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50 Best Things We Saw at Bonnaroo 2015

From killer jams to a deadly ep of ‘Game of Thrones,’ a complete rundown of the fest’s essential moments

Best of Bonnaroo

Best of Bonnaroo

Kyle Dean Reinford; Theonepointeight

The 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival featured hundreds of artists, dozens of food trucks and more glitter than we can quantify. And thanks to top-notch headlining performances from Billy Joel, Kendrick Lamar and Mumford & Sons, it was another unforgettable, never-ending bonanza. We trekked from the Other Tent to the What Stage to the Cinema Tent to uncover all of 2015's can't-miss moments. From to the much-ballyhooed all-star SuperJam to a secret venue in the campgrounds, from a mega Game of Thrones viewing party to one incredible donut, these are the 50 best things we saw, heard or tasted at Bonnaroo 2015.

Earth Wind and Fire

Kyle Dean Reinford

Best Curveball: Earth, Wind and Fire

Thousands of festivalgoers flocked to Flying Lotus' late-night set after Kendrick Lamar's main-stage performance hoping that the rapper would make an appearance, since the pair collaborated on the latter's "Wesley's Theory" and the former's "Never Catch Me." However, while Flying Lotus was lighting up the Other Tent, Lamar — along with SuperJammer Chance the Rapper — instead made a surprise cameo during Earth, Wind and Fire's Which Stage funk workshop, freestyling over the legendary outfit's textbook grooves. Before the rappers took the stage, Earth, Wind and Fire delivered a brilliant set featuring over a dozen members onstage, each playing an indispensable role in a well-oiled machine. The dense layers of guitars, horns, percussion and their extraordinary bassist Verdine White all locked into perfect sync as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ripped through a greatest-hits set that boasted "Sing a Song," "Shining Star" and "Boogie Wonderland."

Brown Sabbath

Kyle Dean Reinford

Best Masters of Reality: Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath

Austin, Texas psych rockers Brownout brought their Ozzy-loving side project Brown Sabbath to the Which Stage on Friday, reinterpreting the Paranoid legends' music through a Southwestern gaze. Tony Iommi's crushing riffs were decorated with scorched-earth and Morricone flourishes, while Brown Sabbath's horn section brassed up "The Wizard" and turned "Children of the Grave" into a funereal death march. However, every great cover band is only as good as their lead singer, and Alex Marrero, dubbed "the Mexican Ozzy," did an as-advertised job.

Art walk

Kyle Dean Reinford

Best Bonnaroonatic Nerd-Out: The Art Walk

Did you know there is a face (and hat) hidden in the design of the Bonnaroo Post Office? Did you know that, as a functioning post office, it's technically a federal building for the weekend? Did you know the sparkling disco ball atop the tower was designed by Radiohead's lighting pro? Early Thursday afternoon, Bonnaroo's bearded Head of Visual Design, Russ Bennett, led a small group of interested fans on a small "art walk," providing director's commentary on everything from the giant pig sculpture to the iconic fountain. However, as a docent, Bennett seemed more determined to be entertaining than educational: Spotting folks plopped on bales of hay, he quipped "that's the art of sitting."


Kyle Dean Reinford

Best Reason to Skip the SuperJam: D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Any hope Bonnaroovians had of catching both D'Angelo and the subsequent SuperJam later in the night slowly dissipated after the singer arrived 30 minutes late. However, the wait was worth it once he and the Vanguard finally took the stage as they delivered seductive neo-soul and ground-shaking funk for 90 straight minutes. The gig boasted a ferocious rendition of "The Charade" that was dedicated to Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, the astro-funk rave-up of "Sugah Daddy" and an remarkable, non-stop encore where the band reached a James Brown and the Famous Flames-level of energy, intensity and passion, not once taking a foot off the gas as they ripped through cuts like "Left & Right" and "Back to the Future." Throughout the performance, D'Angelo was eager to share the spotlight with the Vanguard, giving each individual member of the expert outfit an opportunity to soak in the cheers.