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Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers, Phoenix, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder, The Wood Brothers and More Confirmed for Bonnaroo

Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers and Phoenix are among the acts confirmed to appear at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this spring. As previously reported, the 13th annual music, art and comedy gathering will return to Manchester, Tenn. from June 12-15. The final Bonnaroo 2014 lineup will boast over 130 bands and comedians throughout 13 stages. Other marquee acts slated to perform at the always eclectic event include: Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, Frank Ocean, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Kaskade, Damon Albarn, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wiz Khalifa, Disclosure, Cut Copy, The Head and the Heart, Zedd, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Chromeo, Broken Bells, James Blake and Bobby Womack.

As in years past, Bonnaroo will also boast a range of genre-bending superjams as well as honor its roots in live, improvisational music thanks to marquee appearances by Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band and The John Butler Trio, among others. The festival’s lineup was officially rolled out this evening via the The Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon (BLAM!) video featuring Taran Killam, Hannibal Buress and a SuperJam boasting The Flaming Lips & Ben Folds.

Elton John, the latest in a line of cross-generational icons such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Police, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to make the trek to Manchester, has been on festival promoters’ bucket list for several years. His appearance on the festival’s What Stage will not only be his first Bonnaroo appearance but also his first appearance at any modern United States music festival.

“Elton is another legend that’s making us to pinch ourselves that we’re allowed to do this,” says Rick Farman, a co-founder of New York-based Superfly, who promotes the festival with Knoxville, Tenn.’s AC Entertainment. “I think also it is particularly cool that it is the first time he’s played a festival in North America.”

While John is a new addition to the Bonnaroo family, this year’s other top-shelf bands all have much deeper roots in the festival. Nashville transplant Jack White, who lives less than an hour from the festival site, has performed at Bonnaroo with The White Stripes in 2007, The Raconteurs in 2008 and The Dead Weather in 2010 and attended the festival on several other occasions. In 2012, he brought event headliners Radiohead to his Third Man Records to record some tracks before their Bonnaroo appearance. However, this marks both White’s first Bonnaroo appearance under his own name and his first time as one of the festival’s headliners.

“He’s one of the special relationships we’ve had like Kings of Leon, Mumford & Sons and My Morning Jacket,” Farman says. “Jack White started off at a little bigger level when he first played the festival, but I think he has embraced it in a similar fashion—you associate him with being a Bonnaroo artist. Jack has played so many different times and in so many different configurations, it’s pretty special. His performance with The White Stripes was definitely in my top five Bonnaroo sets ever.”

Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers and Phoenix are also emblematic of a wave of current buzz bands that have risen through the festival’s various tents and stages. The Avett Brothers performed in a tiny café space in 2006 and naturally progressed to The Other Tent in 2008 and the Which Stage in 2010 and, finally, the What Stage in 2012. Phoenix was one of the rare non-jam or Americana acts to play the festival two years in a row when they performed in 2009 and 2010; their latter show on the Which Stage was one of the most crowded in the stage’s history. While Vampire Weekend has only appeared at the festival on one prior occasion—a 2008 Thursday night showcase spot—they represent a generation of musicians who attended Bonnaroo as fans and swung back as performers. Drummer Chris Tomson drove down to the inaugural Bonnaroo in 2002 and marked his return by wearing a Phish T-shirt onstage during Vampire Weekend’s performance.

“It is a sign of our age that there are guys that came as fans and now are in some of the biggest bands at the festival,” Farman says with a laugh. “That’s about as cool as it gets.”

Though Lionel Richie has never appeared on an official Bonnaroo roster, the legendary hit maker—and favorite of the Superfly staff—has actually performed onstage at Bonnaroo. In 2012, while in Nashville for a country music event, Richie made an unannounced cameo at the festival during his friend and mentor Kenny Rogers’ set.

“We’ve been trying to get him for years,” Farman says. “I saw him at JazzFest [in 2010] and it was amazing. He has so many killer songs. He’s great live. It will be so much fun.”
The festival’s most unexpected booking is unquestionably Kayne West, who despite being one of the most successful rap musicians on the live music circuit, has a somewhat infamous history with Bonnaroo. In 2008, a mixture of production issues, 11th hour schedule changes and requests from West’s camp delayed his late night set into the wee hours of the morning while thousands of fans waited in front of an empty What Stage. By the time he took the stage, the sun had already started to rise, ruining the impact of his glow-in-the dark show. Neither West nor the festival’s promoters were happy with the outcome of the situation, leading to something of a back-and-forth over social media and on stage.

