Radiohead, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Beck, Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy are among the acts lined up to play the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, to be held June 16-18 in Manchester, Tenn. Tickets go on sale Feb. 11.
Though Bonnaroo’s roots are firmly planted in the jam-band scene, this year’s lineup tilts more toward mainstream and indie rock, with bands like My Morning Jacket, Death Cab For Cutie, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Cat Power, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks and Bright Eyes booked alongside more traditional jam scene acts like Phil Lesh and Friends, Blues Traveler, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, moe., G. Love & Special Sauce and Medeski Martin & Wood.
“From the beginning we’ve always tried to reflect people’s music collections,” said Jonathan Meyers, president of Superfly Presents, which is promoting Bonnaroo with A.C. Entertainment.
“People have diverse musical tastes and that’s what we’re trying to showcase with our programming. While we’re not trying to get too far away from our core, Bonnaroo has been a great platform to introduce different music to our fans.”
Asked if Bonnaroo was running the risk of alienating the core jam band fans that put the festival on the map, Mayers responded, “We don’t want to dismiss our core in any way, but we also think it’s great to bring all these different types of music together. As great as Widespread Panic has been to us and has been a really big part of what we’ve done, we can’t have Widespread Panic every single year.”
Bonnaroo will also boast performances this year from the Neville Brothers, Damian Marley, Ben Folds, Dr. John, Matisyahu, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Nickel Creek, Mike Gordon and Ramble Dove, Gomez, Jerry Douglas, Soulive, Rusted Root, Sasha, Bill Frisell, Mike Doughty, Shooter Jennings, Dungen, Steve Earle, Devendra Banhart, Dresden Dolls and Bettye LaVette.
Mayers said more acts would be added to the bill.
In its brief history, Bonnaroo has become the top-grossing festival in the world. Last year, it took in $13.4 million and drew 76,049 people to its rural setting about 60 miles south of Nashville. Last year’s numbers were down from $14.5 million and 90,000 attendance in 2004; attendance will be capped at 80,000 this year and ticket prices will be increased slightly from the $172.50-$146.50 charged last year.