A giant festival on a farm in Manchester full of nearly 100,000 people is something we take for granted recently. Now that Bonnaroo has been running full steam for well over fifteen years now, throwing a giant party for that many people has become a well oiled machine.
Nearly twenty years ago in the Summer of 1999, the idea of a giant music festival in the middle of a farm field was something that was a brand new idea. Other camping festivals like Coachella or Firefly hadn’t caught on either, and the best image that most people could think of would be Woodstock almost thirty years prior.
That didn’t stop the organizers of Itchycoo, the weird forerunner that took place on the same grounds just three years before the first Bonnaroo.
Some old film photos of Itchycoo from the Itchycoo 99′ Facebook page
Featuring acts like Rick Springfield, Sammy Hagar and Blue Oyster Cult, Itchycoo made a big effort to appeal to Baby Boomers and other Tennessee locals. It didn’t make an attempt to reach out to the same demographic as Bonnaroo, which was probably a factor as to why tickets didn’t exactly sell like hotcakes.
Itchycoo remained a historical oddity for Coffee County as the years went on, especially after AC Entertainment and Superfly would come into town just three short years later. They took the bones of Itchycoo and used the same Farm along I-24 in Manchester to turn it into a well-attended logistical miracle of a festival, and of course the rest is history.
In the past twenty years, Itchycoo became a bit of a well-loved punchline amongst Manchester locals and Bonnaroo veterans. While it was a bit before its time and couldn’t find an audience, it became a fun footnote in the history of Roo.
At least, until recently.
We’re excited to be able to exclusively announce a few details about the 2019 return of Itchycoo, which will continue the tradition of being the party before Bonnaroo. Just as Itchycoo 99′ paved the way for Bonnaroo three years later, Itchycoo will return to Manchester in June of 2019 as a hugely improved pre-party for Bonnaroo.
Except this time, instead of a few years between events, it’ll be just a few short days. Itchycoo 2019 will take place on Tuesday, June 11th, the day before the gates open on the Farm. Festival organizers mentioned to us that their goal “is to set aside this entire day to welcome everyone to Manchester and to provide somewhat of a toast to what many will consider the best week of their lives.”
The new iteration of Itchycoo isn’t playing around with their plans for the lineup that Tuesday either. Organizers say that attendees “may see us celebrate the foundation of the early days with a great jam band or two, and you may see this year’s mid-card hit.”
Many details are expected to be announced in the coming months as the date draws nearer, and Itchycoo has already been very active on their social media, engaging Bonnaroo crowds and personalities.
As June of 2019 is just ten months away now, we encourage our Bonnaroo family to consider budgeting in another day of vacation time to check out the new version of Itchycoo. It promises to tie the connection between Bonnaroo and the local Coffee County community like never before, and undoubtedly should be a ton of fun.