After watching the lineup announcement at the Disc Exchange Wednesday night, my friend said, "This lineup is made for you," and nothing has ever been truer. So many bands that I have been obsessing over are gracing Bonnaroo stages this year, and as I delve into more acts that I have yet to discover that will be in Manchester this June, I can hardly wait the four months until we're all back at the Farm. Let's break it down, shall we?
Headliners: Honestly, the headliners are a slight disappointment. First, there's Lionel Richie and Elton John. It has become a trend among festivals to bring in superstar, older artists which seriously seems to be just for money. Second, we have to deal with Kanye. In 2008, he was two hours late to his show then bashed the festival on his blog. Hope for the best here, Bonnaroovians. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though: Jack White. The man found Alabama Shakes, revived vinyl and allowed classic artists such as Loretta Lynn to return to the spotlight. Not to mention, he personifies rock. If anything, go to his set to support the Record Store Day Ambassador in his musical crusade.
EDM: Some people say they are over Skrillex, but that did not stop the wave of excitement when he was announced as part of the B.L.A.M. party. His announcement was a surprise when nearly everyone was sure this year's big EDM act would be Bassnectar. However, Skrillex is worth seeing if for nothing more than being able to dance all night. There is also Disclosure to see. Mixing smooth pop vocals with EDM beats, it is on the fence if they are fully EDM, but their sound is spacey and captivating. Completely worth going to see. Yet, even though he is high up on the lineup, Kaskade can be skipped. His music sounds like something that would just be played on repeat at a club and not a large act at a music festival.
Rap/Hip-Hop: I have an obsession with rappers using pretty voices to accompany their hard rap, and Danny Brown definitely does that. His raps are gritty with unexpected beats and collaborations to back him up with an early 90s rapper flair. While lower on the lineup, make the time to see at least one song. Second, there is A$AP Ferg. A breakout member of Harlem's A$AP Mob, his appearance was highly anticipated, and rap fans are sure to be pleased. Pass up Wiz Khalifa though. He has like two songs that fans actually care about, and other than that, the only slightly entertaining aspect of him is his creepy laugh.
Rock: This year, Bonnaroo's lineup is packed with incredible rock acts that I can hardly stand the wait for. The genres range from indie to alternative to folk to whatever James Blake considers himself. Make sure you go see The Flaming Lips and Vampire Weekend though. Both are near the top of the lineup and for good reason. Vampire Weekend had one of the most celebrated albums of the year, and their show will without a doubt be insanely fun. Then, The Flaming Lips are alt-rock royalty. With unexpected twists and turns, The Flaming Lips are infamous for their energetic and trippy shows: the two pillars of Bonnaroo. I'm going to say it though – skip Phoenix. At this point in their career, we should expect something more from them as opposed to the high school electro-pop rock they continually produce.
Baby Acts: One of the best things about Bonnaroo is its ability to introduce up-and-coming acts to large crowds, and even without a large portion of the local Tennessee bands they are sure to have unannounced, who they have so far is a testament to the growing quality of music lately. To get a genuine feel of this musical growth, see Okkervil River with their folk-tinged rock, St. Paul & the Broken Bones' modern take on soul and Blank Range's alternative indie rock. These three will likely have early day shows, so they won't conflict with larger acts you probably want to see. Since it is impossible to sleep in with the heat, get up and discover.
Jenna Butz is a freshman in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.