips filled the crowd with bouncing orbs during their Bonnaroo 2007 set. RS paid tribute to the fest's fans in a video from the Police's Set and more crowd clips.
Kings of Leon brought some Southern flavor to Bonnaroo 2007, debuting their song "Fans" in front of 35,000 gathered at the What Stage.
Gogol Bordello caught the attention of Rolling Stone's Smoking Section at Bonnaroo 2007, as did Lily Allen, who popped a Xanax, drank a half-bottle of Jagermeister and still delivered a killer set.
Bonnaroo 2008 boasted the fest's biggest names yet, as Metallica pummeled the Manchester, Tennessee crowd in an epic headlining set. James Hetfield and Co. brought alongclassics like "Master of Puppets," "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven," as well as deep cuts like the Misfits cover "Last Caress/Green Hell."
Pearl Jam showcased rarities, politics and Dylan and Who covers at Bonnaroo 2008, breaking out "Hard to Imagine" and "W.M.A," as well as a killer "Betterman" that had the crowd shouting along with the band. Eddie Vedder's response? "That's fucking beautiful, man!"
Kirk Hammett of Metallica joined My Morning Jacket onstage at Bonnaroo 2008, but it was members of Pearl Jam that sat down with Jim James and Co. for an exclusive RS interview backstage.
Kanye West's Bonnaroo 2008 set is memorable for one major reason: its epically delayed start time. West kept fans waiting until 4:30 a.m. while he set up a truncated version of his Glow in the Dark Tour stage. The result was spectacular, but fans were still rankled by the late kick-off.
My Morning Jacket performs on Which Stage at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennesee on June 13, 2008.
M.I.A. returned to Bonnaroo in 2008, alongside Mastodon, the Raconteurs, MGMT, and Tegan and Sara.