Kicking off on June 9 and lasting through June 12 is annual music and arts festival Bonnaroo, offering its traditional escape into excitement, love, music, art, good times and good vibes. With lots of clean air and sunshine, all the festival asks of its Bonnaroovians is that they radiate positivity.
Taking place in Manchester, Tennessee, the four-day, multi-stage event offers 700+ acres of farmland and 100+ acts of music and comedy. With 15+ genres of music, here are the top 18 acts, separated by genres and subgenres to have on your radar during your time on the farm.
Bluegrass: The Bluegrass Situation Superjam feat. Ed Helms and Friends
Playing on Sunday, June 12 for their fourth time are Ed Helms and The Bluegrass Situation featuring a star studded lineup of John Moreland, Sara Watkins, The Wood Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Sam Bush Band cultivating a beautiful blend of bluegrass and Americana. Bringing together a community that spans across various generations and genres, this Superjam should be experienced by the entire Bonnaroo community.
Country: Rayland Baxter
Both a musician and a storyteller, Rayland Baxter will be taking on one of the Roo stages on Friday, June 10 offering dramatic melodies and lyrics that will bring audience members to their knees. With songs that are both haunting and familiar, Baxter’s undeniable musical depth will draw crowds from all musical walks of life.
DJ (Silent Disco): DJ Uncle Jesse
Performance date still to be announced, Uncle Jesse is a household name for some ’90s television fans, while DJ Uncle Jesse is a household name for those familiar with Langhorne Slime, Ingrid Michaelson and Bob Dylan, to name a few. With numerous titles of DJ, producer, and filmmaker, DJ Uncle Jesse dabbles in an array of fields, as well as an array of music styles which shall not be missed during Bonnnaroo’s Silent Disco!
EDM: Keys N Krates
EDM doesn’t always mean masterminds behind a board during the entirety of a set, and Keys N Krates prove just that during each of their live shows. Playing on Friday, June 10 are Jr. Flo, Matisse, and Adam Tune which all offer their live talents as well as their produced and mixed talents. A trio who can rock a festival equally as well and as seriously as they would a week or two spent in the studio, Keys N Krates are a must have on the schedule!
Folk (Indie Folk Rock): Whitney
Both wistful and comforting, Whitney takes their listeners on a journey inside their lost souls and offer an easy ride upon strings and horns. Bonnaroo’s long, nonstop days call for Whitney’s soothing, inhale-exhale music and on Friday, June 10 they will be playing with and for their audience members who need a little bit of a refresher and a kick back.
Funk music is a full, hearty genre composed of various parts of rhythm and blues, and somehow the members of Vulfpeck found the perfect way to approach a live performance that is both minimal and raw, but leaves their listeners feeling satisfied and full with a funk-food baby. Playing on the opening day of Bonnaroo, June 9, they are the perfect group to catch to ease your way into the long, winding weekend of this positively packed festival.
Hip Hop: Lizzo
There’s something admirable about an individual who can find the perfect blend between a bold and brassy attitude and a heart-wrenching sincerity and Lizzo is an artist that hit the nail right on the head. As a gifted rapper, gospel singer, wordsmith, and flautist, Lizzo has the ability to win over any given crowd and is sure to win over those attending Bonnaroo on Thursday, June 9.
Belligerent, in your face, and down your throat is DIY band Clutch. Having formed around 25 years ago and having become a staple in the world of stoner rock, Clutch not only rides on a constant incline due to the success of their music, but are responsible for the creation of their own label, their own tours, and sell their own merch. Each pull, bend, and hammer-on of the guitar seems as if it’s in attempts to outdo the last. While they take their music very seriously, they’re known and loved for their off the wall personalities and are sure to please the crowds at Roo on Saturday, June 11.
First gaining exposure through ad campaigns for J. Crew and MasterCard, Powers have since then been dubbed as an infectious, funky band, perfectly fit for frequent running television commercials. Performing on Friday, June 10, Powers are expected to put their listeners ears and souls on a constant, unshakeable loop of electric melodies.
Though known to string simple words along with catchy melodies, Shamir is much more than an infectious pop song. Playing Friday, June 10, audience members will be captivated by Shamir’s androgynous, almost Extra Terrestrial-like vocal abilities that, while powerful, also go through a range of different inflections. Whether letting the end of a note simmer, or pulling it back fresh off of the stove, Shamir will leave his audience members bopping their heads and humming his tunes for the rest of the weekend.
Punk (Post Punk): Public Access T.V.
Being anything but static, Public Access T.V.’s post punk garage sound is composed of driving melodies and lyrics that push and pull in all directions. Their sound is the equivalent of an alarm set for the first fresh day of summer and pulls you in with no intentions of letting go. Playing on Friday, June 10, Public Access T.V. is sure to remind all audience members that summer is here!
Psychedelia: Tame Impala
Psychedelia is one part weightless sounds and one part heavy-heartedness. Add a pinch of deep-rooted desolation and you get the musical masterminds behind Tame Impala. Audience members attending Bonnaroo on Friday, June 10 can expect every empty crater and crevice of their being to be concealed with an emotional bandage lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 9 minutes. Without the ability to concoct the proper synthesized tones, percussion programs, and psychedelic guitar strums, audience members would not be able to trip on the context of experienced emotional paralysis expressed by Tame Impala.
It wouldn’t be fair to limit GoldLink’s style to one genre. Accruing over one million plays on Soundcloud, GoldLink blends an array of styles from smooth grooves of the ’90s and current hip hop breaks. His sound is both nostalgic and futuristic, always leaving his listeners wanting more. On Thursday, June 9, GoldLink will be spitting mad rhymes and mad truth, giving attendees something to chew on for the rest of the weekend.
R&B: Leon Bridges
Taking a smooth sail into the hearts of soul lovers is R&B singer, Leon Bridges. Carrying out the classic sound soul from the ’50s and ’60s, Leon Bridges has perfected the combination of smoldering, hip swaying ballads and hair shaking rock n’ roll. Taking on one of the Roo stages on Friday, June 10, Bridges will be sure to leave his audience members dripping in the beautiful heat of soul music.
Rock (Progressive Rock): Dungen
Hailing all the way from Stockholm, Sweden is progressive rock band, Dungen. Dungen has perfected the art of giving their listeners exactly what they want. Their last album Skit I Allt was released 5 years ago and was full of flourishing melodies and lyrical lines. Just this past year, Dungen picked up right where they left off with their latest album Allas Sak. Though continuing on with their story and their journey, Dungen somehow managed to mold themselves into something for formidable and far more lively. On Friday, June 10, attendees will be able to watch their story unfold right before their eyes.
Singer-songwriter: Natalie Prass
Not only is she one of Rolling Stone’s “Ten New Artists You Need To Know”, she is also a singer-songwriter who has found her niche in making her stripped down vocals sound completely full. Natalie Prass is an upcoming artist who offers lush melancholic melodies, as well as bold and brass orchestral gestures. She is the perfect oxymoron who shall not go unknown or unseen at Bonnaroo on Saturday, June 11.
For more information on the festival, visit the Bonnaroo site.
Photo credit: Shannon McGee