“First and foremost, we think Kanye is one of the most prolific and groundbreaking artists of this generation,” Farman admits. “He’s hugely influential. His albums are as great and as acclaimed as they get. He’s also a great live performer. He takes a lot of chances and he’s adventurous with the live space. All those things are what Bonnaroo performers are about. That’s why we booked him [in 2008].

His return to Bonnaroo will offer a chance for redemption.

“Everyone has moved on—it’s in the past,” he continues. “We’re happy he wants to come back to Bonnaroo and is embracing this. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to look forward, and we think it’s a great opportunity for the Bonnaroo community to show what it’s made of. It goes back to what Bonnaroo stands for: It’s about having good time, radiating positivity and that whole message. We couldn’t be more excited about what we think has the potential to be another historic Bonnaroo moment.” West will anchor an impressive hip-hop lineup that also includes Frank Ocean, Wiz Khalifa, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Janelle Monae, Die Antwoord, Chance the Rapper, A$AP Ferg, Pusha T, A Tribe Called Red and Danny Brown.

Farman is also quick to point out the festival’s hallmark SuperJams and special collaborations. In past years, Bonnaroo has offered a myriad of jamband, funk, jazz, hip-hop and soul jam sessions. This year at least one of the festival’s official SuperJams will focus on electronic music, with EDM king Skrillex as the event’s host. “We continue to get excited about where the SuperJam concept is going,” Farman admits.

“We’re really excited about venturing into a different genre, with Skrillex leading the charge. I think the SuperJam is something that’s really unique to what we do. It is a big part of Superfly’s roots and very connected to how Bonnaroo got started. To see that brand and concept continue to evolve and break new territory is something we are really excited about.”

In addition to another themed SuperJam that has yet to be announced, Bonnaroo will welcome back The Hangover star and banjo enthusiast Ed Helms for his second consecutive Bluegrass Situation jam. Likewise, Billy Martin, Marc Ribot, DJ Logic and Shazad Ismaily will join Bachir Attar to reprise a recent album of Moroccan Sufi trance master music. The performance will be dubbed The Master Musicians of Jajouka.

“That was one of [AC Entertainment founder] Ashley Capps’ bookings,” Farman says. “I’m excited to see the whole project. Personally, I’m really excited to see Marc Ribot. He’s such an amazing performer who’s under recognized. To have him doing that project there is pretty rad.”

During the past few years, Bonnaroo’s initial lineups have shied away from the jambands who once served as the festival’s bedrock. But this year’s BLAM announcement included a number of core jam and improvisational acts including the before-mentioned Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band and The John Butler Trio as well as Greensky Bluegrass, Break Science, The Wood Brothers and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, among others. Umphrey’s McGee has performed at Bonnaroo more than almost any other band, appearing at the fest seven times between 2002 and 2012 (and often performing multiple times during the weekend). John Butler Trio is also a veteran of the first Bonnaroo. Though the band’s namesakes have performed at Bonnaroo with other projects, this year will mark Tedeschi Trucks Band’s first time at Bonnaroo.

“Tedeschi Trucks Band are coming into another level right now,” Farman says excitedly. “They’ve never been at the festival but Derek and Susan are people who are core to Bonnaroo. I think it’s pretty cool they’ll be there finally.”
As the indie and jam communities have inched closer together, a new generation of roots and psych bands with ties to those once-divergent scenes have emerged. This year, Bonnaroo has confirmed a number of these festival-ready bands, including The Head the The Heart, Ben Howard, Shovels and Rope, ZZ Ward, Blackberry Smoke, Real Estate, Ty Segall, Darkside, Sarah Jarosz, White Denim, Jonathan Wilson, The Lone Bellow, Caveman, Cass McCombs, Vance Joy, J. Roddy Walston, Lake Street Dive, St. Paul and The Broken Bones and The Wild Feathers. Farman also encourages fans to check out Robert DeYoung, who blends EDM with traditional singer-songwriter music, as well as Middle Eastern musician Omar Souleyman and post-punk music legend Nick Cave.

“Thirteen years ago, if you were to tell us we would have all these great people and legends playing there, we wouldn’t have believed you,” Farman says.

