Along with open fields, tasty food, stand-up shows, shirtless guys (and girls), not-too-hidden narcotics, film screenings, porta potties, overpriced merchandise and so much more, the 2012 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival offered four days of enthralling performances from rock music's biggest names and most promising newcomers.
Like every year, the approximately 60 hours of live music over the course of four days (June 7-10) became an overload of can't-miss sets that music fans usually were forced to miss; The Shins, The Civil Wars, fun. and Young The Giants all played overlapping sets on Sunday night, for instance. Fortunately, three of the weekend's best performances came from the well-picked headliners -- Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phish -- all of whom played without any conflicts on other stages. As each veteran rock group unfurled its own respective approach to Manchester's annual jamboree, the majority of the festival goers congregated in the far reaches of the field in front of the What Stage, twirling glow-in-the-dark hula hoops, making out with the person closest to them or simply mumbling along to every song they knew.
LIVE AT BONNAROO -- HIGHLIGHTS
Bonnaroo 2012 featured a slew of breakout performances from rising acts, universal sing-alongs and a special guest or two (thanks again, Questlove). But what was the cream of the crop at this year's festival? Check out Billboard.com's take on the 10 best performances at Bonnaroo:
10. Little Dragon (Friday in This Tent)
The Swedish indie rock group's Friday afternoon performance bestowed a fervent crowd with some muscular grooves -- it was nothing new for the band, whose underrated album "Ritual Union" was released last year, but the open setting and audience enthusiasm made each track pop. Singer Yukimi Nagano's tiny frame bounced across the stage for over an hour, and inspired some deeply awkward moves from the VIP section, which included Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka "McLovin" from the film "Superbad."
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers (Saturday on What Stage)
Coming off of their 2011 album "I'm With You" and a triumphant induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Chili Peppers were ever-reliable headliners on Saturday night, scattering their set with funky hits like "Can't Stop," "Dani California" and "Suck My Kiss" and appreciating the massive crowd at their feet. Almost as fun as watching RHCP's performance was watching its audience: a guy wrapped in Christmas lights, a cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber, inflatable flamingoes, a group of 4 friends with fake Anthony Kiedis mustaches, bubble blowing, joint rolling, a Burger King kids meal crown, and people dressed as robots, cows and penguins were all seen traipsing around the main Bonnaroo field on Saturday night.
8. Danny Brown (Thursday in This Tent)