by Shara Clark
In a recent telephone press conference, actor and comedian Bob Saget, legendary punk rocker Billy Idol, and festival founder and promoter Rick Farman chatted with reporters about the upcoming festival.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Bonnaroo Comedy Theater, and Bob Saget will perform two sets there on Sunday, June 16th. “I’ve done some festivals, but nothing of this height, and I’m very excited about it,” Saget said. “Lewis Black kept asking me to play Bonnaroo year after year. He said it’s one of the best festivals he’s ever been to because it’s got so much heart behind it.”
Saget said he’ll combine comedy and music in his act, pulling material from his recent comedy specials and incorporating some new material. He’ll feel out the audience, soak in the vibe, and form his act around that. “There won’t be any synthesizer screens coming on as I tell kids what they should and shouldn’t do and don’t drink beer at the Sock Hop or whatever the hell I did on Full House,” Saget said. Though he did jokingly express concern over possible mishaps during the show: “Nobody can like accidentally slingshot some ecstasy into my mouth from the audience right, where by the end of my second set, I’m just in love with everyone?” he asked. “I might wear a beekeeper’s hat in order to keep anything from coming toward my mouth.”
English rocker Billy Idol will be performing a late-night slot Saturday, June 15th and promises to play a “party set.” “It’s around midnight, and I know Bonnaroo’s pretty famous for partying,” Idol said. “In fact, I usually go on stage pretty straight these days, but I’m hoping to get the biggest contact high of all time.”
Idol’s “party set” will include hits like “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “White Wedding,” "Dancing With Myself,” and “Mony Mony,” as well as a few Generation X songs and a new song or two. Idol said the set will be a representation of all of the music throughout his career, and fans can expect “balls to the wall” energy from his performance. He is excited to play for an audience that may not come to a Billy Idol concert otherwise. “It’s even more exciting to get to come to something like Bonnaroo and play to a bunch of crazies at 12 at night and have one hell of a party,” he said. “They throw things at me, I understand. But if they come up there and they want to fuck me to death, I understand that as well.”
Bonnaroo founder and promoter, Rick Farman, is amped for this year’s festivities and said they are offering a new program to bring more of the surrounding community to the event. “This year, we’re focusing on Nashville and offering a combined package where you buy a ticket, and you have a shuttle to get down to the festival and take you back,” Farman says. This is a way for those who are curious about Bonnaroo but don’t want to commit to the four-day camping experience to get a taste of what the festival has to offer.
“Over the years, we’ve really sought to diversify the ways that you can do Bonnaroo,” Farman said. Of course, attendees can stay in an area hotel or bring their own camping gear or RV, but Bonnaroo also offers on-site RV or tent rental. “It’s always been a part of our plan to try and make Bonnaroo as attractive and accessible to a variety of different audiences and a variety of different economic levels,” he said.
Farman says the inspiration for Bonnaroo comes from European festivals like Glastonbury, Roskilde, Reading, Leeds, and Lowlands. “They’ve been going on for 30, 40, 50 years and have really become iconic and part of the overall culture of the countries that they’re situated in,” Farman said. “I think that’s what we aspire to be. We’re on our way to being 12 years in. We’ve still got a lot of growing up to do, but we really believe that we’ve got a very long life ahead of us. We couldn’t be happier about that, too."
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