Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Phish and the Beastie Boys have been confirmed as headliners for the eighth annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. As previously reported, the four-day event will take place from June 11-14 in Manchester, TN. Other marquee acts scheduled to appear include industrial arena-rockers Nine Inch Nails, Talking Heads visionary David Byrne, indie/alt-country powerhouse Wilco, soul legend Al Green, rap icon Snoop Dogg, seminal country musician Merle Haggard and singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, who will deliver a rare solo set.
Phish and Bruce Springsteen are both major coups for the festival, which has its roots in the jam and classic-rock scenes. Both artists will make their only U.S. 2008 festival appearances at the four-day event, squashing rumors that Phish will play Rothbury and Outside Lands later this summer. In addition to a full two-set headlining performance, Phish will deliver a special late-night set as guitarist Trey Anastasio did in 2005.
“Their presence at Bonnaroo holds a great deal of significance -- besides the fact that each of its members has shown the event great support, performing at the festival in various incarnations over the years, Phish’s own festivals were notably one of the major inspirations for Bonnaroo’s creation and operational strategies,” the festival’s organizers said in a statement. “Many of the organizers of those events (large scale, multi-day camping festivals with Phish as the solo performer) were brought on to help birth Bonnaroo in 2002, and continue to play a major role in the festival to this day.”
Festival producer Ashley Capps, of AC Entertainment, is quick to emphasize the importance the organizers of Phish’s multi-day large-scale events had on Bonnaroo. “They worked with us from the very beginning and many of them remain core to our staff and making Bonnaroo what it is today,” Capps told Relix/Jambands.com. “Phish is going to offer a late-night set as well as more of a headlining situation.”
Bonnaroo has spent the past few years actively diversifying its lineup, so it is no surprise that this year’s offerings will feature touchstone acts from an incredible mix of genres. Hip-hop influenced soul singer Erykah Badu will make her Bonnaroo debut a year after My Morning Jacket covered her “Tyrone,” while festival staple Ben Harper will return with his new rock band Relentless7. Though this year is the Beastie Boys’ first appearance at Bonnaroo, longtime Beastie Boys DJ Mix Master Mike spun at the second annual Bonnaroo in 2003, and keyboardist Money Mark appeared at the festival this past summer. International DJ Paul Oakenfold will also make his first appearance at the festival.
“Both Nine Inch Nails and Erykah Badu are acts who we have talked about trying to get for a while,” Capps continues. “They are both fantastic live acts and that is always core to the Bonnaroo aesthetic—looking to artists who deliver fantastic live performances. Erykah will add another dimension and she will fit right in.” Though Capps is hesitant to talk about Nine Inch Nail’s set time, he says the three-dimensional group will have “a very special spot on the festival’s lineup.”
Other returning favorites include prog-metal titans The Mars Volta, blues-jam stars Gov’t Mule, violin wiz, Andrew Bird, jam favorites moe., indie-pop collective The Decemberists and experimental laptop DJ Girl Talk. Synth-pop buzzband MGMT will also graduate from last year’s Thursday night showcase spot to a proper festival set. In addition, New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, hard-rock band Coheed and Cambria and Stax keyboardist Booker T. Jones will all take part in the multi-day event. Coheed and Combria have worked their way onto the jamband circuit in recent months thanks to appearances at Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam and a confirmed spot at Mountain Jam, while Jones will be backed by Bonnaroo favorites Drive-By Truckers.
As in years past, the festival has confirmed a number of indie favorites, including Band of Horses, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bon Iver, Of Montreal, Animal Collective, Gomez, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, The Ting Tings, Grizzly Bear, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Crystal Castles, Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Okkervil River, St. Vincent, Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Cherryholmes and Yeasayer.
The festival will also appeal to its core jam and roots-music audience with appearances by Lucinda Williams, Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Galactic, The Del McCoury Band, David Grisman Quintet, Alejandro Escovedo, Robert Earl Keen, Citizen Cope, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Kaki King, Tift Merritt, Brett Dennen, Todd Snider, Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue and Toubab Krewe.
“The stars aligned this year,” Capps says. “The breadth and depth of what the festival has to offer is beyond anything we have offered. We are so excited by the variety of bluegrass and acoustic music alongside DJ and electric acts. We also have some fantastic African bands on the lineup.”
This year’s world music acts include afro-beat heirs Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Nigerian singer and guitarist King Sunny Adé, Malian singer Vieux Farka Touré and reggae troubadours Midnite.
Having booked Tool and Metallica in 2007 and 2008, respectively, Bonnaroo will also appeal to fans of harder music by offering performances by Down, Portugal. The Man and People Under the Stairs. Other left-field additions include hip-hop songstress Santogold, soul singer Raphael Saadiq and hip-hop duo The Knux.
Bonnaroo has helped breed a number of bands over the years, from My Morning Jacket to Kings of Leon, and this spring the festival has also confirmed a handful of up-and-coming bands, including country crossover Zac Brown Band (which played the festival in 2007), synth-rockers Chairlift, local bluegrass group The SteelDrivers, organic rockers The Low Anthem, retro-indie hybrid Delta Spirit, Fat Possum recording artist A.A. Bondy, bluegrass/country/folk fusion The Lovell Sisters and Canadian Americana stars--and Relix favorites--Alberta Cross.
Given the current state of the economy, the festival is now offering a special payment plan in which tickets will be available for five payments of $50.00 plus applicable fees. In addition, fans will have the option to purchase a Bonnaroo Green Ticket that will help to support the development and implementation of sustainable improvements at the festival for years to come.
As part of this initial Bonnaroo 2009 artist announcement, festival organizers have teamed up with Ghost Robot to create an innovative video that incorporates a new experimental process called stratostencil animation. The video can be viewed at Bonnaroo.com.
Below is the complete artist lineup:
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Nine Inch Nails
Elvis Costello Solo
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Band of Horses
Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Robert Earl Keen
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
King Sunny Adé
Zac Brown Band
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
People Under the Stairs
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Portugal. The Man.
The Low Anthem
The Lovell Sisters