Every year thousands of music fans migrate towards the farm to connect as one. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival features a diverse lineup of acts with 10+ stages showcasing more than 130 bands. U2 should be announced on Wednesday as part of the line up this year. Tickets to be purchased directly from the Bonnaroo site. More details forth coming. Come a long and lets chill at the farm this summer.
Perhaps the loftiest praise Jay-Z could receive for Saturday’s prodigious gig at Bonnaroo’s What stage was that he didn’t miss Beyonce (who was spotted on site, but didn’t perform) and that he wasn’t overshadowed by Stevie Wonder (who’d wowed the crowd on the same stage a couple of hours prior).
Rather, Jay made a boisterous case that every major worldwide music festival should probably keep him on retainer as headliner for the foreseeable future. With his genial rock-star swagger, barrage of modern pop standards, and dazzling video fantasia, the man who once seemed on the verge of crotchety irrelevance after the ill-fated “Death of Auto-Tune” campaign, has now provided the star-wattage at All Points West, Coachella, and Bonnaroo in the past year.
There was a remarkable amount of tolerance for the repeated solemnization of New York and even the cornier new material—“Young Forever,” “Empire State of Mind”—resulted in mass singalongs with lighters, cell phones, and glow sticks hoisted high.
When the band kicked into U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” for the alternate version of “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love),” it recalled the moment when the transformation of Jay-Z into go-to festival eminence began: Glastonbury 2008, where he strategically responded to Noel Gallagher’s statement that hip-hop had no place at the fest by miming “Wonderwall,” guitar in hand, and generally crushing the unprepared Oasis leader’s credibility.
For a man who obviously needs fresh challenges, here was a new field of play. It appealed to his increasing love of rock and his neverending desire to locate new markets for his music. Now, two years later, he’s actually begun to master the form. Let’s hope he doesn’t think that he’s completely conquered the game just yet.
No matter how big Bonnaroo gets, or how many up years or down years it endures, or how many porta-potties overflow, I hope that the festival’s devotees never change. The people who go to Bonnaroo remind me of the New Orleans Jazz Fest faithful - not in every way, but in their dedication to the music (granted, much like Jazzfest, not everyone is there for the music). Even the bands are consistently amazed at how many people show up in the middle of a Tennessee farm and know the band member’s names and the words to their music. In a way, this mentality fosters a mindset that is desperately needed in today’s music consumers, and that is attention to detail. Bonnaroo has come a long way from its roots by doing what it needs to survive. What it needs now, on the cusp of the tenth anniversary of the event, is for everyone involved to keep making it the best music experience possible.
Ever since U2 signed on to play Glastonbury last month rumors have been circulating that U2 was being lined up for next year’s Bonnaroo.
And while this may have been well-wishing at the beginning, it sounds like it may not be well-wishing after all.
According to Alex Young, CEO of online music publication Consequence of Sound, Bonnaroo officials have not ruled the band out, an about face from 2008’s ‘Roo when promoters came out of the wood work to kill Led Zeppelin rumors.
While the U2 buzz may not have reached Zeppelin heights it still proves that the ‘Roo promoters are not afraid of squashing rumors.
Young states: “U2 feels more and more like Springsteen last year — it was hard to imagine, but in the back of our minds, we knew it was going to happen.
U2 is certainly capable of hitting Manchester even despite the fact they’ll be in the west coast. Bruce & Co. flew from Europe last year. I do not have any specific word of them being confirmed yet, but I have not got one blatant “no” from the people I’ve talked to.”
Big Questions: Is U2 starting a ‘festival trend’ in 2010, and will Bono show up at the Bonnaroo Festival?
Threre’s one problem with this rumor. U2 are locked into an exclusive agreement with Live Nation to promote their concert performances until 2020. They can play glastonbury because Live Nation co-owns the festival.
Bonnaroo is owned by AC Entertainment, thus making it impossible for them to play there. Maybe, yet it seems the buzz has gotten louder.
Rumors are not yet facts until the contract has been signed. We will keep you updated - Let us know what you think - Do you want to see U2 at Bonnaroo ?
Awesome arguments abound for why U2 should headline Bonnaroo 2010, and any arguments against the proposition could be turned into reasons why it’s still a great idea.
