This year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place on June 10th-13th in Manchester, Tennessee, has had a lot to live up to since the 2009 campaign that saw Bruce Springsteen, 2 nights of Phish, and the Beastie Boys throw down on the farm. This year, the fest elected to announce its lineup in an unprecedented way. The folks at Bonnaroo decided to release one artist on the lineup every five minutes on their Myspace page on February 9th. It was a great way to stir up hype for the upcoming fest, and certainly was an entertaining way for fans to find out the fate of the festival.
When all was said and done, the initial lineup seemed to be a bit underwhelming in terms of the top line of artists. There’s no questions about Jay-Z and Stevie Wonder being capable of headlining one of the greatest festivals in the world, but many believe that Dave Matthews Band and Kings of Leon (both who tour frequently around the country) aren’t the type of band that is going to generate enough buzz for out of towners to make the trip to Manchester in the way that many headliners had done in the past.
Joining the headliners mentioned above, are Tenacious D and Weezer. As great of a show as Jack Black and Kyle Gass can put on, they don’t seem to be the type that can carry the What? or Which? stage as the evening comes to a close, and most people are hoping that Weezer sticks to their classic albums in favor of their newer releases. Both of these bands are basically in slots that were occupied by David Byrne and Wilco last year.
With that being said, those are only six acts of the 90 that are confirmed so far, and the undercard is where Bonnaroo succeeds. The fest used to cater towards the jam band inclined fans, and while it still does so this year with bands like The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, and Medeski Martin & Wood, Bonnaroo is now as diverse as ever. Along with jam bands, festival-goers can now see legends like Jimmy Cliff, John Fogerty, Jeff Beck and Kris Kristofferson on the same day they check out current stars Phoenix, the Dead Weather, the National and LCD Soundsystem.
Bonnaroo has also booked two seemingly once-in-a-lifetime sets that could be some of the weekend’s highlights. The Flaming Lips, along with Stardeath and White Dwarfs, will be playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. If that isn’t enough for you, Darryl Hall (of Hall & Oates) will be joining electrofunk group Chromeo for a display similar to the one the trio performed on Hall’s web TV series. Another rare act that will be taking the stage at Bonnaroo is Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers. That, of course, is comedy legend Steve Martin (who is an accomplished banjo player) and his bluegrass band, who had the #1 bluegrass album for twelve weeks on the Billboard charts in 2009.
Perhaps one of the best surprises of the event is that of Conan O’Brien as a comedy act, performing for this stand up tour this year. Still to come are more musical acts and the performers at the comedy tent (notable past performers: Aziz Ansari, David Cross, Jimmy Fallon and Janeane Garofalo). Check out the lineup below!
Pros: Friendly atmosphere and just about every genre of music you could imagine.
Cons: Camping for four days and being very dirty (most of the time) as well as the heat!
Dave Matthews Band : Kings of Leon : Stevie Wonder : Jay-Z : Conan O’Brien : Tenacious D : Weezer : The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs : The Dead Weather : Damian Marley and Nas : Phoenix : Norah Jones : Michael Franti and Spearhead : John Fogerty : Regina Spektor : Jimmy Cliff : Ween : LCD Soundsystem : The Avett Brothers : Thievery Corporation : Galactic : Rise Against : Tori Amos : The National : Zac Brown Band : Les Claypool : John Prine : Umphrey’s McGee : The Black Keys : Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers : Jeff Beck : Dropkick Murphys : She & Him : Against Me! : Deadmau5 : Daryl Hall & Chromeo : Jamey Johnson : Margaret Cho : Clutch : Bassnectar : Kid Cudi : Aziz Ansari : The Disco Biscuits : Kris Kristofferson : Medeski : Martin & Wood : Brandi Carlile : The xx : Jeffrey Ross Roasts Bonnaroo : John Butler Trio : GWAR : Dan Deacon Ensemble : Tinariwen : Wale : Baaba Maal : The Melvins : The Gaslight Anthem : Miike Snow : The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band : The Gossip : Greg Giraldo : Dr. Dog : They Might Be Giants : Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile : Isis : Blitzen Trapper : Blues Traveler : Miranda Lambert : Calexico : Gary Chardonnay : OK Go : Bo Burnham : Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue : Martin Sexton : Lotus : Doug Benson : Baroness : Dave Rawlings Machine : Mayer Hawthorne and the County : Nick Kroll : Japandroids : Jay Electronica : Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros : Ingrid Michaelson : The Dodos : Manchester Orchestra : The Temper Trap : Paul Scheer & Rob Huebel : Cross Canadian Ragweed : Circa Survive : Big Sam’s Funky Nation : Carolina Chocolate Drops : John Roberts : NEEDTOBREATHE : Tokyo Police Club : The Entrance Band : Local Natives : Mumford & Sons : Rebelution : Baron Vaughn : Diane Birch : Monte Montgomery : Fanfarlo : Julia Nunes : The Postelles : Lucero : Here We Go Magic : Chelsea Peretti : Hot Rize : Neon Indian : B.O.B More : Artists to Be Announced!