You're going to find out about a lot of things when you go to a festival like Bonnaroo. Yes, you'll find out about all kinds of music. Music you love. Artists you've only heard of but never listened to. You'll likely find out about artists you've never heard of. You might even like some of them.

You'll likely meet people you wouldn't have otherwise met. You'll try some food you might never have eaten. You'll spend more time on your feet than you ever thought possible. "There's always something going on," said Wayne Coyne, singer of The Flaming Lips, whose band put on a stellar live show Saturday night. The Lips' live show is tailor-made for festival crowds. If their on a bill, the set is not to be missed.

"It's really all about being with friends and loving music," continued Coyne. "The audience is a bunch of freaks, and there's so much love."

Putting tens of thousands of people on an 800 acre farm in middle Tennessee in the middle of June could be a recipe for disaster, but it works. Most folks are generally respectful of each other, and everyone is there to have a good time and hear some great tunes.

The headliners are always solid. Jack White was the one see this year. Sure, Elton John was great. That guy owns the stage, and he's got the hits.

Kanye was ... confusing. When he was performing his songs (which he chose to do clad in some kind of bedazzled Spiderman mask), he killed. Absolutely tore it up. But, during almost every song, he'd cut the music and go on crazy rants, saying things like, "They try to make me look crazy. I am the number one rock star on the planet. The last time I was here, they had 'fuck Kanye' on the mother fucking porta-potties." And Ye was none to happy with the press.

Jack White was on it. He pulled from his entire catalog for his Saturday night set, opening with 'Icky Thump' busting out 'We Are Going to Be Friends' and jamming the hits from his solo work. His band was on point. The drummer could pound. He had a slick pedal steel picker who also played a mean theremin. "The perfection of tone coming out of all those instruments," marveled Cruz Contreraz of The Black Lillies - the Lillies had a killer set of their own own on Sunday and played in the Bluegrass Situation Superjam, hosted by Ed Helms, but White really did nail it.

When the headliners play, no other shows are going on. The rest of the time, however, you're free to wander around Centeroo and take in all kinds of music. Some veteran acts can put together something like a greatest hit package, pulling fan favorites from many albums of material. Marquee acts like Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, The Head and the Heart, and City and Colour had solid sets full of hits.

Up and coming acts have the opportunity to put on a showcase of their best stuff and win over new fans. "We call it the power set," Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive said. These power sets are ideal for discovering new bands. "It's just a chance for us to play music, for people who have heard it, for people who haven't heard it," said Josh (Ooah) Mayer of The Glitch Mob. "It's the best way to do it," said Contreras.

"We'd rather be doing this than pub shows," Jared Hornbeek, bassist for The Unlikely Candidates. His band played to incoming crowds on Thursday, drove to Texas in the middle of the weekend and drove all the way back to Bonnaroo to get some more festival action.

I saw quite a few acts I'd never heard before that I will be checking out now that I'm back. Notably:

    • ZZ Ward
    • Caveman
    • Catfish & the Bottlemen
    • Cherub
    • Lily & the Parlour Tricks
    • Royal Canoe
    • Streets of Laredo
    • Kansas Bible Company
    • The Black Cadillacs

    "I feel like I've discovered five or six of my favorite bands just wandering around," Joel Cummins of Umphery's McGee said. Also, these power sets give bands an opportunity to debut some new material or bust out an unlikely cover, like St. Paul and the Broken Bones covering Radiohead or that insane "Closer"-NIN medley thing that Lily and the Parlour Tricks closed their set with. Anything that might catch a wanderers attention.

    "The festival story - you can talk about the artists and the music - but it's about the fan experience. Music connects us," said Greg Harris of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where an exhibit on music festivals is currently on display. In the case of Bonnaroo, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. "It's an opportunity to be in the moment," said Cake's John McCrea, whose band treated audiences to hits from the bands two decade career. "There's a since of community that has nothing to do with the music business."

    Some of the performers have attended the fest as civilians, like Paul Janeway of St. Paul and the Broken Bones or several of the dudes in the Black Cadillacs (Adam Bonomo, drummer for the Black Cadilacs says it's more comfortable when you're a performer).

    "They take care of the artists here," said Jack Rose of The Futures League. "It's got a great southern hospitality vibe," said The Glitch Mob's Mayer. It's that sense of community and togetherness that makes Bonnaroo one of the biggest festivals every summer. Sure the tunes are fantastic, but its all the other little things that put it over the top, from the way the organizers treat the patrons and performers, to the food and drink, to the sense of community - that being there, in that brief blink of history with all those other music lovers, just enjoying life. That's what it's all about.