Here’s a look at Bonnaroo’s lineup

Elton John

Kanye West

Jack White

Lionel Richie

Vampire Weekend

The Avett Brothers

Phoenix

Skrillex

Arctic Monkeys

Frank Ocean

The Flaming Lips

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Kaskade

Damon Albarn

Neutral Milk Hotel

Wiz Khalifa

SuperJam with Skrillex & Friends

SuperJam “?”

The Bluegrass Situation Superjam hosted by Ed Helms

Disclosure

Cut Copy

The Head and the Heart

Zedd

Ms. Lauryn Hill

Funkiest Dancer

Chromeo

Broken Bells

Tedeschi Trucks Band

James Blake

Bobby Womack

Umphrey’s McGee

Ice Cube

Ben Howard

Slightly Stoopid

Fitz and The Tantrums

Cake

Janelle Monáe

Grouplove

Amos Lee

CHVRCHES

Cage The Elephant

Die Antwoord

Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory

Mastodon

Capital Cities

Jake Bugg

Chance The Rapper

Dr. Dog

Yonder Mountain String Band

John Butler Trio

Little Dragon

City and Colour

The Glitch Mob

The Naked and Famous

Taran Killam

Phosphorescent

Drive-By Truckers

Washed Out

Danny Brown

Warpaint

Sam Smith

A$AP Ferg

Darkside

Seasick Steve

Shovels & Rope

Lucero

Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Wood Brothers

The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar, with special guests Billy Martin, Marc Ribot, DJ Logic

and Shazad Ismaily

Pusha T

Meshuggah

Poliça

DakhaBrakha

Goat

ZZ Ward

Seun Kuti

Blackberry Smoke

MS MR

Hannibal Buress

First Aid Kit

Rudimental

A Tribe Called Red

Omar Souleyman

The Bouncing Souls

Greensky Bluegrass

Ty Segall

Sarah Jarosz

Vintage Trouble

Okkervil River

White Denim

Jonathan Wilson

Robert DeLong

Cloud Nothings

Typhoon

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Valerie June

King Khan & The Shrines

Cherub

BANKS

Break Science

The Black Lillies

Real Estate

The Lone Bellow

Caveman

Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Jon Batiste

La Santa Cecilia

Classixx

Allah-Las

Cass McCombs

Vance Joy

Haerts

J. Roddy Walston & The Business

Those Darlins

Deafheaven

Lake Street Dive

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

The Wild Feathers

The Preatures

Blank Range

Comments

There are 19 comments associated with this post

(-_-)y-ººº February 19, 2014, 22:05:01

Kanye and Skrillex completely suck but this is still the best lineup yet. Fuck all you Bonnaroo haters right up front. Yeah this isn’t a dime a dozen jam festival so what. This year like all years past will be excellent and the late night schedule will be the best of the summer. Only thing missing is Outkast. Now all we need is some Panic summer tour announcements and some Phish dates.

Reality February 19, 2014, 22:14:40

Yawn. I bet you were not at the 2002 bonaroo huh face man? stick to your dorm room nooch.

Wildfire41 February 20, 2014, 00:03:47

So long as you don’t let Kanye do his typical diva act and make others leave their sets early or him be the only one playing, maybe, just MAYBE, bonnaroovians will forgive him for the past. But if he starts making all the demands he’s well known for and shows up late or bashes bonnaroo and/or its fans, then PLEASE have someone in the background ready to step up and take his place. Maybe YOU have forgiven him up in the corporate ladder, but he really did piss off a whole bunch of people AND artists … and that’s where YOU get YOUR money and reputation from. I myself will go see another artist (hopefully) or get ready for the late night sets or cool off at the tent, anything but go to his show. He’s the only disappointment I have this year, and I’ve been to many ‘roos!! That wall gets painted every single year with something bad about Kanye for a reason … maybe you’ve forgotten, but your loyal fans haven’t, and most likely never will.

MusicLover February 20, 2014, 01:09:39

I just saved 15% on my Summer Festival Budget! Because I won’t be going to Bonnaroo again this year. Kanye? Really? After what he did last time? Setting aside the fact that he is the biggest jackass in the music business. Setting aside that it is a monumental task to BE the biggest jackass in the music business. Does anybody really think this guy’s fans are going to pay $300 to camp out in the sweltering heat and pouring rain to see him? A handful of the Jambands that made this festival what it is in the first place, a bunch of EDM crap that brings in seriously bad ju-ju and can barely be considered music by anybody over the age of 25, and an entire legion of hip-hop artists that I wouldn’t go and if they were in my backyard.