The best case for bringing the boys to Bonnaroo might be how infrequently U2 have ever played the Volunteer state: opening for J. Geils at UT Knoxville in 1982, headlining the Murphy Center at MTSU in Murfreesboro on the Joshua Tree tour in 1987 (around the same time they Rattle and Hum film crew went to Memphis), and bringing the spectacle of Popmart to Memphis in 1997. Atlanta has always been U2’s mid-south staple, and the current 360 dates for summer 2010 only include one southern date in Miami.
The second best case for U2 addressing the throng that assembles each summer in Manchester would come from the Bonnaroo organizers and their commitment to attracting top-tier rock performers. If U2 does not get the nod and play their first Tennessee show in over 13 years, whoever takes the What Stage on Saturday night will likely be one of U2’s elder peers like The Stones, The Who, or Paul McCartney, a true peer like Green Day or R.E.M., or one of the younger pretenders to their throne, a band like Coldplay or The Killers. Tennessee homeboys Kings of Leon have already played day set on the mainstage at Bonnaroo, and it’s likely too soon to bring them back as the main act.
The third premise for U2 at the ‘roo has already been floated to defend the Glastonbury decision: reaching out to a younger audience and even expanding the band’s already enormous fanbase. Clearly, Bonnaroo goes for the righteous blend of hippie and hipster, adding to its jamband roots a plethora of jazz, world music, reggae, electonica, and indy-rock; U2’s globally-minded musical and social spirit could actually do quite well at such a gig. If sluggish sales for No Line On The Horizon and casual demographic surveys of the crowds at 360 shows are any indication, it would not be all wrong for a band with U2’s impressive resume to reach out to the crowd that comes from around North America to for this top-shelf event.
Bonnaroo regulars return each summer not just for the impressive array of artists but for the experience itself, its particular convergence of the communal and the cosmic, from the sometimes treacherous logistics to the frequently transcendent memories. Many of us would love to add a U2 set to a long list of Bonnaroo bests.
Fan-author and devout U2 follower Cathal McCarron understands the potential beauty of U2 bringing its noise to a major festival. He comments about the Glastonbury decision: “This is the best bad news I’ve ever heard. I’ve been to Glasto eight (or nine, it’s hard to remember) times. I’ve have been to the Pyramid Stage watching headliners like Radiohead, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, The Killers, The White Stripes, and God knows who else, and usually thinking about just how much U2 would demolish the place. And then they go and announce this for one of the two years when I’ve not got a ticket! The atmosphere by the Pyramid Stage for the headliner at Glasto is beautifully, almost indescribably, electric. It’s a genuinely magical experience; there really is something special in the air there—just a few days after the summer solstice and just a few miles down the road from Stonehenge. The atmosphere is going to be far and away better than the atmosphere at some regular U2 gigs.”
The common-sense argument against U2 joining the festival movement at this juncture seems to stem from the apparent incompatibility of U2 fans with the types of folks that go to festivals. Given my extensive experience at both Bonnaroo and U2 shows, there’s plenty of truth to this claim. But just this kind of cross-cultural experience (even if it is only across mostly white, privileged rock-fan subcultures) might serve both U2 fans and Bonnaroo fans very well.
Of course, some U2-haters would denounce such a decision, just as U2-hate is currently clogging the comment threads on some UK newsites where the Glastonbury tag has been noted. Doubt anything could rival the hate Bonnaroo fans had for Kanye in 2008. The worst U2 could get is a mediocre reaction like the Police did in 2007, but that was mainly because Sting was whiny from the stage and the set was criminally short.
notwithstanding, U2 are not hippies, and U2 fans are definitely not hippies. But Bono can certainly play well with hippies as he did as Dr. Robert in the film Across The Universe. If this rumor comes to pass and U2 are announced as Bonnaroo headliners, Maybe U2 Fans immediately starting another rumor. For a band that has been accused of safe, corporate business decisions, unclawing the megatour for some festival dates represents a brave move. For the true U2 fan, every day on tour is our own private Bono-roo, but going to Glastonbury is an Edgy decision of Adamic revelation and risk, taking our private Larrypalooza to a larger public.
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