HT Staff’s Thoughts on ‘Roo Lineup

Three Points about the Bonnaroo List

1. Wow, there’s a of indie bands that people were gushing over, that I’ve never heard of. Time to use the snowstorm to get caught up.

2. A good amount of the list looks like previous Camp Biscos with the Disco Biscuits, Kid Cudi, Dr. Dog, Chromeo, Damian Marley & Nas, Thievery Corporation, Lotus, & (STS9 rumored).  It makes me quite intrigued about the Camp Bisco 10 lineup.

3.  The list of rumored performers that were not confirmed overshadows the Bonnaroo lineup more than a bit with Paul Simon (& Garfunkel), My Morning Jacket, Pavement, New Pornographers, Spoon, Neil Young, and Roger Waters performing The Wall to name a few. Interestingly String Cheese Incident was rumored and even shows up on the Bonnaroo website [ed. note – it appears all previous artists were given pages that show up using that 2010 syntax] and yet nothing… – Jeremy Gordon

The rumored big three for Bonnaroo this year were DMB, Kings of Leon and Jay-Z. So I was surprised and excited to see Stevie Wonder pop up inside the Top 3 Billing, good for him. While certainly a collection of some talented and influential artists, overall I think the lineup is a little boring. I think it’s too light on party bands, though Phoenix, LCD Soundsystem and for the jamband fans the Disco Biscuits do represent that brand of artist.

I dunno, seems a little underwhelming when last year they seemed to do a great job of capturing top-tier talent for the jambands (Phish), indie (TV On The Radio, MGMT, Band Of Horses, Animal Collective), and legends (Bruce Sprinsgteen and David Byrne). Filling the 10-15 slots with: Norah Jones, Michael Franti and Spearhead, John Fogerty, Regina Spektor, and Jimmy Cliff just doesn’t say Top Music Festival in the US to me. – DaveO

First off, it’s always nice to see a few surprises thrown in that weren’t on everybody’s radar – Tenacious D and Jimmy Cliff especially. Superfly did a pretty good job of keeping most of the lineup under wraps, which is incredible if you consider all of the people who were privy to this information. I do wish that the producers would’ve paid a little more attention to the lower-level jambands. Let’s not forget this festie’s roots. – ScottyB

My visceral reaction to the initial lineup screams “stay home,” but upon closer inspection they’ve booked a pretty diverse docket with a lot of excellent second-tier and smaller acts: the Avett Brothers, the National, Dave Rawlings, MMW, Hot Rize, Punch Brothers, Kris Kristoffersen, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and the XX. Plus, Ozomatli will blow everybody away, no question. I love those guys.

Unfortunately, the jam segment is weaker than its ever been, but hopefully that will strengthen in the coming announcements. I’d love to see Bonnaroo focus a bit more on helping break out smaller jam acts like they do the indie bands. Most jam fans could probably use a little help opening their eyes to some new bands. Finally, I’ve never seen Stevie Wonder (unless you count once in a wheelchair at LAX), so that would be the highlight hands down.

For the record, I finally listened to the Flaming Lips covering Dark Side at one of my favorite restaurants the other day (Westville) and it blows royal ass. What I heard sounded like bad UB40 reggae covers. I deeply hated it and I generally love the Lips. The quirky arrangements simply don’t work at all. – Ryan Dembinsky

To be perfectly honest, I can’t recall a time that the ‘roo lineup hasn’t done something for me. Reflecting back to the festival’s inception and original announcement I was floored. I recall the word of the festival spreading like a wildfire and selling out almost immediately. I really like how the announcement of artists was done this year, I believe it helped to build the anticipation of the festival that is still four months away!

But to get to the nitty gritty (dirt band) I’ve already seen rumblings on the internet bitching about one artist or another. I mean seriously, were not in 2002 anymore Toto. There are so many artists, stages and things to do how can someone bitch about something that they don’t even have to go see? People – expand your horizons, live a little and go see something you’ve never heard of — in other words, act like a portfolio and diversify! Currently (and additional artist/schedule announcement pending) I plan on rocking out to the following: Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Tenacious D, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Dead Weather, John Fogerty, Tori Amos, John Prine, LCD Soundsystem, The Avett Brothers, Black Keys, Drop Kick Murphys, She & Him, The Melvins, GWAR, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hot Rize and Lucero. Anything else HT readers think I should take into consideration? – Jennifer Kirk

I don’t think Bonnaroo has ever had a bad lineup and this year is no exception. Sure, it’s not as amazing as the 2006 lineup, or even the 2007 lineup, and reactions from fans are always going to run the gamut from disappointed to overjoyed to nonplussed. However, I don’t think I have ever spoken to a single attendee who didn’t see something new that they enjoyed, and that speaks to Bonnaroo’s best trait – diversity. People who aren’t overly impressed with the lineup are inevitably the ones who leave Manchester amazed at how much they enjoyed the bands they would have never seen or heard otherwise. Also, Bonnaroo always manages to bring at least one headliner that everyone can at least appreciate and respect, if not revere – The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, etc – and this year that headliner is Stevie Wonder.

The festival’s diversity also manifests itself in what I like to call “mini-festivals,” several of which are contained within the larger framework of the Bonnaroo weekend. For instance, this year, some one who loves female artists could have a hell of a time seeing Tori Amos, Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, She & Him, and numerous others without ever subjecting their ears to sounds they don’t like. Jam fans can make a weekend of Dave Matthews Band, Les Claypool, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Disco Biscuits, Blues Traveler, Lotus, and Medeski Martin and Wood, all the while avoiding the hard stuff. You can already map out your own jazz, rock, electronica, or country/bluegrass festival if so inclined – and we still only have half of the lineup. The breadth of music that passes through Manchester in those 4 days every year is mind boggling, no matter how much one may dislike some of the names on the lineup, and playing a high-intensity game of “choose your own festival” is an unmatched delight. – Bryan Rodgers

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5 Responses

  1. I’ve alternated between excited and nonplussed for the line-up. While I listen and see them tour regularly, you can in no way classify DMB as a top-tier jam band. For me, having them as your number one jammie throws the entire balance off.

    That said, the mid-lower tier indie and rock talent seems right on target. I always forget this, but these are the bread and butter bands; they’re the ones that constitute the majority of the weekend and the ones that will make or break the weekend.

    Ryan, could not agree with you more: Westville is amazing and Lips’ Moon is wretched. Did that mean you had a mediocre meal? (I’m hoping seeing this live does it justice, but I wasn’t excited about the idea before it was released and thought it was an even worse execution. They could be doing so much more creative things with their time than re-creating a near-perfect album)

  2. Love it love it love it. I love how diverse B’Roo has become. You can see any style of music at any time of the day. And like others have said, some “jam fans” could stand to expand their horizons a little, and this is the perfect way.

  3. Gwar was the only act that really surprised me? Good lineup but it’s hard to really “surprise” anymore after all the lineups they’ve put together. I could see a cool Gwar>Dan Deacon> late night DJ tent as a good late night bill

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