On Tuesday Bonnaroo unleashed its 2013 lineup in the most annoying way humanly possible.
If you were thinking that it somehow must have involved Weird Al Yankovic, give yourself a gold star. I mean, there’s annoying, and then there’s Amish-Paradise-annoying.
Instead of simply releasing all the bands at a set time – or even trickling them out little by little ala Kanrocksas – some marketing genius (who is probably now unemployed judging from the almost instantaneous online backlash) talked the Bonnaroo people into airing a two hour-long webcast.
And yes, of course, it was hosted by Weird Al. Who by the way looks exactly like he did in 1991…
The webcast was set up like one of those old telethon deals, and the initial shtick was that callers could phone in to receive the name of one band that’s on the list. The caller would then inevitably post their info on Twitter and, well, you can see how this thing turns out, right?
The thing is, around 85% of all the Twitter chatter about Bonnaroo during Al’s Big Show was about how stupid and annoying this method of revealing the bands was.
The only mildly amusing moment came via a pre-recorded cutaway by one of the main headliners, Mumford & Sons. After the band was announced, it cut to the four blokes chatting about the festival. “Why are we playing this thing again?” asked the one that wears the scarves. “I’m pretty sure it’s because of the money,” replied Marcus Mumford, the one who wears the vests, just before the screen went to a “technical difficulties” drone.
The #1 headliner this year is Paul McCartney, followed by Tom Petty, Bjork, Pretty Lights, R Kelly, Wilco, Wu Tang, The Lumineers, David Byrne & St. Vincent, the xx, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear, Jim James, ZZ Top, Macklemore, Cat Power, Dirty Projectors, Billy Idol, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and a bunch more. And also, Weird Al.
Overall, I think the lineup is pretty strong. There’s a wide variety of genres – plenty of nostalgia rock for the boomers that still like to throw down $7K for their own private rock touring bus with A/C that comes stocked with booze and food and a toilet. Plenty of indie-type bands for the thirty-something aging scenesters. And a bunch of stuff for the kids.
No longer is Bonnaroo a jamband oriented festival. Those days were gone at least half a decade ago. (In fact, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone use the term “jamband”). Nope, now there is something for everyone, including comedians and late night movies.
Is it better now? I don’t think so. When I look back at the couple I attended and the lineups, I’d say it’s hard to beat the third year, 2004, when torrential rains turned everything into a mud pit and provided the dirties with a free shower.
That lineup featured The Dead, Trey Anastasio, David Byrne, Burning Spear, Medeski Martin & Wood, Steve Winwood, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Primus, The Black Keys, Bob Dylan, Wilco, Dave Matthews, YMSB, Ani Difranco, Patti Smith, moe., Taj Mahal, Cracker, Sam Bush, and more.
That said, even though the template has changed a bit, Bonnaroo almost never fails to put together a super-interesting lineup and this year is no exception.