Performing at Bonnaroo a ‘full circle moment’ for 49 Winchester

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When 49 Winchester takes the stage at Bonnaroo Friday, June 14, it’ll be a “full circle moment” for the band.

According to Lead Guitarist Bus Shelton and Bassist Chase Chafin, playing the annual music festival held on the 700-acre farm in Manchester has been a dream for the band for many years.

“Bonnaroo is something we’ve wanted to do the whole time we’ve been a band, for sure,” Shelton told News 2 before their CMA Fest debut Saturday, June 8.

49 Winchester talks performing CMA Fest, Bonnaroo

Chafin told News 2 he met his partner, Brandi Cox, way back in 2016 when the two were assigned to search cars coming into the Bonnaroo grounds by security company Axis.

“We met on-site at Bonnaroo searching cars, and the rest is history,” he told News 2.

The band had been in existence for a couple years at that time, and experiencing Bonnaroo for the first time gave him and other band members the idea that one day they’d be on the stages instead of working on the sidelines.

“It was definitely a dream of mine at the time,” Chafin said. “It’s a very exciting, full circle moment to come back and perform.”

While Chafin had heard of the festival prior to working it, 2016 was the first year he’d ever been, and luck or fate is what saw him assigned to search the car line with the woman who would eventually become his lifelong partner.

“We just hit it off right away, and a month later we just knew it was right,” he said of their story. “We never even really had a date where we decided we were a couple. It just made sense. It was just: there it was.”

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He and Brandi have been together ever since, and their son will be two later this year, he told News 2. His son will still have to wait for his first Bonnaroo experience, Chafin added.

They also worked the festival together again a few years after they first met, according to Chafin, and the pair also attended the festival sans work requirements in later years. But this year will be the first time they’ve returned to The Farm in about four years.

“I’m glad to be back. I’m excited,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the Top Five bucket list items I’ve wanted to do. It’s really cool to get to go with all the guys, and Brandi gets to come with me. I’m really excited.”

Finding love at Bonnaroo is not uncommon. There is even a dedicated “chapel” on the grounds specifically for those who wish to tie the knot on The Farm. The “House of MatROOmony” allows people to be legally married and enjoy special champagne toasts for those who apply. The application period for 2024 is closed, but it opens up every year in the off-season for those who want to be wed surrounded by their fellow Bonnaroovians.

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