They emerged Wednesday night, like bears awakening from hibernation; the people of Bonnaroo awoke for the long anticipated 2014 lineup.
I stood amongst the crowd of Birkenstocks and bohemian skirts at the first ever Disc Exchange B.L.A.M. fest.
Having previously bought my tickets from the December pre-sale, I had gambled my summer festival fund in hopes for another great lineup, and my fingers were crossed hoping that Bonnaroo would deliver. When nine o'clock hit, the room was filled with an intense silence, interrupted only by the sound of the crowd's fast-paced heartbeats vibrating throughout Disc Exchange. Then the band names were broadcast across the projector like a display of fireworks. The screen was lit up with flashes of fabulous bands that set the crowd into "oohs" and "ahs."
Among some of the bands announced were Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Arctic Monkeys, CAKE and much more. All of these bands were welcomed with applause, but the next name that was flashed across the screen was the most shocking Bonnaroo reveal yet – Kanye West. There was a mixed reaction to this announcement. Some cheered, but once that subsided, the low sounds of "booing" echoed throughout the shop for a good 10 minutes. I'd be lying if I said I had a mature reaction to the news – in fact, I may have booed the loudest.
So what is it about Kanye that led many Bonnaroo goers to be so opposed? Six years ago, Bonnaroo concertgoers began waiting at 8:45 p.m. for Kanye West's scheduled headlining performance at the Tennessee festival. At 4:45 in the morning, West finally appeared onstage — two hours after his already rescheduled time — to perform what was, to many, a disastrous and disappointing performance. Kanye's elaborate stage was too complex to put together in the allotted time.
This was forgivable, but West's failure to offer any sort of apology when finally coming on stage was what set many Rooer's off. It was not until a few days later that West made a statement on his blog about the catastrophe. "This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life. This is the most offended I've ever been. ... This is the maddest I ever will be. I'm typing so ****ing hard I might break my ****ing Mac book Air!!!!!!!"
Then to really drive his point across he switches to caps lock, "JUST SAY THIS OUT LOUD IN A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE, 'KANYE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT GIVING A GOOD PERFORMANCE.' CAN ANYONE HONESTLY SAY THAT?" That was the gist of Kanye's "apology.
The response to West's second chance at Bonnaroo has been mixed. Many people claim this year has the worst lineup ever and refuse to go just because of Kanye's scheduled appearance. Superfly's Rick Farman released a statement explaining this unexpected booking. "Everyone has moved on — it's in the past. We're happy he wants to come back to Bonnaroo and is embracing the festival. It's a great opportunity for everyone to look forward, and we think it's a great opportunity for the Bonnaroo community to show what it's made of. It goes back to what Bonnaroo stands for: It's about having good time, radiating positivity and spirit of community."
There's really no argument that Kanye West is a jerk; however, there also is no question to his success. The ever-humble "Yeezus" is indeed a musical genius and a very influential artist of our generation. I only hope that this year Kanye realizes it takes more than a glow-in-the-dark light show to make or break a performance.
Bonnaroo's decision to bring him back after his previous debacle was both shocking and understandable. I suppose it's time to give Kanye another chance. He does care about his fans, and his willingness to return is admirable.
After all, Kanye almost broke his MacBook Air for you. How could we not forgive him?
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.