The closest a Bonnaroovian could get to the Grand Ole Opry without driving an hour out of town was Kacey Musgraves — and the only thing about her that's Nashville-polished is her voice. She covered Weezer with pedal steel ("Island in the Sun"), turned her own "Step Off" into a venue-appropriate reggae number and a Bob Marley sing-along ("Three Little Birds"), talked about drugs like she was Trinidad Jame$ ("I'm tripping out right now, I've always wanted to play Bonnaroo. Who's actually tripping at Bonnaroo?"), and extended the liberal-for-country lyrics of "Follow Your Arrow" ("Make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that's something you're into") to include the do-anything spirit of festival life. Even when her band went Mumford-style country throwback — acoustic guitar, upright bass, dobro, two-piece kit — for Buck Owens' "Act Naturally," her drummer was still moving his own floor tom like a punk band launching into a side project at a basement show. Bonnaroo's one representive of contemporary mainstream country shined because she was such a unique, left-of-center representative. "This is super-exciting for me," Musgraves gushed. "I only got to come here one time. I snuck in. It was this stage, I got to see Nine Inch Nails. But I don't remember much." C.W.
SPIN hit the 2013 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and survived the heat, the rain, and the Lumineers. Here’s the best things we saw, heard, and tasted.