Overspill e February 20, 2014, 07:25:42

Worst lineup yet. Every year this gets worse. It’s getting comical. The last good lineup out of Bonnapoo was in like 2005. The last great Bonnaroo was 2003. Yep the 2nd edition. Although even the best festivals have been diluted lineup-wise the last few years, there are still a ton better than this farce.

KoolAde February 20, 2014, 07:37:55

Feel the SUCK! I went to the first 4 Bonnaroos. Gotten progressively weak since… Turn your eyes to the east towards Virginia. Lockn is what this is supposed to be.

nickt1631 February 20, 2014, 08:34:27

I wonder if any of the folks from Roo ’08 saved their F*** Kanye tee shirts???

G February 20, 2014, 09:06:46

Great lineup. I am still waiting for people to realize that the Flaming Lips are a terrible live band though. What is it that keeps festivals booking them. They have some good albums but they are atrocious live.

timmy February 20, 2014, 09:37:37

I was at the first two Bonnaroos. They were absolutely stellar. I’m so glad I’ve never been back. The corporate greed mongers have no limitations, and the EDM kids ruin everything they touch. I can’t believe they actually asked Kanye to come back. He is the most overrated diva bitch out there. Maybe Elton John will give him some pointers on how to be a classy diva bitch. Kanye loves fish dicks.

Kramer February 20, 2014, 11:59:53

Shameful!!! I can’t believe they’d invite Kanye back. Actually I can I guess. I was one of those miserable people waiting in that dark cold field at 3am in 2008. After all that hype I was curious. Never again!! I did 10 Roos n a row before skipping last year. I agree with an earlier post…this announcement helps me save a lot of money! F*** Kanye!

snafunk February 20, 2014, 12:03:05

Coachella east

PM February 20, 2014, 12:52:32

For the kids

joe February 20, 2014, 15:55:40

the only bonnnaroo i ever went to was 04, when the dead, ween, and primus played the same night. i lived 2 hours away, and i was sittin a buddies house gettin drunk on fri. and we were like, “ primus, and ween, and bobby(yes we are bobbyheadsfukofff) are playin that close and we aint there???!! WTF”
so we left fri. night, stayed for sat. night, and left sun. morning. saw the 3 bands i came to see, paid 75 bucks to some blackdude outside for a wristband, and felt like i got my moneys worth. but, if i got free ticket, and limo ride, i wouldnt go see this shit lineup.
ELTON JOHN RULES THOUGH

hitman February 20, 2014, 17:00:18

i went to the first 6 or 7 and then returned for radiohead a few years back whenever that was. i have to say people can bitch about the lineup and what not but its really the vibe that has been killed. if you missed the first few years you just cant understand. its still a very cool place to be compared to the rest of the world but man the days of it being a community are gone. no more secondary economy. where are my goo-balls and garlic grill cheeses? Now they cut off peoples wrist bands for selling tees and i even saw swat type security roaming the campground. its a shame because it was magical for a few years. And where has the lead guitar and jamming went? now its Lionel Richie sitting in with Kenny Rodgers….hahahaha….that says it all right. Give me Warren and Les sitting in with folks!

Phil Phan February 20, 2014, 18:04:41

Anybody else remember when Bonnaroo was awesome? It’s been so sad to watch it fall year after year.

Kramer Garcia February 20, 2014, 22:10:57

That is actually an awesome lineup! i wonder how the crowd will react to kanye though…similar to tila tequila at the juggalo gathering?

Rob February 21, 2014, 15:59:14

Never been to bonnaroo before but to every other major festival. Going this year solely because of Kanye. Thank you for the wise move.

charles February 21, 2014, 21:34:23

^^^sigh

MSTaper February 23, 2014, 16:42:33

While I’m not too excited about this year’s lineup, I’m still going and expect to get my money’s worth. I despise Kanye West as well, but for all the people whining about the fest, nobody is forcing you to attend. There are numerous alternatives and if I lived closer to Mountain Jam, Summer Camp and Lockn, I’d be there.

MSTaper February 23, 2014, 16:42:36

While I’m not too excited about this year’s lineup, I’m still going and expect to get my money’s worth. I despise Kanye West as well, but for all the people whining about the fest, nobody is forcing you to attend. There are numerous alternatives and if I lived closer to Mountain Jam, Summer Camp and Lockn, I’d be there.

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