Placing collectively an ideal music competition lineup in 2023 is a a lot totally different proposition than it was prior to now. Years of market saturation — even with an epidemiological fallow yr — have led to homogenous lineups and occasions competing to stay distinct as a way to appeal to the ever-dwindling shopper greenback. Epitomizing this wrestle has been one of many largest, most beloved music festivals within the US: Bonnaroo.
The Manchester, Tennessee gathering has been held at Nice Stage Park — affectionately often known as The Farm — since 2002. Thanks to 2 years of cancelations, 2023 will mark the twentieth version of the fest, a landmark second for an occasion seen because the prototype for large-scale North American competition experiences. As soon as the gold customary, Roo has had its share of stumbles within the final decade, notably dipping in attendance within the mid-2010s as the results of weaker lineups signaling an id disaster.
What started as a jam band competition had shifted over time to a extra typically rock-centric occasion. As hip-hop started dominating the charts and digital music festivals took a controlling share of the market, Bonnaroo sought to mix in. The lineups grew to become hodgepodges, makes an attempt to please everybody that absolutely happy too few.
2018’s bland headliners and 2019’s confused undercard confirmed a competition looking for itself once more. After Reside Nation purchased a majority stake forward of 2020, issues mockingly have been wanting up with arguably the strongest invoice in years. That occasion was in fact referred to as off, and whereas ’21 was a robust middle-of-the-road approximation of that much-hyped invoice, Hurricane Ida compelled a final minute cancellation for the second yr in a row.
Returning in 2022, Bonnaroo introduced a blended bag: Stevie Nicks grew to become the primary feminine to formally headline, whereas sturdy attracts like Device and J. Cole made for an applaudable high line. However with a bunch of good-not-great decrease bookings that once more appeared to be focusing on anybody (Roddy Ricch? Machine Gun Kelly? Illenium? LANY?), it was a letdown contemplating what might have been the 2 years prior.
Which brings us to 2023. Introduced on January tenth, this yr’s lineup might need truly found out the right way to be the elusive “one thing for everybody” by taking all Roo’s previous makes an attempt and cramming them into one. That makes it nonetheless one thing of a mishmash, bouncing between genres and generations in ways in which, on their face, may come off unbalanced. It’s the actual names inside this potpourri of bookings, nevertheless, that make Bonnaroo 2023 the end result of all Bonnaroos previous.